Andrew Preble, owner of Escape My Room
Film by: UNO student and documentary filmmaker Zach Shorrosh
Escape My Room is a new kind of attraction that is spreading around the world. The premise is this: you get locked up in a room for about an hour. You aren’t alone in there. You are in there with up to seven other people, and you have to solve puzzles and clues in the room in order to escape it.
It’s not meant to be scary. It’s meant to be mysterious and intriguing.
We have this museum of mystery in New Orleans due to Andrew Preble, owner of Escape My Room (New Orleans). When constructing the museum, he found that an article in the New York Times gave him a tangible explanation of how to execute this idea. The article talked about how the escape rooms in the physical sense were inspired by digital video games, and that is when he understood what the escape room was and how much fun it could be. This is also when he realized that he could build something similar.
Currently, Escape My Room (New Orleans) is housed in an old Federal office building next to the post office. The building is mostly abandoned – adding to the mysterious atmosphere.
Preble has been to between twenty or thirty escape rooms across the country, and he found that they were either missing a solid puzzle, some good story telling, or a solid atmosphere. They didn’t seem to have all three of those together, so that trifecta became a goal for when Preble was creating Escape My Room.
And if you never figure out the puzzles? There’s still an out. The staff of Escape My Room will come in and tell you what you’ve missed. This is a somewhat common occurrence. Around 30-40% of groups actually escape, and this was on purpose.
Preble wanted the mission to be difficult because he wants people to get their money’s worth. And, even if you do escape, there is a bonus puzzle to keep the brain waves going and the mystery heightened.
Although Escape My Room started off largely being used by locals in New Orleans, throughout the summer there have been more tourists coming to Escape My Room due to tourist articles and magazines mentioning the destination. At this point, the usage is about 50/50 when it comes to locals and tourists.
Currently at Escape My Room, there is the Mardi Gras study, which goes over the theme of the history of Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Future rooms will then be built off of the storyline started in the first room. This museum wants to keep telling local family stories and teach people about the history of families and events in New Orleans in a non-traditional way. Using interactive puzzles and games, you get to use your mind in many more ways than one.