News / Edmonton

New escape game opens in Edmonton

Escape City, Edmonton's newest venue for live-action conundrums and problem solving opened Wednesday after a week of beta testing.

Mike Ringrose poses for a photo in Edmonton's newest real-life escape game headquarters, Escape City.

Kevin Tuong/For Metro

Mike Ringrose poses for a photo in Edmonton's newest real-life escape game headquarters, Escape City.

There's just no escaping it; the escape game trend is picking up in Edmonton.

The games lock small groups into themed rooms and challenge participants to use their wits to escape before time expires.

Escape City, Edmonton's newest venue for live-action conundrums and problem solving opened Wednesday after a week of beta testing.

Mike Ringrose, one of four partners launching the new facility, said he thinks it's a "growing sector," but one that inherently welcomes the variety that comes with competition.

Ringrose said a lot of people don't know what an escape room is, but those that do often want more.

"People that love these things will go to all three places," he said.

Outside of Alberta's capital the trend has proliferated in major markets since about 2006, but Edmonton's first, Breakout, just opened last year.

Ringrose and his business partners travelled for market research, and learned the format of real-life escape businesses—a handful of rooms with different themes and puzzles—means that once a customer has done all of the rooms, the only way to keep up the hobby is to go to another venue.

"Once the rooms have been completed you can't go and do it again," he said, noting that the puzzles would be less fun once the solutions are revealed.

Rather than viewing the existing businesses exclusively as competition, Ringrose said they are all "building a market as a group of businesses."

That said, Escape City does want to stand out. Ringrose said it's a "totally immersive" experience, taking ques from the best escape rooms in the business, but produced with all Edmonton-based professionals, including set designers, actors, contractors and more.

"We are very proud of the fact that we had so many locals involved in creating something so unique here in Edmonton," he said.

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