Get Out Games: A SLC Escape Room Experience


The Student Media crew flashes the U after a series of escapes. (Courtesy Get Out Games)

By Abigail Bowé, Arts Writer

I’ve always loved puzzles. They’re a fun and challenging way to teach yourself to think from new angles, solve problems and understand a greater whole through its smaller pieces. When I was a kid, I’d put jigsaw puzzles together with my family at my grandparent’s house, spend hours with my brother trying to beat his Perplexus maze ball, play pages of Sudoku during road trips, get frustrated over the mystery of the Rubik’s Cube and try to win every puzzle in the Professor Layton game series back when they were new.

Frankly, I’m surprised that I’ve never tried an escape room until recently and that I’m the last person in my immediate family to have done so. My mom, after visiting one for the first time, would continuously remind me how inventive and entertaining escape rooms were, while my brother liked to describe in dramatic detail how terrifying it was that another room had him try and escape from handcuffs. After years of hearing about all the hype, I went to my first ever escape room at Get Out Games, located right here in downtown Salt Lake City.

(Courtesy of Get Out Games)

Escape rooms are an interesting cultural phenomenon which first appeared in numerous computer and video games, both as features in larger games and as an entire genre of online flash games. My favorite computer games include escape room elements, ranging in all kinds of settings, stories and methods of escape. One forces a player to chop off one of their fingers to get out of a jail cell holding a murderous clown, another slowly fills up with sand and can’t be stopped. I remember one game where the main plot twist is that the room the protagonist is trapped in is secretly an elevator all along.

What makes these games and the live, in-person rooms most satisfying aren’t merely their number of puzzles or what smarts they require a person to use to solve them — where they stand out in terms of originality, thrill and engagement. Trying to get yourself out of a closet you locked yourself inside of, for instance, is dreadful and dull because it has no elements of fun or adventure when all you’ve got to do is shout for help, look for a key or sit on a bucket and mope. Breaking into a vault to get to a hoard of stolen treasure on the other hand? This was the simulation which I tried out at Get Out Games, and it was perfectly fun.

(Courtesy of Get Out Games)

Get Out Games boasts of their escape room experiences that they try to make their puzzles immersive by giving them fleshed out props, sets and storylines. The room I played, “The Heist,” made thorough use of exposition. Alongside the team I played with, we were introduced to the office space of an imagined mob boss who had hidden his stash in a vault somewhere in our room, and we had to act almost as though we were true noir detectives and sort through his wastebin, unlock a briefcase, decipher his posters and discover a hidden doorway before our timer would run out and the mob boss would come back to “find us,” so to speak.

Most of the puzzles were clever, though I did feel that the room made slightly too much use of code deciphering to open finicky lock pads. My team even managed to skip over a few of these puzzles entirely by sorting out a way to cheat at one puzzle that was supposed to require an item from a locked cabinet. However, these small criticisms are partly those of taste. Somebody who absolutely loves cipher puzzles and code-cracking, for instance, might’ve enjoyed how many of these types of puzzles the room had to offer.

Aside from this, I was still impressed by other parts of Get Out Game’s escape room. One element that made “The Heist” thrilling is that participants play it as a race against the other teams also playing it that day, to see who will get to the mob boss’ gold first. The game’s use of blacklights — while also maybe a bit cheesy for a detective themed room — provided a playful touch by transforming seemingly blank walls into an exciting reveal of a new puzzle. Discovering the massive vault door within the room was definitely breathtaking, and was certainly the strongest ingredient to the entire game. Overall, the experience made it so that I’d want to play through another escape room again, both at Get Out Games — that really did an incredible job — and at other escape room locations in Utah to see how other locations put a spin on the medium.

Get Out Games offers several other unique rooms for players to try both at their SLC and Provo locations, including a nuclear reactor story, a zombie outbreak and an ancient Egyptian tomb mystery. Content-wise, these games are marketed as friendly to players of all ages. Get Out Games’ tickets range from $16 to $22 a person and must be booked in advance through their website.


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