Escape rooms have become increasingly popular recently.
Whether it’s because people are enjoying getting out from behind their phones and laptops and doing something more stimulating, or whether it’s because they’ve been dragged their by friends and colleagues on a ‘team bonding’ trip, it seems escape rooms are the ‘in’ thing at the moment.
And so, as these things increase in number and popularity, so too does the effort to make each one different from the last – from Crystal Maze-esque scenarios to Harry Potter-style challenges.
One such escape room, however, is making sure its participants need new partici-pants after their visit, as they’ve apparently created Yorkshire’s first ever horror escape game, strictly for those aged 18 and over.
Called Abducted, the scary escape game places players in ‘the abandoned basement of a serial killer’s hideout’ where they have just one hour to escape before the ‘twisted abductor’ returns.
According to the team behind the horror, customers can expect to be handcuffed, stood up against a wall and have a sack thrown over their heads. It’s only after the man-handling, shouting and swearing that the immersive experience really begins. If the team fails to escape, the masked abductor breaks into the room and starts ‘killing off’ team members one by one.
Take a look below:
According to the team at The Great Escape Game, Leeds City Council initially tried to shut down Abducted due to it causing ‘alarm and distress’ to participants, while it also ‘did not promote positive mental health’.
The team told UNILAD:
Leeds City Council believed the game could cause ‘alarm and distress’ and ‘did not promote positive mental health’. Initially the game also included the use of straight jackets which have since been removed because of their associations with stigmatising psychological illnesses.
Since then, the escape room organisers have met and worked with the council – as well as members of the NHS, and mental health charities – to make sure the game was not ‘in any way traumatic or a threat to people’s mental health’.
Following the meeting, Sue Baker, from the mental health charity Time To Change, said:
We’re pleased that widespread concerns appear to have been taken on board and thank the company for listening and changing their product.
And it seems customers are loving Abducted’s extreme experience.
The company said:
Most customers love it! We’re seeing a shift in the types of entertainment that people are seeking out and immersive experiences like this one tend to intrigue people instantly. Naturally people enter a ‘fight or fright’-mode when they’re frightened, so you’ll see people using different coping-mechanisms like laughter or closing their eyes.
Every so often we’ll get the screamer, the squealer, or the cryer, but usually it’s just because people have hyped themselves up about it before they’ve gone in, so they’re expecting the worse. In reality, most people have a lot of fun! Our intentions aren’t to overwhelm people, but to give them an experience they enjoy and unlike anything they’ve experienced before.
Customers have called it ‘the most exciting and scariest thing’, saying they’ve ‘never screamed so much in my life’.
So what is it that draws people to the idea of being locked up by a serial killer and having to find a way out?
The company said:
Customers are actively seeking these intense kinds of experiences out and often leave the room completely ecstatic. The fear element is only one part of the experience – this is still a very compelling escape game!
We invest a lot of money to ensure we advance past the typical “four walls and a drawer”-type of escape game you’ll most often find at places. Our games are like film-sets by specialists, with integrated technology, immersive sounds, smells and characters.
People don’t just come because it’s scary, they come to escape the ordinary and immersive themselves into a scenario that many of us will never live and have tons of fun whilst doing it.
Sounds like good, wholesome fun, if you’re into that sort of thing…
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.