A Different Kind of Co-Op Gaming.

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Seeing as how I’m just a a few Dave’s Triples short of being that dude from the World of Warcraft episode of South Park, only shittier at video games, I felt it was time to get out for some much needed exercise and a night out on the town.

We started the night at a place called Just Escape in Massapequa, here on Long Island, NY. It’s one of those new fandangled escapes rooms that are sprouting up everywhere and after playing through our room I can see why. This was my first foray into the seedy underworld of escape rooms but the experience was thoroughly positive.

The night started with a short wait in a small overcrowded lobby, there were several other parties there as well and clearly most of the square footage of the location was being used for the escape rooms. We were then introduced to our two hosts who took us to our room and showed us a video about what to expect, and how to interact with the objects within the room, and things we could ignore. They would then give us a brief set up of the scenario for our room, we did one called, “The Illusionist”, where the famed magician Malini had trapped us and would make us disappear forever if we failed to get out. Our hosts then left the room but would stay with us the whole time watching through cameras and listening in case we got stuck. We were given 4 clues that we could initiate but they were helpful in other ways as well. At one point, for example, we stated to ignore a keypad because it didn’t match the decor of the room, when they noticed, they sent us a friendly reminder through a computer monitor on the wall that “all locks were fair game” at no cost of a clue. In the end, we made it out of the room with just about 4 minutes left and after having exhausted all 4 of our clues. Most of puzzles for this game were fun and challenging but a couple of them could have been framed a bit better as I’m not sure how we could have figured them out without the use of one of our clues. A good time was had by all and every voice was heard at some point in time.

While this kind of game is not the usual topic for this site I couldn’t help but think that it certainly satisfies all the points for what I consider true co-op. There were six of us all working together toward a singular goal. At times we may have taken different approaches to a particular clue, or some of us worked on one clue while others worked on the next but ultimately all findings, all discoveries, all knowledge had to be filtered through the collective in case an individual missed some important detail. Everyone had to give input and everyone had a chance to shine.

Now, with that being said, we chose a small room where it was just the six of us. We all know each other and are comfortable around one another. I am not so certain that the room would be so intimate or fun had we done it in a larger room with six other people whom we had no idea about. I feel like some people may be reluctant to speak or get involved in such a setting and that’s the thing that sets video co-op gaming apart from this more personalized form. I think the anonymity of video games are more inclusive to people who are drawn to true co-op games. I have grouped with so many cool people in games like Left 4 Dead, or even huge games like Everquest and had some really great conversations and experiences with complete strangers that I don’t know could happen right away by meeting face to face in such a short amount of time.

Obviously that same anonymity has a flip side where it can be empowering in a bad way and we end up with assholes or keyboard warriors on games such as CoD for example but, in my experience, people looking to play cooperatively aren’t the ones that are going to act like that and sometimes that anonymity will allow a more introverted person the opportunity to make those positive connections.

A picture after our harrowing escape…

In the front row there we got, from left to right, Mr Roper, Janet, then Chrissy, and Cagney and Lacey. In the back is Steve Urkel…”Did I do this??” I took the picture while seated in my scooter. Thanks Great Escapes!!!

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