By Snow & Saol
Since March 15, the day of the announcement of the confinement, our life as we knew it has changed.
Everyone has been affected in one way or another. We have withdrawn into ourselves, locked ourselves up and waited. Being locked up could be a dream for any escape game fan, except that here... Finding a virus in a locked safe with a 5-digit padlock, in a room hidden behind a cabinet, in a Russian lab is not enough. This time, unfortunately, it's more complicated.
And it is in this context, more than unfavourable, that some people adapt and create quite incredible things!
As the signs of escape can't receive us on site for the moment, some offer free games on social networks, others offer games to print or others still offer paid games online. And then abroad we see another form of online escape appearing. A videoconferencing escape, by camera...
The Box in Metz is a venue that we discovered last year during a small tour in the region. The Box is Marc and Philippe and Marc can't stand waiting with his arms folded and so... after a night of insomnia after days of teleworking and tele-apéro... the idea of a tele-escape came to him, the fact that Philippe lives and works in Hong Kong and that video is part of their life, allows him not to be timid about this kind of concept.
We can only congratulate this initative to see the first escape who launches into live escape in visio in France (from what we know, correct us if we're wrong). When we contacted him to ask him if it was playable in English (for friends) he offered us to play it again with friends who didn't know the venue and to give him a feedback.
So here we are at 10:50 am connecting to the zoom of the sign. After having spent a few minutes exchanging, our MJ appears. He explains us the rules of this new type of game before slipping away to come back... different!
So, what's the principle? For those who are wondering: I can only advise you to try it yourself, but I'll try to explain it to you anyway. The approaches can be different. Either you never see your GM as your "avatar", or you see him as a GM who will act in the room, or he is a character integrated into the story and the point of view is variable: you see him and you see what he sees depending on the action.
The Box will have chosen the last option but we also have access to the cameras in the theatres to help us orient ourselves. Unlike a real theatre, you can't be in several places at the same time... well, partly because The Box offers us to play on two screens: one for zooming and a second one where you have access to various things that will serve you throughout the game...
That's the explanation of this double system, the time we spent connecting was a bit (too) long for us.
Then Thibault leaves and we are in front of Bob.
Bob is not the most gifted, but it's an interesting role. It's not always going to be easy with Bob, but it's so funny!
Our mission: to break into jewellers' stores and empty their safes. We will come up against several security systems that are more or less easy to hijack and we will plunge into the life of the 2 Van Steen brothers as well as into the world of jewellery and cybercrime.
This kind of experience can confuse some people, but the adventure offers us a lot of puzzles to solve with Bob, but also thanks to this separate site, which we have access to at the same time. It's quite well thought out to offer access to different photos taken by Bob as the spaces go by, but not only that. You'll see you'll have several things to do. I think it's good to have sometimes a "leader" to say who does what, or think about telling the others if you discover something so that several people don't waste time on the same task, because yes, there are quite a few things to do in this room, even if it's virtual.
The riddles, which are therefore numerous and very diverse, will make us work our grey matter and even use resources that we don't normally have access to in the room. I particularly liked the end in which everyone has something to do and time goes by faster than expected.
Even though we've played this room in real life before, we still enjoyed the experience, which was a first for some of us in terms of video games, and I've been hooked ever since.
Every night I sit in front of a screen and play with players from all over the world in many different countries. Thanks to the internet, distance doesn't matter anymore and some companies develop incredible games, with immersion, improvisation, surprises again and again.
Don't hesitate to get into the adventure. The heist of the century has convinced us and I hope to see more and more rooms online for the French public.