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What in the WORLD is an Online Escape Room?

Online Escape Room through Zoom
It was a tough moment when escape rooms had to lock up their rooms and close to keep everyone safe. Surprisingly, 2020 became a year of huge innovations for escape games. Daydream Adventures, like many other companies, launched The Witch’s Forest - an immersive online escape room that you can play from home!

What in the WORLD is an Online Escape Room?

Here we are, still. It’s 2021. Still cold outside, but starting to warm up – you hope. You move between that spot on the couch and your office chair a few times a day. The highlight of your week is no line up at the grocery store. Don’t the lines seem so much longer with physical distancing? You struggle to keep track of what day it is – Mo…ues…whatever day. Really, you’re bored. You’re lonely. But, maybe your friends want to Zoom later? That could be fun, right?

Who knew it would be a year of trying to figure out how to fill our time without our usual social gatherings? At this point, the world is changing and our whole perception of social activity is on its head. How many times a week do you use ‘Zoom’ as a verb? How many times do you have that Zoom meeting open to the side while looking for anything online to entertain you?

Companies are having to reinvent themselves every which way to keep afloat. In fact, the demand for at home entertainment is leading to all new creative outlets. Online escape rooms are one the many inventions to help you stay at home and stay safe!

During early 2020 as the world began to shut down, escape rooms had to lock up their games completely. No more puzzles. No more adventures. Birthday parties, team building events, weekend outings – everything was cancelled. We were all stuck at home and binge watching our favourite shows became boring fast.

And then, escape game creators, some of the best problem solvers out there, quickly set to work on solutions. Suddenly, a huge variety of escape rooms that you could play at home became available. Daydream Adventures, sticking to our roots in art and immersion, made an online escape room full of magic!

What’s An Escape Room?

Before you learn about this new form of entertainment, let’s make sure you really know what an escape room is. There’s a thrill factor involved in Escape Rooms, one that horror film buffs, those who climb Mount Everest and Monopoly fans alike can agree on. It’s a layering of styles and techniques to create something truly original. An Escape Room, you see, is an experience – one you can’t really find in any other medium.

The premise is simple. You have a set amount of time to solve a bunch of puzzles and get out of the room. Of course, there’s an obvious misconception with the term. You should never be locked in because that’s unsafe. However, depending on the premise of the game, you are locked out of somewhere or needing to retrieve something and you have a limited time to complete your goal. You need wit, teamwork and patience to beat the game. And, occasionally, laser focus.

Oftentimes, escape rooms follow a horror plot line – escape to avoid being the teenagers in Scream. Or, maybe you’re brave detectives looking for evidence in a butcher shop and you need to get out of there before the new Texas Chainsaw Massacre happens. More adventurous, and slightly repetitive plots, might be set in a low security prison, an old hotel or an Egyptian tomb. While there are many escape rooms to choose from, not all escape rooms are made equal. You’ll want to pay careful attention to which game you choose.

At Daydream Adventures, we believe the story and set are the most important part to a fully immersive escape room experience. After all, we are Toronto’s only (maybe the only?) immersive art escape room. You will enter into a magical world. It’s not about getting out alive. Instead, you will be exploring the mysteries of a strange place and discovering your purpose as an adventurer.

And Then…Escape Rooms Online?!

Recently, there have been a variety of escape rooms that you can play at home. Really, it’s a lot of ground to cover. There’s ones almost like video games, where you click on parts of the room to reveal clues. You can play online by searching web pages like Facebook, Youtube, Maps and more to find your next puzzle. Some games can be mailed to your home as a one time purchase or a regular subscription. We won’t be talking about those – today, at least.

Let’s dive into the type of game Daydream Adventures has developed to play at home. There’s a lot of names for this: online escape room, virtual escape room, live video, remote play, live avatar. Although some may tell you there’s subtle differences, for simplicity we’ll say these are all the same.

In 2020, having a beautiful room with no one to explore it was a major problem for this industry. Many escape rooms began to turn to mediums such as Zoom. The friendly gamemasters that used to greet you and give you hints, was now giving you a virtual tour of the escape room. Your gamemaster’s camera became your eyes while their hands were picking up clues and opening the locks. All of a sudden, game night was turning on your computer to join your friends and seeing the escape room on screen.

Wait, didn’t your gamemaster used to say – cameras are not allowed in the room? The rules sure have changed when you play a virtual escape game. Instead of your gamemaster telling you how to solve the puzzle (only when you asked, of course), you are the one telling them what to do! Your team will be saying – look to the left, open that door, reach into that hole.

This innovative virtual option saved the industry. Escape rooms found an opportunity to keep sharing adventures with the people who love to solve puzzles and experience the game. Truly, this became an unexpected great form of entertainment during a really difficult time. Who would have predicted that at a time where you cannot travel, you could turn on your computer and visit an escape room anywhere in the world?

The Witch’s Forest

Now, since you are caught up, let’s talk about how we are doing it at Daydream Adventures. As a new business, we were so worried about making our game available online and ruining the real experience for everyone that didn’t have the chance to visit us yet. So, our creative team made a brand new game, designed specifically for the virtual experience. While you will get to see the set for our in-person game, The Dream Portal, it won’t ruin anything. With an all new storyline, The Witch’s Forest has unique puzzles, props and special effects. We had fun pushing the boundaries and doing things you cannot do in a real escape room.

But wait, there’s something extra special. Remember some people call this type a live avatar escape room? Well, Hilda the Witch, is your gamemaster or avatar. If you played The Dream Portal, that was her cabin decorated with wood paneling and spider webs. So now you can meet the elusive witch and tell her what to do. Your avatar will keep you entertained. Puzzle after puzzle, Hilda might tease or flirt with you. You might all breakout into song, if the opportunity presents itself. It’s like an interactive theatre show!

Indeed, escape game creators are great problem solvers, right? The online escape room innovation offers players and creators to experience a whole new world of games. We’re able to experience these stories from the comfort of our homes amidst the craziness of our world. An online escape room is something unlike anything else you might experience. Get together, safely apart, with your coworkers for a team event. Celebrate someone’s birthday – whether they’re turning 10 or 70! At home entertainment from the comfort of your couch that’s not binge watching another less than original show.

So what are you waiting for? Hop on over to this page and get together while apart!

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