Sep 28

Can you escape the parking lot? It is not what you think it is.

Here we go again. You are stuck in another highly unlikely situation beset upon you by some unknown antagonist. This time, you are chained to a light post and need to find your way out. Why does this keep happening to you? This has gone far beyond the "fool my twice shame on me" adage, keep this up and you may need therapy. If this was real life, you would have skipped town 2 puzzles ago.

As a game developer, I am not a huge fan of adding complex math puzzles to my games. I enjoy them in moderation, but an inordinate amount of escape room games abuse them. It seems, many escape room game developers think the way to quickly add difficulty to a game is to add math puzzles. I believe that this is just bad practice. There are many people who just outright hate math puzzles. Out of all the puzzles types I get feedback on, the math puzzles get the most polarized reviews. Many people get hung up on them and get frustrated. Our goal as game designers is to minimize player frustration and balance game flow and engagement. Without a challenge, players do not feel rewarded. With too much of a challenge, then players become frustrated. Math puzzles are easy to adjust in complexity, many game designers use them to shimmy some complexity into a game.

I like to add elements to my games that make you question your problem solving skills. We all make presumptions when we see a problem. When we see weird symbols on a wall, we assume they are a hidden coded message. When we see a maze, we look for the exit. When we see a series of numbers, we look for the pattern. These presumptions are often correct, but sometimes they are not. I am always excited when a puzzle turns out to be much different than what I assumed it would be. When I get thrown for a loop, I feel more engaged and I enjoy finding the solution more. Here is a puzzle I saw on a fellow escape room's website. I had seen it before in a puzzle book and remembered I enjoyed finally solving it. I recreated it here for your enjoyment.

Can you escape the parking lot? It is not the kind of puzzle you think it is.

Play Escape The Parking Lot now.


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Enchambered: Sacramento Escape Room
2230 Arden Way, Ste C Sacramento, CA 95825 $25pp - $35pp Phone: 916-674-2008