De data aceasta avem un interviu diferit: am stat de vorba cu doi jucatori pasionati si operatori de escape rooms din Suedia! Sandra si Goran de la Inlast au fost prin Romania si au jucat multe camere din Bucuresti si din Brasov, asa ca am fost curiosi sa aflam impresiile lor. Interviul este mai jos (in limba engleza, in original):
Escapecentral.ro: Göran & Sandra, what’s your story? Tell us a bit about yourselves and about your escape rooms in Sweden
Inlåst: Our Escape Game-story began one year ago when we went to USA for summer vacation. We looked at TripAdvisor to find fun things to do for our first days in New York and Escape the Room NYC (escapetheroomnyc.com) was in the top. We immediately though it was something that we would like to try. We did two rooms The Office and The Apartment together with serval strangers and loved the concept and decided to open our own rooms back home in Växjö, Sweden.
It took us about 6 months to start the company, find a location and build our first rooms. We opened our business, Inlåst, in January 2015 and became the second Escape room in Sweden (It’s now eight companies in the whole country as far as we know). We have two rooms – Globetrotter and Major Konrads Dilemma and a mobile concept to take out to companies. Right now we work on our third room.
Escapecentral.ro: We understand you’re passionate escape room players and have played rooms in a number of different cities and countries. What was your experience like in each city? Are there any local flavors to speak of, or is the escape room experience pretty much the same everywhere?
Inlåst: To visit other rooms is still a big interest for us and we have visit 52 rooms in five countries since last summer. So far we have played in USA (New York), Sweden (Stockholm, Malmö and Göteborg), Poland (Gdynia, Sopot and Gdansk), Hungary (Budapest) and Romania (Brasov and Bucharest). We can´t see that’s something total unique in different countries but it’s a different experience to play with 8 strangers, like in New York and in one of the rooms there (The Apartment) the game master was with us in the room. In our opinion there is good and bad games in all cities.
Escapecentral.ro: We do have a very active escape room scene in Romania; how did you decide on visiting Romania?
Inlåst: We decided to go somewhere for a week and it was important that we could take a direct flight from Malmö or København and that the city had a lot of rooms to offer and quite cheap. We have already been to Budapest so Bucharest was next on the list. You can´t afford to take as many rooms in, for example, London as in Bucharest. The price for a room is half or even a third of the price of a room in Sweden or in serval other countries so therefor we can play a lot of more rooms in Romania.
Escapecentral.ro: Once in Romania, how many rooms did you play and how did you decide on them?
Inlåst: We played 22 rooms in seven days: 5 in Brasov and 17 in Bucharest. We started to look for rooms at TripAdvisor and looked for themes that we hadn’t seen before. Then we found Escape Central and start to look closely to the rooms with high rate. We didn’t book all the rooms from home and asked all room owners that we met if they had any recommendations for us.
As usual, some rooms that we wanted to play we couldn’t because of the language. Our own rooms are totally language free just because we want that it should be possible for every nationality to visit our rooms. If you want to know which places we visited vi have an album for Brasov http://on.fb.me/1OtTdpG and Bucharest http://on.fb.me/1LLCtLx.
Escapecentral.ro: What was your experience with escape rooms in Bucharest? We’d like to know your perspective after playing rooms in other countries.
Inlåst: We saw a lot of technical solutions and we heard several room owners who planned for their next room to be even more technical. We think many believe that technical solutions get unexpected effects and that many persons want to have it, and perhaps it’s true.
It’s very many rooms in Bucharest and because of that we think that the room owners are trying to be more creative and find new ways to play to be unique and give the market something new, like places with identical rooms so two teams can compete and like Bonnie and Clyde with to separate stories in the same room.
If we compare Bucharest with Budapest, which is another city with lots of rooms, we were glad that we met so many room owners! In Budapest we only met a few and the most places runs by bored employees. We felt that most of the room owners in Bucharest are very service minded and really cared about us. We think that the whole experience is better when the business runs by the ones who own it. You can listen to the players and better understand what they like about the room to get feedback and it’s hard to find employees that are as service minded as you have to be. We also like that it seems like the most room owners are playing other rooms. We think that is a proof that you really care about the escape game concept and are willing to develop.
Inlåst: It´s hard to tell something about Romanian escape rooms when we only played 22 out of over 100, especially when we only took recommended rooms with high quality. One of the things we missed was clear information on the web pages if the room was playable in English or not. Even if you don’t have any other information in English on your web page, it’s good to have just one sentence in English in your FAQ if you need to understand Romanian or not. Now we had to contact serval room owners but often, if we can’t find the information and we have other rooms to play, we ignore the one we don’t know for sure.
It was not that many rooms in Bucharest that was multi-rooms. The most rooms we have played in other countries have consisted of more than one room. However, it must not be a bad thing! We saw a lot of creative rooms that got us thinking about single-room solutions.
Escapecentral.ro: What should the market do, as a whole, to promote escape rooms among the general public? In Romania these games are very much a niche activity. How is the situation in Sweden in this respect?
Inlåst: Escape Rooms are not that big in Sweden yet. We have the feeling that many who visit us for the first time is doing it on a special occasion as birthday, bachelor party, kick off with work… Our dream is that it could be an activity to do any day, just like going to the cinema or go bowling or something. Maybe it’s different in a bigger city. Here is not so many activates to choose from. Our tips to you is to cooperate! Recommend each other. Of course it some rivalry when there is too many rooms for the market but still – as long as you have different themes and approach your customers can’t come back as long as you don’t change the rooms.
We think Escape Central is a really good start as a united platform and perhaps the whole Escape room community could help to make it even better and bigger. It would be really great if the whole page could be translated to English, for an example.
Escapecentral.ro: What were your top 5 favorite rooms in Bucharest? We know it’s hard to choose, but recommendations are important to our users
Inlåst: We only played 22 out of over 100 and more or less selected our rooms after the rating on Escape Central so the only thing we can say is that we agree with Escape Central.
Escapecentral.ro: Did you have time for anything else while in Bucharest and Romania, or was it just escape rooms all the way? What did you like in Romania?
Inlåst: No, we didn’t see so much more in Romania. To visit Escape Rooms was our main goal of the trip. We visited Bran Castle on our way from Brasov to Bucharest but it was too many persons so we didn’t get anything out of it. We like to be two persons in a room and in the small castle rooms it was far too many persons for our taste. At last, we want to send a big thank you to several room owners that we met on our trip to Bucharest. So nice that many of you had time to sit down and exchange ideas and we hope we will keep in touch with some of them. You know who you are! Maybe we will come back some day, but first we have to visit some other countries to see more rooms!
Escapecentral.ro: Thank you!