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Review: The Mystery of Clarence Earl Gideon

RATING: 2 Key          RESULT: Win          REMAINING: 0:22

The true Mystery is just what this game’s story is supposed to be.


Clarence Earl Gideon was a poor drifter accused in a Florida state court of felony theft. At Gideon’s first trial, he represented himself, and he was convicted.

After the Supreme Court ruled that the state had to provide defense counsel for the indigent, Florida retried Gideon. At his second trial, which took place in August 1963 with a lawyer representing him and bringing out for the jury the weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, Gideon was acquitted.

Find some of his secrets, and use them to get out of his room. You only have 60 minutes to leave the room before he returns.

I’m not trapped; I’m lost. I literally have no idea what’s going on here. So this guy is a thief, yet we’re the ones breaking and entering. And what is the urgency? It’s like they forgot that he was arrested for theft, not murder.


Where is Thomas Edison and his Anti-Confusion Machine™ you need him?!


We know Code to Escape to be on the more moderate side of the scenic spectrum, but in the other two games we’ve played at the venue, that in no way hurt the overall experience. The truth is The Mystery of Clarence Earl Gideon had the lease effort put into its scenic, by a large margin.

The room was fairly plain and empty – feeling more like just an empty rented office space than a themed environment. Only the most basic of furnishing existed within the space – a few bookshelves, a small table, and not much else.

A venue doesn’t need a massive scenic budget to at least sell the concept of the world I’m to be operating within. Honestly, had you dropped me into this game without identifying its backstory, I could never have told you what the theme was intended to be.


Puzzles are where Code to Escape other two games – Thomas Edison, The Last Invention and The Night Out at the Bad Girl really shined. Unfortunately, The Mystery of Clarence Early Gideon felt like a stark contrast to their intuitive, enjoyable gameplay experience.

This was a bit of a disappoint to us personally, as it was the third game we played, and as such we entered excited to see what they’d do differently to surprise us in this one. We found much of The Mystery… to carry some heavy logic leaps that left us confused – not stumped. A few moments of this game were the kind of times where you’re given a hint, still don’t know what to do, given another hint, still don’t know what to do, then ultimately told the solution and, well, you still don’t know what to do.

We were also impressed by the other games each having some neat, fairly unique piece of tech that we hadn’t seen before, but The Mystery… was fairly basic puzzle room fare.



We visited Code to Escape while they were brand new, and really had no prior expectations of the quality of product we would receive. At the time, there was really nothing about them in the way of existing reviews online.

We were very pleasantly surprised by the overall quality of their product. We found their games in general to be a lot of fun, even in their modest settings. The family run staff was wonderful, and their enthusiasm for their brand was infectious. Everything you see was created in house, right down to the puzzle tech used in some of the games.

Although The Mystery of Clarence Earl Gideon really did not work for us as a game, it’s worth stressing that we truly did enjoy our experiences in Thomas Edison, The Last Invention and The Night Out at the Bad Girl. Though we wouldn’t be likely to recommend this particular game, the other two are most certainly worth checking out.


It should be reiterated that the truth is Code to Escape ended out being the South Florida stand-out. Though far from the most elaborate we’ve seen, their games created an enjoyable experience for us – and at the end of the day, that’s what matters most for an attraction!

Venue Details

Venue:  Code to Escape

Location: Hallandale Beach, Florida

Number of Games: 5


Duration: 60 minutes

Capacity: 5 people

Group Type: Private  / You will not be paired with strangers.

Cost: $99 per group

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