Entertaining escape: Escapology rooms aim to stoke imagination, logic | Business | #computerhacking | #hacking

For Verona area residents looking for an escape – soon they won’t have to leave the city to explore an abandoned temple, a government laboratory, a haunted castle or a deadly mansion.

Jase and Erin Holland, both Verona residents, felt like Verona needed a new form of wholesome family entertainment. They thought about a few different ideas, such as indoor mini-golf, but if all goes well, sometime in June they will be opening up a location of Escapology, an escape room chain, at 160 Kenan Court.

Jase runs America’s Pub Quiz – a trivia game – at a variety of restaurants around Verona including Boulder Brewpub, Hop Haus, Monk’s and Sugar River Pizza.

Erin is a teacher at Country View Elementary School.

Neither plans to leave their day jobs to start up this new venture, which they have been dreaming about for several years.

The couple was all ready to fly to Las Vegas to try out the Escapology rooms for themselves following an entertainment business convention in Indiana in 2020, when the pandemic canceled their flight plans.

They have since gotten out to Vegas – and Orlando – to explore the company’s rooms.

“We had already been interested in escape rooms when we met one of the head guys from Escapology,” Jase told the Press. “We fell in love with their ideas, how organized they were.”

“We just fell in love with how much thought they put into their rooms and how they operate their rooms,” Erin added.

The business will launch with five rooms, with a sixth to be added later, but the opening so far has been delayed. While originally intended to be opened in early May, supply chain issues have led to the opening date getting pushed back a month to June.

When the Press sat down with the Hollands on May 1, contractors were hammering away in the basement where the rooms will be located.

Some of the rooms include “Antidote,” which will require you to find the cure for a virus, “Lost City,” in which you’re a 1930s treasure hunter, “The Code,” which places you in the role of a notorious computer hacker, and “Seven Deadly Sins,” where you are in a 19th-century church following the murder of all the congregants by a deranged minister.

“Some games require you to think a little more outside of the box, some puzzles require a different level of thinking and are not as obvious,” Jase said. “It will be a variety of less difficult and harder ones – we will have a range.”

The rooms will also be swapped-out over time based upon popularity and to keep people coming back. Some may only last a year, others will be seasonal such as “Saving Santa,” in which there’s chaos at the North Pole.

One reason the Hollands love Escapology is it also offers rooms themed around franchises.

The famous Hercule Poirot adventure “Murder on the Orient Express” is one of those themes they hope to get at some point, but was delayed because of supply chain issues.

In its place, they will have “Scooby-Doo and the Spooky Castle Adventure.”

There’s also a “Star Trek” room they are considering.

Jase said many escape room businesses are “mom and pop,” with just keys and locks.

The Escapology rooms are more technologically advanced and run off of software that tracks the escapee’s progress, and can provide them up to three hints as they advance, he said.

Puzzles will include using sense of smell, logic puzzles, whodunnits, and pressing buttons to open cabinets.

“It’s a nice, good variety of stuff,” Erin said.

Jase loves how “incredibly immersive” the Escapology rooms are and said that was a big draw for them to this particular company. The first time he played Murder on the Orient Express, he felt like he had stepped into a real train car and fell in love.

“Escape rooms still haven’t hit their peak yet, there’s more to come,” Jase said. “They’re getting more high-tech, there’s constantly advances in technology. Maybe someday there’ll even be virtual reality.”

The experience is not just for families to have together. There is a party room which the Hollands envision being rented for birthdays, company parties, corporate events, bachelorette parties.

They view the experience as a perfect opportunity for a business to come do team building exercises to see how teams function.

Bosses or supervisors can watch from another room to see who are leaders and who sit on the margins.

“It’s a good tool for that,” Jase said.

The puzzles are catered toward 18- to 35-year-olds, but are also solvable by teens and kids with the help of adults.

Families and friends can also be snuck into the party room while loved ones are in an escape room to watch a gender reveal or marriage proposal happen on the monitors.

One thing that sets the Escapology franchise apart from other escape room businesses is that guests will never be placed in a room with strangers, Jase said. Some companies require people to pay for all the tickets for a room if they want privacy, but at Escapology just two people can enjoy a room together.

“That sets us apart for sure,” he said. “People hesitant about COVID-19 will like that, all rooms are private.”

Regular rooms will cost $34.99 per person while the licensed rooms will cost more. There may be Monday-Wednesday discounts offered, Erin said.

While the rooms are still under construction and the Hollands are still looking to hire more people to help operate this new venture, for now the Verona couple are passionately looking forward to offering a “fun, different” form of creating memories and entertaining people.

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