NewsGryphs try the Memphis Escape Rooms


Photo: Katie Boyle

NewsGryphs try Memphis Escape Rooms. All three groups failed.

Kendall LoCascio and Rachel Ducker

“I got to the parking lot, but I didn’t think it was the right place,” junior Channell Cole said. “When we were walking down those creepy stairs I said, ‘Kendall, where did you take us?’”

Memphis Escape Rooms is brand new to Memphis, as it opened on July 20, 2015. Per request by Memphis Escape rooms, we cannot reveal anything disclosed or discovered in the rooms during our experience. Writers of the Gryphon Gazette, better known as NewsGryphs, went to Memphis Escape Rooms to test these simulations, but all three groups failed.

“Origin” was the first escape room, opening in 2005 in Silicon Valley, Calif., and it was inspired by Agatha Christie’s novels. Three years later, Reel Escape Game opened in Japan, and the concept of escape rooms began to rapidly spread all over the world.

Escape rooms test brainpower by taking individuals through three different types of tests or rooms ranging from trying to break out of a room to trying to solve a murder mystery. At the Memphis location, each room costs 20 dollars and has a maximum of seven people.

Level One is Parallax, which is the newest addition to Memphis Escape Rooms. The ultimate goal is to get out of this room. The scenario is that America is in a war, and the only way to win the war and break out of the Parallax escape room is to figure out the code that disables Parallax, the security system of the enemy. However, there’s a catch. You only have one hour to escape! According to Memphis Escape Room’s statistics, this simulator has a 40 percent success rate, requires 85 percent teamwork, demands 65 percent brainpower and has 50 percent suspense.

“It was really fun once we got going, but we would not have figured it out if we didn’t have the clues,” Cole said. While you are in the room, there is a person watching you via security cameras giving you hints to steer you in the right direction, if needed. In order to advance successfully and in time, all three groups heavily depended upon the clues provided by the computer.

Level Two is the Mayflower. The scenario is that there is a dangerous serial killer on the loose, who is dubbed “The Mayflower” because he leaves a ship-in-a-bottle next to every victim. The clues in these bottles have led you right to his apartment. You must get into the mind of a serial killer in order to reveal clues to find this murder. However, the catch is that you only have one hour before the serial killer stops you. This Escape Room has a 33 percent success rate, requires 80 percent teamwork, demands 70 percent brainpower and has 40 percent suspense.

The NewsGryphs who attempted the Mayflower room advised others to look at the Mayflower room holistically.

“We spent a long time trying to solve everything,” Copy and Layout Editor Laura McDowell said.

“If you want to succeed, you can’t harp on one detail,” Editor-in-Chief Miriam Brown said. “You have to try to move on even if you can’t figure one part out.”

Level Three is the What’s In the Box room. The scenario is that billionaire Reginald Merryweather has recently passed away, leaving all of his fortune to his family and charities. However, there is one thing that the old man did not bequeath in his will, which is his box that holds something very dear to him. Before Mr. Merryweather passed away, he hid some clues, and it is your job to figure them out. This room has a 29 percent success rate, requires 65 percent teamwork, demands 85 percent brain-
power and has 30 percent suspense.

“I would give it a solid 9.25 out of 10,” web editor Grant Webb said. “It’s not really [that] frustrating.” However, many would disagree, since no group successfully escaped the room in time.

“Have a group of at least four fundamentally different people, a diverse group,” Staff Writer Eric DiNicolantonio said as advice for future groups who want to attempt this room.

Overall, the NewsGryphs enjoyed their experience at Memphis Escape Rooms. Even though all of the NewsGryphs failed their rooms, it was an enjoyable, challenging activity to do with friends nonetheless.

“I want to go back and do every single room,” Cole said.

What should the NewsGryphs try next? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter with #TryGryphs.