• Immersive Experiences

    NYCC18: Round Up

    New York Comic Con 2018 Round Up
    Location: Manhattan, NY
    Date: October 4th-7th, 2018

     

    Thursday:

    Cursed Child Panel

    cursed child nycc

    To kick off our weekend, we rushed to get in line for the Cursed Child panel which featured a Q & A with the original cast members of the play. The spoiler-free talk worked to #KeepTheSecrets while giving the audience some insight on some of the ways the actors found inspiration with this classic story.

    A Pensieve Experience by Audible

    harry potter nycc

    In order to promote the audio books for the Harry Potter series, Audible staged a larger than life pensieve to travel into. Upon entrance, we were prompted to choose a character from the books and select a vial containing their memories. Once inside the vast basin, we found ourselves in a foggy and ethereal room. We were then instructed to place the vial on a pedestal which would trigger the memories to play into headphones for us. Unfortunately, we had only JUST missed the Cursed Child cast as we walked through. The exhibit wrapped up with a a second interactive component where we were able to record a looping downloadable video of us casting spells with one of the characters wands.

    The Bob’s Burgers Cookoff

    bob's burgers

    Just outside of the Javits Center, two brightly colored food trucks were tucked away down a construction laden street. Sitting side by side, these adjacent ‘Team Bob’ and ‘Team Louise’ food carts provided a real life Belcher experience. Curated by chef Alvin Cailan, fans of the show had the opportunity to choose between the “Carrot on My Wayward Bun” burger and a “Natural Born Dillers Burger”. Not only was this experience delicious, but it also gave us a real sense of the Belcher’s seaside hospitality.

     


     

    Friday:

    Resident Evil 2 Remake Demo

    re2 nycc

    In anticipation of the long awaited remake of this classic game, Capcom brought a real life Racoon City police station with them to NYCC. After a several hour wait, we were escorted inside the facility and sat in bloody desks to play fifteen minute demos of RE2. Not only was this game super creepy, but the added ambiance of this decrepit building added to the vibe. The RE2 remake is out January 5th, 2019.

    Netflix & Chills Panel

    One of the real highlights of 2018 for us was the Netflix block panel that capped off Friday night. Netflix highlighted four upcoming properties coming soon to the streaming service. These included a first look at Gerard Way’s Umbrella Academy, a quick look into the next iteration of The Dark Crystal & several clips of the upcoming horror series, The Haunting of Hill House. While we are thoroughly excited for each of the previous entries, we are beyond excited for what came next. The cast and creators of the upcoming remake, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina presented an exclusive screening of the first episode of the series. Without getting into spoiler territory, we can confirm that this is something we plan on binging when it comes out October 26th.

    The Heather’s Photo-Op

    heathers nycc

    To promote the 5-night binge that will be released on Paramount Network on October 25th, some Heathers stole a school bus and drove it into the Javits Center. The vehicle was covered in graffiti quotes from the original cult classic and we were escorted on board by rude high school students donning the classic block colored uniforms. They promised we’d get something cool out of sharing out photos, if they liked us. The experience was short, but we took a photo on the bus in front of a neon sign and were gifted an awesome quality slushie pin on the way out. We are certainly ready to binge it up, baby.


    Verdict:

    Initially, it felt like New York Comic Con lacked the home run immersive activations of previous years – ie HBO’s Westworld Experience. However, we had a blast at this year’s convention. The show floor was full of bite sized experiences. Between dressing up as our favorite Overwatch characters for a 360 degree video to being inserted as extras into the Mortal Engines trailer, 2018 New York Comic Con was an overwhelming success. We look forward to what 2019 has in store!

     

  • Escape Rooms,  Immersive Experiences

    NYCC18: Cartman’s Escape Room

    Game: Cartman’s Escape Room
    Location: Manhattan, NY
    Date Played: October, 2018
    Team Size: 10 players
    Duration: 10 minutes
    Price: Free with NYCC18 badge

     

    Comedy Central’s installation at this year’s Comic Con features a fully built-out escape room. Designed for 10 players, it runs at 10 minutes in length.

    The exhibit is free but prompts guests to come early in the day to secure their time slots. If you fail to snag your ticket before they fill up, you still have the opportunity to wait on the stand-by line to make it in.  

    Caught in yet another one of Cartman’s schemes, we found ourselves stuck in one of the most impossible places to escape: Schooooool.

    We were funneled into a prep area with lockers and a television that provided us with a brief run-down of our situation. The staff also chatted with our group as to whether or not any of us had done rooms before and continued to stress the importance of our communication and collaboration skills.

    At go time, we were lead into the classroom where each of us sat at our own classic desk. The room was built out to look exactly like we had stepped foot into the show. The colors, props, and décor all matched the geometric design of South Park. Our Game Master was an in-game “teacher” who gave us the final instructions and waited within the room to help guide the group throughout the experience.

    Most puzzles were standard escape room tasks that led to numerical or alphabetical locks. All of the puzzles made sense as they were ways to interact with the classroom objects. With a few nods to other characters in the show throughout and some funny and on-brand integrations, the experience was super enjoyable. We were able to track our time through sassy announcements that Cartman made as the game progressed, telling us things like, “uh you only have like five minutes left here”.

    The space was definitely big enough for 10 of us. We all sort of broke out into two or three groups but everything was near and simple enough to shout a suggestion to the rest of the team at any time.

    Overall, Comedy Central nailed it. Conventions present a few difficult tasks in terms of design. Not only does the room have to be approachable enough for any and all convention-goers to enjoy but it also has to be able to hold and captivate a larger party so you can maximize the number of guests who can participate. Logistically, everything was streamlined even down to what the reset would be. We were in and out but never felt like they sacrificed any quality or the basic structure of what an escape room is.

    Kudos to this exhibit. If you’ve got passes to New York Comic Con this weekend, definitely take the time to stop by!

     

  • Immersive Experiences

    ABQ – Breaking Bad Bar Immersive Review

    Location: Brooklyn, NY
    Date Played: September, 2017
    Duration: 120 minutes
    Price: $55 per ticket

     

    Spending a Friday night inside of an RV in Brooklyn may not sound like the most ideal situation – but it isn’t every day that you are given the opportunity to step into a yellow hazmat suit and cook up some cocktails in a mobile lab. As massive fans of the show Breaking Bad, as soon as we discovered this elusive pop-up bar experience, we immediately added our names to the waitlist. We were elated when we finally received the e-mail confirming our reservation. Up until this point, most of the immersive experiences that we had done that involved a popular IP had turned out to be sub-par. Pleasantly, ABQ Bar broke that mold.

    Arriving at 10 PM, we were unsure as to exactly how the night would proceed. Our navigation lead us to a lot surrounded by a chain link fence. Lacking signage or any identifiable markings, this turned out to be one of the more inconspicuous locations we had traveled to. There was still a shade of doubt in all our of minds as to whether or not we were even in the correct place. This all went away when a man in lab gear burst out of the RV and yelled at the previous group in full Jesse Pinkman fashion. Our location was confirmed – just what exactly lie ahead of us beyond the RV doors?

    We killed a bit of time inside the permanent bar on property while the staff reset the bar within the RV. Before we knew it, we were once again being yelled at by our host but this time, it was to line up to enter. The staff at ABQ were purposely and thematically brash and unapologetic. It was awesome. We were handed a cocktail as we boarded and were shown to a table.

    Once seated, not only did we happen upon our yellow hazmat suits, but we were also provided with beakers and chemistry gear galore. It was sticky, it was humid, it was uncomfortable. But that’s exactly how it should have felt. Our lab equipment ranged from different types of flasks to graduated cylinders to pipets. Over the course of an hour and a half, we were tasked to concoct two drinks guided by our experiment instruction sheet and our in-character host. The entire experience ran smoothly. Two of us worked on creating the base of the drink, while the rest of our group had a different solution to mix. There was certainly enough procedures for everyone to help out with. The tasks were involved enough that we were never bored and were kept fun by different staff members coming by to assist with dry ice features and powdered sugar set ups.

    From the yellow suits, to the Funions and ‘Kiss the cook!’ wall portrait, and even the in-character, in-theme hosts, this experience was super thematic.The drinks we created were certainly nothing to write home about (except for the blue one that glowed) as they were basically sugary vodka punches – but did we leave this experience happy? Yeah, bitch!

    Verdict:

    Un-yieling, just like the show it was based off of, this might not be an enjoyable experience for everyone. However, it fit exactly what we were looking for. Thematically, it all made sense & truly immersed each one of us into a world of cooking up some “Blue Sky” in a parked RV.

  • Immersive Experiences

    Beat the Bomb – Immersive Review

    Location: Brooklyn, NY
    Date Played: May, 2018
    Team Size: 2 – 6 players
    Duration: 60 minutes
    Price: $39 per ticket
    Story

    Beat the Bomb was structured as a series of mini-games that required heavy teamwork and top-tier communication skills. Success in each game accrued our team points which then translated to additional time for the final stage: the bomb diffusion finale.

    Puzzles

    Tasks required each player to communicate – keeping us all engaged, on our toes, and running around. These 10 minute long mini-games included:  

    • Laser Maze
    • Floor Grid
    • Hack Attack
    • Echo Chamber

    The bomb diffusion finale was frantic, yet approachable.

    Production Value/Immersion:

    Beat the Bomb had a futuristic, industrial vibe throughout the facility. The hazmat suits & synth-based soundtrack added a level of immersion and hype. All of the incorporated tech worked well and the games provided clear and fun instructions that helped guide us through the entire experience.

    Highlights

    Each 10 minute mini-game varied from physically taxing to the mentally challenging. Every stage required the whole team to participate. In between games, there were quick cool down periods for us to catch our breath. As we progressed through the various stages, Beat the Bomb did a great job really building up the suspense and energy for our inevitable confrontation with the bomb.

    As a team who is super competitive, we loved it. Beat the Bomb crafted an experience that not only molded us to maximize our bomb diffusing time, but also challenged us to strive for points in order to place as high as possible on their leaderboard. These elements of point values and rankings open to the door for replay-ability.

    Shortcomings

    Beat the Bomb provided many opportunities for some pretty epic photos, but mid-game, when a staff member tried to subtly enter the room to take some action shots, it felt a little odd and disruptive. The hazmat suits were so fun and immersive, however due to the high level of physical activity, some of ours ripped before the bomb room and we worried about getting paint on our clothes. Luckily, we avoided any mishaps.

    This Experience is a Good Match for

    Beat the Bomb thrives of competition and high stress environments. This experience is great for any escape room team looking for a challenge. Just be prepared to get a little messy.

     

    lockchix beat the bomb

    We beat the bomb & ranked 30th overall!

  • Immersive Experiences

    The Pint Shop – Immersive Review

    the pint shop banner

    Experience: The Pint Shop
    Location: Manhattan, NY
    Date Visited: June  2018
    Price: Free

    The Pint Shop is the final product served up when an aesthetic brand like Target collaborates with famous pop-up, Museum of Ice Cream in order to promote a new line of frozen treats. This “interactive grocery destination” serves up a small taste of what both bring to the table: the Instagram-able flair of it’s parent pop-up blended together with a keen eye for customer experience and topped off with a bit of quirkiness.

    This can’t-miss storefront, located just off of the Chelsea High Line, provides guests with a memorable visit through it’s use of vibrant colors and well-thought-out interactives.  Normally, attempting to get the perfect photos at an Instagram-trap such as this on a summer Saturday could easily prove to be a nightmare given the crowds. However, Pint Shop does a great job of managing the line and staggering it well enough to give each guest a proper experience.

    the pint shop rae

    Once inside, there seems to be as many different things to do as there are flavors of ice cream. Activities range from being able to taste test the product itself to a series of photo stations built into larger-than-life ice cream pints including the Cherrylicious flavored ball pit & the Sprinkle Pool swing. Beyond that, guests can also shop the grocery store aisles that perfectly weave the exhibit’s for sale merchandise into even more opportunities to snap the perfect picture, as each aisle is distinctly color-correlated to a different flavor of ice cream. Even though all items on the shelves are for sale, aside from an ice cream recipe book & ice cream chain, the color-coded products resemble the objects that the flavors are named after more so than ice cream itself. While there was plenty of cherry-decorated merchandise to go around, we envied the 3-scoop ice cream enamel pin on the pop-up host’s jumpsuit and would have loved to have walked out with more ice-cream-centric merchandise!

    The attention to detail is what really put this pint sized pop-up over the top. Every corner of the store serves as a great photo-op as there no wasted space. It’s always a nice touch when there is no visible “backstage” area to hinder immersion levels.

    Verdict:

    From the glitter-covered ropes containing the crowds waiting outside to the perfectly color-coordinated shopping aisles, Pint Shop has an eye for adorable detail. This small taste of what the Museum of Ice Cream has to offer left us wanting more & achieved its marketing goal of keeping us excited to try the new line of ice cream. Ranging from Churro Churro to Vanillionaire to Nana Banana, the LockChix look forward to tasting more on July 8th when they hit Target shelves!

  • Immersive Experiences

    The Dream Machine – Immersive Review

    Experience: Dream Machine
    Location: Brooklyn, NY
    Date Visited: April  2018
    Price: $28-$38

    dream machine

     

    Any pop-up that we take part in that allows us to schedule a specific time for our visit is already off to a  good start! Specifying what slot we were to show up for minimized our line wait times and allowed us to better experience the flow of the event without fighting through crowds inside.

    After arriving, the event itself continued to move smoothly as it was well-run and organized. People working the event were friendly and dressed to theme in mute toned jumpsuits – seemingly the dream engineers. In addition to offering to take our photos, they were also patient with allowing us to hang back in order to get the perfect one. We never felt rushed.

    Content itself was also well-executed. Every room felt different – our transitions from scene to scene mimicked a movement from dream to dream. Each component was different, engaging, and interesting. On top of that, you couldn’t see behind the scenes unless you went behind the scenes. The rooms were sealed into their own sets keeping unneeded sights out of vision. We actually even witnessed guests taking Instagram photos in the bathrooms as there was a pretty pink hued lighting in there too.

    Each room was a separate entity from the next and the flow of the space was clearly purposefully laid out. Spaces that would require less crowding in order to get good photos were placed right after larger, more engaging rooms. As such, groups held back in the first room, giving the group ahead of them plenty of time in the more intimate space ahead.

     

    Verdict:

    Dream Machine achieved the perfect dream aesthetic of wandering from one scene to the next. It was well-organized, leading to low levels of stress and a smooth flow. It presented some high quality, good content and allowed us to get what we set out looking for – a good Instagram photo.

     

     

    dream machine clouds
    benji wall
    dream machine chair
    laundromat
    selfie service
    dream machine pit
    color corridor
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  • Immersive Experiences

    The Egg House – Immersive Review

    Experience: The Egg House
    Location: Manhattan, NY
    Date Visited: April 26, 2018
    Price: $18

     

    “We believe in the familiarity and universality that eggs bring to people, therefore we created an imaginary place where people can momentarily escape to and share the love of eggs.”

     

    Egg House turned out to be the adorable and quirky pop-up that it set out to be. The team behind the experience crafted an immersive, imaginary place where one can journey through the dreams of Ellis the egg in order to escape reality and enter a universe that is both comforting and interesting.

    Walking up to the exhibit, the sunny-side-up-yellow popped immediately, as the space they secured had streetfront floor to ceiling windows. It was enticing right from the start as we were given a taste of the colorful world, but were unable to see what lay ahead once we were inside.immersive banner

    The Egg House did a great job of providing tickets for entry times that were in half hour increments and releasing chunks of days’ worth of tickets over the course of several weeks. As in, we were unable to purchase our tickets for the 27th until the second or third week that the exhibit was open. Having sectioned off times and putting tickets out in waves is a great way to ensure that there is ample opportunity for many people to participate. Instead of having to wait in a never-ending line or worrying about the entire event selling out in minutes, we were able to pick the exact time we could enter the space.

    As we chose to attend on a Thursday, the space was pleasantly empty when we arrived except for a few other small groups. Not feeling rushed and really having the opportunity to take our time through the space – especially an exhibit where a big reason why we were there was to take instagram photos – was really such a treat.

    The aesthetic was on point. Everything was perfectly instagrammable and portioned into sections so we were not on top of other groups. Some parts of the exhibit, however were a bit toned down as compared to what was advertised. For example, the website notes a “pleasant surprise” if we were to interact with the entrance sign in the foyer, however part of the entrance seemed to be missing. Additionally, it was advertised that vendors such as Eggloo and Egg Shop would be there. When we were at the exhibit, there were tables set up for these vendors, but they were covered with storage and had no one working them, so we did not have the option of purchasing anything.  

    Egg House Spatulas Overall, the exhibit was fantastic. Each photo op was beautifully set up, was of good quality, and was delightfully adorable. The aesthetic was on-point and everything was perfectly instagrammable. We were even able to visit Ellis the egg, who was presented through a cool technical projection and outside of his window showcased an exhibit in which the group had brought the giant egg himself out to a park in New York. Looking out of the window showed a time lapse of his experience on a park bench. The only issue from a quality perspective would be that there were portions of the building itself that weren’t fully covered up. Seeing bits of open storage areas and having sections of the basement / garden area not fully decorated broke the immersion a bit.

    A finishing touch was that we were able to purchase some egg merch and were gifted with a small Egg House pin upon departing. The staff was very friendly and very helpful – offering to take our photos and ensuring that we had explored all parts of the space. The front door was also locked from the inside, which made us feel super secure within the space.

     

    Verdict:

    From start to finish, we had an eggcellent time. Egg House crafted an awesome aesthetic to escape to and wove it into an endearing story. The vibe was great – from staff to quality of exhibit items to level of experience. We’d love to go through it again.

     

  • Immersive Experiences

    Deadpool 2 Pop-Up Bar – Immersive Review

    Sister Margaret's

     

    Experience: Sister Margaret’s School of Wayward Girls
    Location: Brooklyn, NY
    Date: April, 2018
    Price: Free with RSVP 21+

     

    Going into this experience, we weren’t sure what to make of this event. How could a small bar in Williamsburg turn itself into a hub for criminals and assassins? As fans of the Rob Liefeld character, our group was skeptical. However, this Deadpool inspired pop-up bar lived up to the calamity of its source material.

    Presented by Mike’s Hard Lemonade & Fox Films, the Alligator Lounge was transformed into “Sister Margaret’s School for Wayward Girls.” When we arrived and joined the small line formed outside the establishment, guests were greeted by burly bikers & a suspiciously “Cable” dressed man going by Mike Hard. These actors along with the spray paint signs added to the immersive feel of this Marvel watering hole.

     

    Shortly after half an hour, we were invited inside Sister Margaret’s. This is when the true madness begun. Having never been to the Alligator Lounge before, it was insane how closely this bar resembled the bar from the Deadpool film franchise. Everything from the chalkboard drink “dead pool” to the neon sign to the pool tables gave our group flashbacks to the film adaptation. The details to immersion were off the charts with even missing katana posters plastered in the entranceway.

     

    Besides the open bar of Mike’s Hard Lemonade, this pop-up was designed for everyone. Activities provided included Deadpool skeeball, airbrush tattoos, arcade games & character photo-ops. Everything stuck to the theme of this pop-up and nothing felt out of place. After spending a couple hours at Sister Margaret’s, we headed to the door & on our way out were handed Deadpool 2 swag bags. These included bar glasses from the pop-up, a poster & tiny hand candies. This only added to the great experience we had at this rarely nailed pop-up bar.

     

    Verdict:

    While we’ve been severely disappointed by themed pop-up bars in the past, this experience was top notch. As promotion for the upcoming sequel, Sister Margaret’s only helped to heighten our excitement for the film. It genuinely felt like being immersed in the world of Deadpool when we were at this establishment. Not only was this a truly great immersive experience, but it also added something for everyone, not just fans of Deadpool.

  • Immersive Experiences

    NYCC: Westworld Immsersive Experience Review

    Experience: Westworld: Live Without Limits
    Location: Manhattan, NY
    Date Played: October, 2017
    Team Size: 4
    Duration: 30 minutes
    Price: Free with NYCC badge

     

    Much like the television show that it is based on, Westworld: Live Without Limits built an experience to fully immerse attendees into a new world. This Comic Con pop-up was a special treat for fans of the show and nothing like anything we’d experienced to date.

    Dating back to the program’s inception, HBO has strived towards creating unforgettable Comic Con experiences. In 2016, the company installed a booth in E-Hall with representatives from the Delos Corporation who would register guests for appointments at an off-site location. The experience consisted of a virtual reality trip to Westworld. Although brief, this 10-15 minute VR experience showed what it was like to get acclimated to this dystopian escape. The experience left me with a real sense of exploration and immersion into one of my favorite up and coming television shows. Little did I know, that feeling would be nothing compared to what was in store the following year.

    westworld-4Given the spike in popularity the show had experienced over the previous twelve months, our group knew that this would be the hottest pop-up to take place over the course of the weekend. Each morning at 7 AM, the Westworld Twitter account would release an animated map of the area surrounding the Javits Center hinting as to where to line-up to gain access to the experience. At 6:45 AM on that Friday morning, our group turned Twitter notifications on and anxiously awaited the clue release. As soon as our phones rang, sheer panic set in as we attempted to determine which street corner to sprint to. We had a little help from Reddit threads and were given a good indication that we were headed in the correct direction based on a group of badgeholders briskly making their way north on 11th Avenue. We eventually found our way to the correct location at the corner of 42nd St and 11th Ave.

    Thinking we had beat the rush of attendees, our hearts sank when we saw the droves of fans already waiting on line at 7:15 AM. Our group nervously got on line and began the long wait. As 9 AM approached, the HBO staff began to survey the line, which at that point, had wrapped around the block. Eventually they handed out placemarkers which read “Last Spot for Guaranteed Entry” & “Last Stand-by.” Even with our early arrival, we ended up about 15 spots shy of the “Last Stand-by” marker.

    As the Delos Corporation “hosts” began to check people in, we slowly crept closer to the elusive white tent. The clock struck 10 AM and we had finally made our way to the front of the line. Luckily we were able to still make stand-by appointments for later that afternoon and were handed reminder cards with the time and address.

    Westworld Experience: 

    After a video briefing us on what was to come, each guest was individually called into the back by a “host.” Once seated, I was interviewed by a woman dressed in all black. Questions ranged from the obvious to the bizarre.

    “Do you consider yourself to be a good person?”

    “If there was a button you could press that would end world suffering but it would eliminate half the population, would you press it?”

    From there, each guest of Westworld was fitted for their hat. This wasn’t any ordinary cowboy hat, but rather it was a symbol of character within the world we were just about to experience.

    Westworld-3At that point, we were regrouped and brought to an elevator. Stepping off of the elevator, we found ourselves in the Westworld saloon. Dimly lit, we were greeted by several barkeeps & ladies of the establishment. They provided us with several cocktails as we were each asked about what we wanted out of Westworld. Guests’ hat color influenced the way in which they were treated which leaned into the immersion of the whole experience. Wearing a white hat myself, each “host” approached me in a compassionate & friendly manner, compared to the man next to me in the black hat who the same hosts were cold and distant to.

    After several questions & several drinks, one of the female hosts led us to the self-playing piano. Our eyes were all drawn to the music sheet feeding into the piano when suddenly, blood began to smear across them. As soon as we were able to register what was happening, sirens began to engulf the saloon. What was a once a candle lit bar, was pierced with flashing red lights. Disoriented and confused, we quickly turned around to find the “hosts” frozen in their tracks. Panic set in when a different elevator than the one we had used opened across the room. At this point, a two man team of Delos security guards rushed into the room, grabbed us, and pulled us into the second elevator. These men assured us that the threat to our lives had been avoided and we were free to leave.

    Verdict:

    Looking back on my short trip to Westworld, I’m still astonished at what HBO was able to create. While gaining access to this experience was one of the most agonizing mornings I’ve had – the long wait times, early wake-ups, and anticipation as to whether or not we’d gain entry – they were absolutely worth the ordeal. The level of immersion from the moment you get to interact with the appointment hosts all the way through to the grand finale was second to none. Fans will love the process in which you are classified as a white or a black hat, just like in the show. Even if you are unfamiliar with the show’s premise, getting thrown into an android saloon that goes haywire is an experience one will likely never forget.

    Promotional immersive experiences can be hit or miss. If done correctly, they can convert new fans and turn existing fans into die-hards. This Westworld experience was the talk of the convention and those lucky enough to get in received an experience they’ll revere until the next Westworld New York Comic Con showing.

  • Immersive Experiences

    NYCC: Jigsaw Escape Room Review

     

    Experience: Jigsaw Escape Room
    Location: Manhattan, NY
    Date Played: October, 2017
    Team Size: 4
    Duration: 15 minutes
    Price: Free with NYCC badge

     

    Experience:

    Given such an easy opportunity to create a next level experience around a brand that is basically a series of horror escape rooms in itself, Jigsaw really missed the mark. Combining a VR experience with a 5-minute escape room sounds great on paper, however in practice, the event failed to take either element to the next level.

    jigsaw-nyccNewYork-ComicCon 2017 oftentimes seemed like an endless progression of waiting in lines. We loved all of the pop-ups that the event had to offer, but we would have loved them even more had we had the opportunity to participate in any of them without devoting hours to waiting in lines. Many even capped out in capacity and closed for the day by the time we arrived to the convention. Jigsaw proved to be more of the same, as we waited four hours to get to the experience. This would have been less disappointing had the VR and escape rooms at the end of the line been incredible. Lines are definitely unavoidable for conventions of this scale, but we hope that as time goes on and pop-ups continue to pop up, that companies take steps to decrease wait time. Having multiple copies of each experience or developing a system similar to Fast Passes where attendees can return at a later time would greatly improve the overall experience.

    I talk a lot about the wait time because we spent four hours in line to escape the room after one minute and thirty seconds.

    As mentioned, the VR element seemed great on paper. However in the actual room, it proved to be awkward and buggy. The first half of the room splits the party of four into two groups of two and leads you into separate but mirrored rooms. You and your partner are escorted to back to back chairs as one person within the room gets you fitted to your VR headset. My VR showed a man wearing a mask and yielding a knife in a barn, I had trouble hearing it and it proceeded to revert to the menu screen for the VR system as it finished. As there was only one person to help us get set up, I had my headset put on first and my VR ended well before my partner’s did. I was instructed to look around the room as he sat there still in the headset.

    As I began to search the room, I opened an electric box, only to be told that that part of the game was removed, as it had taken too long with previous players. The only other item in the room to touch was a block in the wall which fell through to the other players’ room. I was wrong in thinking this was part of the story as their helper placed it back telling me that wasn’t supposed to happen either.

    When my partner’s VR experience finally ended, we were shown to the second half, the escape room section. After feeling like I did nothing in the VR portion, I was excited to have a cool Saw-like experience.

    Within one minute, we found a flashlight, found a code, and opened the box to get the key to escape. After four hours of waiting, we completed two steps and were finished. Our grand total was about under five minutes for the entire experience.

    Other noteworthy elements include the fact that they had us place our belongings on an unmanned table prior to entering. Although the table was near the room, our items could have been easily taken. It would have been a much better call to provide lockers, as most escape rooms do. Additionally, they had actors in full Saw makeup walking around outside of the room. We were sure that we would have one pop up once we were inside. However, it seems as though they were just used to walk around the event for promotional purposes.

    Verdict:

    The concept of a Saw-themed escape room sounds enticing and very immersive, given the fact that the series is built upon victims being forced to escape. However, the game execution was sloppy logistically and was a huge letdown given the amount of time we had to wait to experience it. The VR element had technical issues and didn’t flow well into the escape portion, as you were immersing yourself into one world and then leaving to enter another. If executed again, the experience should focus on building out the escape room element more with more creative puzzles, rather than leaning so heavily on the set. We’d have liked to “play a game” had the game not seemingly been over before it even began.