Not many people can say they prevented a hacker from wiping out millions of bank accounts, saved the world from a rogue scientist’s chemical warfare plot or took part in the fabled shootout at the O.K. Corral.
These things are the stuff of a Hollywood daydream. They’re also a part of Escapology Myrtle Beach, an attraction that opened here in September and is now gearing up for its first full tourist season.
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Escapology Myrtle Beach is a franchise modeled after the original attraction, which opened in Orlando in 2014.
Escape rooms are descendants of video and online games like Crimson Room, Zelda and more – but offer a real-life interactive experience. Players are put in a room and given a set amount of time to find clues, decipher riddles and solve the problems at hand to successfully escape.
The games at Escapology Myrtle Beach feature three immersive rooms each, said marketing director Scott Gorman.
“When you find enough clues in room number one, you unlock room number two, and then you have got to use various clues in both rooms to unlock room number three,” he said.
The games – Arizona Shootout, The Code [TH3 C0D3] and Antidote – have a 60-minute time limit.
“You’re searching the rooms for various clues, and an item that might be ordinary and mundane suddenly becomes part of a bigger piece of the puzzle to solve later on,” he said.
Gorman said he has seen kids as young as seven solve clues that adults wouldn’t necessarily see – and that many much older folks play the games as well.
“It really appeals to all ages, and all types of people,” he said.
Guests at Escapology Myrtle Beach are encouraged to put their smartphones into a basket in the first of the rooms.
“It’s nice to see everyone work together – and people need to be disconnected every now and then,” said Gorman.
Michelle Roark and Justin Roark, visiting from Manchester, New Hampshire, were looking forward to their experience at Escapology, having already been to 15 escape rooms over the years, some as far afield as Seattle and Miami.
“We are really big into board games, so it was sort of a natural progression,” said Justin Roark.
Wife Michelle Roark said she loves crossword puzzles and reading mysteries, and that sleuthing is a big part of escape rooms.
Alissa Brent, assistant store manager at Food Lion in Calabash, N.C., visited Escapology Myrtle Beach with several friends and fellow Food Lion employees from Calabash and Sunset Beach, N.C.
Brent wasn’t sure what to expect from her experience.
“I am just really excited to do this with my friends and see how smart we are,” she said.
While Brent and friends were not visiting for a team-building trip, she saw the potential benefit for businesses and other organizations looking to strengthen employee ties.
“I can definitely see that, because you have to work together as a team to accomplish the ultimate goal to escape,” she said.
Manager Jon Green said the object would be for folks to get through the escape rooms with as little input from Escapology employees as possible, but there is always a gamemaster on hand – monitoring the games from a control room.
Sometimes, people need a little nudge.
“We want people to figure out the puzzles and the riddles and get through the games themselves. That’s why they come here, but it does happen – and if you want a clue, we’re available to give you a clue,” he said.
Escapology is located at 400 North Kings Highway in Myrtle Beach.
For more about Escapology, visit www.escapology.com.