At Escape Games Canada we get asked a lot of questions, and one we hear all the time is, “are the missions dark?” It’s a fair question, and we understand that lights are a concern. Here’s the thing though: there are many reasons an escape game might be lit up the way it is. Maybe it overexposed or shadowy and sinister, either way, the lighting has a purpose. Here’s an inside look as to why your game might seem dark at first.
Here at Escape Games Canada, we don’t use scavenging as a puzzle for you to further your game. We want to challenge your mind and your logical reasoning, not your ability to hunt around a room. That’s one of the reasons you won’t find a lot of lights. Some elements and spaces are deliberately kept in the dark. We want to deter you from scavenging around for things we didn’t hide from you in the first place. This saves you some time and can help you focus on what’s important in the mission. That takes us to our next point.
The locks and puzzles you need to see inside your game are well lit and out in the open, so you can clearly see what it is you need to work on. If you can’t see clearly, take a moment to make sure no one is blocking your light. In fact, sometimes we darken other areas of the room so that your eyes are drawn to the illuminated puzzles and locks. In this sense, the game guides you to all the things that you need in order to successfully escape the room. Bringing in an outside light source can throw you off track, and in fact, we have found that groups that use a flashlight tend to do worse than groups that follow the room’s natural order. Once you bring in an outside light source, you are trudging your own path through the game and possibly distracting yourself (and your teammates) from what’s really important.
If you’re playing a scary mission like The Haunting of Noriko, then we set the room darker to incite a thrill of fear. What’s around the corner? What’s behind this wall? Well, the only way to find out is to venture forth yourself. If it was important for you to be able to see, then we would light it for you; however, sometimes you might have to rely on your other senses, like touch or sound. A haunted house isn’t scary in broad daylight, therefore, to add to your experience we might dim the lights to set the mood. Don’t worry, your eyes adjust–just give it a couple of minutes to get used to!
There are other reasons an escape game you encounter might be darkly lit. In some escape games they specifically even require the use of flashlights! But Escape Games Canada doesn’t operate that way. We want to make sure that everything you need to solve your mission is in there for you. For the most part, you can trust that your escape designers know how to optimize your experience. We use lighting strategically to help guide you and establish the atmosphere. If after all that, you find you really need a flashlight, just use your staff assistance button to call in a Game Master, and we can provide you with one.