RATING: 5 Keys RESULT: Win REMAINING: Not timed
Pale Night Productions made history in 2015 as the very first escape rooms to ever operate on the IAAPA trade show floor.
For the uninitiated, IAAPA stands for International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions. Basically, it’s a giant four day theme park convention that literally takes over Orlando each November.
It’s essentially the mecca for theme park fans, designers and owners. Literally every aspect of the industry is represented, from theming companies, to roller coaster designers, to popcorn vendors, to carnival games, to water slides, to ticketing media – I could go on. The event has literally miles of aisles of industry vendors from literally every aspect of the business you could imagine.
Except for one.
Escape Rooms remained perhaps the one aspect of the Entertainment Industry absent from the party. That is, until 2015.
Enter: Pale Night Productions.
An established haunt design brand headquartered in St. Louis, MO, Pale Night Productions is no stranger to IAAPA. In 2015, however, they changed the game by not just showcasing their haunting skills, but also putting the newest offering of their company front and center on display to the world: Escape Games.
It should come as no surprise that a company that made a name for themselves with detail-oriented haunt sets would equally raise the bar for their Escape Games. Three mini-games were available on the show floor, and the honest truth is more effort was put into the scenic for each one intended to run for just four days than you’d find in an average permanent venue elsewhere in Orlando.
Escape the Bank Heist is set in a bank manager’s office, and centers around finding your way into a hidden wall safe to get out with the cash.
Escape the Shadow Killer is your standard gorey serial killer fare, complete with literal blood and guts in a dark, dank boiler room setting.
Escape the Cursed Temple is perhaps the most scenically ambitious, set in an ancient Aztec temple overrun with moss and mold.
Each step across all three games was entirely intuitive – an important comment for a company branching into this genre.
Surprisingly for convention mini-games, these even had some decent tech that we’d not commonly seen elsewhere, including a fun laser reflection puzzle in the Cursed Temple.
Each game was obviously short by intentional design; after all tens of thousand of people attend IAAPA daily, so key to success is to be able to host as many visitors as possible in each scenario.
The games were not timed, but each lasted somewhere in the neighborhood of five minutes – at least for our experienced group. It was just enough for a perfect taste of what Pale Night Productions has to offer our industry.
Although Escape Games are still somewhat of a newer concept to the United States, as you no doubt already know they’ve been a world-wide sensation for several years prior. What’s interesting is that although IAAPA’s main Attractions Expo does occur here in the US, it is truly an international event. Vendors travel from all corners of the globe to showcase their products.
As such it’s surprising that it took all the way until 2015 to have the first true escape games on the show floor. IAAPA would have been the perfect place to expose new clients to this new genre years ago – so it’s mind-boggling to think how long they went without representation.
The lengthy wait was worth it – as Pale Night Productions most certainly delivered in the debut year of their new product offering. These games were fun, story driven, intuitive and incredibly well detailed. It’s exciting to envision a full scale permanent installation.
As IAAPA 2016 quickly draws near, we’re very excited to hopefully see an even bigger presence at this year’s show. Escape Authority will be on hand to bring coverage straight to you!
Venue: Pale Night Productions
Location: Orlando, Florida
Number of Games: 3
GAME SPECIFIC INFORMATION:
Group Type: Private / You will not be paired with strangers.
Cost: Free playtesting for all IAAPA attendees