An escape room for everyone
Just one escape room and I was a die-hard enthusiast. Every weekend I’d be texting, calling, emailing and otherwise harassing my friends to drive out to the latest new game. But after crawling through quaking plywood tunnels, scaling walls, and simply playing several second-floor games, I realized not all my friends would be able to enjoy these puzzle-solving thrills with me. Early escape rooms simply weren’t built for everyone.
So when the time came to location-scout for our own escape room, we made accessibility a priority. What wasn’t already-ADA approved, we’d convert. And after four years of operation we’ve hosted players with crutches, walkers, wheel chairs, motorized chairs and service animals. Unfortunately, we couldn’t achieve quite the same results with our second game as it would be built on the upper story of a complex with no elevators. Given this roadblock, how could we continue to expand accessibility to escape rooms?
Experienced players know that escape room games have more than just physical obstacles barring access. Many puzzles rely on homonym, purposeful misspelling, and other language tricks for success, making them especially difficult for English Language Learners. One way to circumvent this is to have language-independent puzzles—mazes, scavenging, shape matching, etc. Another way is to… simply put puzzles in different languages.
Red Lantern Escape Rooms is proud to debut Southern California’s first multi-lingual escape room. We have subtitles for all audio, video and written clues, available in Chinese, Korean, Spanish and Vietnamese, with more languages to be added later. Curse of the Bayou will also heavily feature non-language-based puzzles such as optical illusions, touch puzzles and even smell puzzles. We’re quite happy with the finished project, and are already thinking of ways to make our next game even more accessible.