In our ongoing Signature Color Series, Paul describes the most under-appreciated yet immersive of rooms.
One of the fundamental aspects of any escape room is its ability to immerse players in a unique setting. Green Rooms, in particular, go to great lengths to surround players in a fictional world as much as possible and, as a result, usually score well in Themeing. But the best Green Rooms make their focus on immersion the guiding design principle of the experience. Particularly adept designers creating Green Rooms convey their focus on the environment they create not just in the decorations adorning the room but continue to reinforce the setting in any way possible.
Many players are themselves, artistic individuals and appreciate the work that goes into decorating their escape rooms with techniques like faux paint finishes, specialty lighting, and sounds effects. Even the casual player will remember cleverly used Awe related touches like smoke effects and doors hidden so well by a room’s decorations that they are taken by surprise when it is revealed. But the thing that sets Green Rooms apart as their own Signature Color is often not, as one might suspect, the subjective artistic touches but instead the much more academic and rational mindset that designers use in researching their setting. When done correctly, the room’s environment seeps into the realms of not only Awe and Theme but Challenge as well.
Green Room designers are known to spend just as much time researching the time period their games are set in as they do play testing them. Often players might not notice when a Green Room contains only those puzzle types and technology that would have been available in the time period their game is set in, but the lack of modern devices like combination locks, dry erase boards or, in one particularly memorable case, even concealing a room’s ten-digit keypad behind a covering of engraved wooden buttons. Players with a deep knowledge of a Green Room’s historical setting may have an advantage in being able to spot deadends or wrong answers because of how incongruous those false options appear in contrast to the room’s historical accuracy. But on more than one occasion, players who are so completely enthralled by the game’s environment have ended up failing at the kind of rooms that appeal to them the most as they get lost in the joy of just existing in the playspace and forget to tackle the challenges presented to them before they can actually escape the room.
Green Rooms are usually best remembered by the small details that help players forget they are in the modern world if only for an hour. For players who are seeking a break from their everyday world, Green Rooms are most appealing in their ability to make players part of their story, pulling them into their environment by use of every means available.
PROS: Focuses on creating a complete game environment and create unique immersive entertainment.
CONS: Increased chance of being distracted by the environment or overlooking the work that went into the room.
APPEALS TO: History buffs, observant players, and those more looking to enjoy the experience rather than focusing on winning.
BIGGEST CHALLENGE FOR DESIGNERS OF GREEN ROOMS: Resisting the urge to cut corners on materials or save research time by relying on modern devices.