Published October 6th, 2017 @ 3:47 am EDT by Paul

NEWS: A new venue might have the hardest room in Orlando, FL ; We welcome The Escape Effect

I’d been following it for a good few miles on a hunch but there was no way that a vehicle with the word ‘escape’ stenciled on the side in big white letters was going to get away from me.  I was getting a little anxious about not having any more business cards on me, having run out the last time something like this happened, but I pushed the thought down and focused on stalking my target.  Thankfully, the storefront the car pulled up to had a glowing ‘open’ sign in the window.  The smell of fresh paint, as I entered the lobby, made me as excited as a shark that sensed blood in the water.  The owners, Dan Suleski and his wife, Jamie, seemed to share my excitement since they had only just opened the week before; they were kind enough to answer a few questions for me, and their answers only made me even more hungry to get the pack together.  

Paul:  “This is a really big space.  How many rooms do you have?”

Jamie:  “We’re going to have three in total [she gestured to the three posters above her], but we just opened our first room, At Odds with the Gods, last weekend.”

P:  “I was hoping you’d say that one!  I’ve always loved Greek myths; I’m surprised that there aren’t more rooms with that theme.”

J:  “That was Dan’s doing; he’s the designer.”

Dan:  “I have been an Engineer, Designer, and Project Manager with companies like Nintendo, Interplay, and Electronic Arts.  Jamie has been a Retail Manager and Insurance Broker for several large companies as well.  The combination of creative and business makes for a good combination.”

P:  “Those are some impressive credentials and I’m sure it helps to have two such different skill sets when tackling your own entertainment business.  What made you decide to open The Escape Effect?  Was there a particular moment or experience that gave you the idea?”

D:  “Jamie and I have entrepreneurial spirits.  We have always enjoyed gaming.  And for me, I can particularly remember the point-and-click adventures like 7th Guest, Maniac Mansion, etc.  After playing a few escape games and considering our skills (and the talent of our team), it became clear that this would be an effective way to start a business.”

P:  “I remember the 7th Guest and Maniac Mansion; they do have a lot of similarities to escape rooms.  But Ancient Greece is a pretty unique theme for an escape room.  Where did you get the idea?”

D:  “We found that many places had similar scenarios.  At Odds with the Gods was done specifically to be different from any other escape game.  It fits well because the Greek Gods are associated with special traits – the puzzles within the game, in fact, are typically related to those traits.  Inspiration comes from a variety of sources and experiences – video games, board games, television game shows, reality shows, history, and literature.”

P:  “Well now I’m even more excited to play it myself!  It’s surprising that At Odds with the Gods has a 90-minute play-time.”

J:  “In playtesting we started out giving players the usual 60 minutes but the decision was made to extend the time because the room was so difficult.”

P:  “Was making one of the most difficult rooms in town a goal of yours when you started out?”

D:  “Our goals include ensuring that all players participate and that we have an offering that is directed to beginners, experts, and everyone in between.”

P:  “Given that your first room is particularly challenging, what was the biggest obstacle in making sure that the experience is just as welcoming to less-experienced players?”

D:  “We have indicated that At Odds with the Gods is quite challenging.  But that speaks more to the number of puzzles and tasks.  The game is readily playable by beginners but is more likely to be conquered by experts due to the sheer volume of activities within.”

P:  “How long did it take to create At Odds with the Gods from start to finish?”

D:  “At Odds with the Gods was first conceived last half of 2015. Between game design, graphics, props, and set design – total of approximately eight months.”

P:  “That’s a lot longer than a lot of the other venue owners we’ve asked, but that dedication might be part of what is already starting to set At Odds with the Gods apart. When do you anticipate your next two rooms opening and are they proving to have similar creation timelines?”

D:  “We could have opened At Odds with the Gods a month or so earlier, but specifically held off on it to ensure that it took into account the feedback from playtesters.  We expect Sherlock Studies and Encore to be opened before the holidays.”

P:  “What was the most challenging part of going from idea to opening?”

D:  “Believe it or not, the most challenging part of opening has been working through the hurdles of leasing and permitting.”

It was clear from our talk that The Escape Effect takes the player experience very seriously.  As soon as I can wrangle the pack, we might just have to move At Odds With The Gods to the top of our ‘to eat’ list. 

11701 International Drive, Suite 420
Orlando, Florida 32821

(855) 426-3372

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