1. The Experience
Side Effect is an immersion experience that is played with a group of 5, easily incorporating both individuals and friend groups. The objective of Side Effect is for each player to determine their identity within the game based on what actions in their room contribute to their successful escape. Each room has a unique color scheme and theme (intentionally not logically matched), and the 5 rooms are arranged in a circle with audio communication possible between rooms and limited visibility via small inward-facing windows into the central courtyard space. Participants realize their identity by executing actions in their own rooms, and then working strategically based on their realized identity to complete the four challenges necessary to become “Master” of their room and be the first to escape.
2. The Twists
Each player is required to communicate and interact with other rooms at least once in order to successfully escape, so players must be strategically competitive in order to obtain the help of other players. There will be at least one “rogue action” per experience, meaning an event will happen in a player’s room that was not initiated by another participant — this rogue action will cloud communication and synergy between players and increase the competition!
3. Case Study: “Master of Light” Room
A player will enter a blue room (specifically designed to not match the theme of Light) that will be furnished with everyday items, a chalkboard/chalk to signal the idea that puzzles need to be solved, and four blue lights above the door. The first time the participant executes an action that is considered a “Master of Light” task, the lights above the door will blink for 5 seconds. After that first time, every executed “Master of Light” task will light up one of the four lights permanently, and all 4 lit blue lights results in a successful room escape!
Exampled of “Master of Light” tasks:
1. Screwing in a light bulb in a lamp that appeared broken in order to turn the lamp on
2. Isolating a candle stick among a box of colored pencils/art utensils
3. Getting two other players to turn off their rooms’ lights for 60 seconds
***Side effects twist: An action in a different room (ex. movement of a piece of furniture) will cause the lights in this player’s room to go out for 60 seconds, completely out of their control
4. Challenge Constraints
With Side Effects, we have expanded upon the traditional room escape concept by having the actions taken by one player affect the conditions of other players’ rooms. This experience allows participants to be both competitive and collaborative, as they must be strategic enough to solicit help from others while still attempting to be the first out of their room. Our objective to engage as many senses as possible is reflected by each room having a different vibrant color and having the themes of each room revolve around sensory stimuli (ex. Master of Light, Master of Sound).