Smithers home to its first escape room

Roadhouse basement transformed into giant ancient Egyptian puzzle, fundraising for student NYC trip.

Smithers is now home to the only escape room northwest of Prince George.

The mystery game in which people need to solve a series of puzzles and riddles in order to get out of the room is located in the basement of the Roadhouse restaurant.

The physical adventure game is also a fundraiser for Smithers Secondary School. There is a group of students going to New York in the new year. The students going on the trip help out operating the escape room and helped put it together.

Parent of a high school student, Mark DeHoog designed it.

“We were on a soccer trip with the kids and a teacher and we did an escape room, and we thought this would be a great idea for a fundraiser,” he said.

“So I started putting some plans together for a variety of different options for an escape room, so I guess that word got out and the owners of the Roadhouse approached me. So we really started working on the construction in September and finished two weeks ago. The puzzles and pieces I started working on this summer. It is a fairly comprehensive process.”

He added there are a number of challenges in designing an escape room.

“Number one challenge is that it needs to be possible. The puzzles have to be not too far out there. Logical, so that when people solve them they think ‘why didn’t I think of that,’ but hard enough so they don’t just solve them right away,” he said.

“The challenges are also getting different levels of thinking applied through the course of the escape room so that you can’t just come in with the same group of thinking people and think you’ll succeed. You have to apply spacial thinking, you have to apply math, you have to figure out riddles. The challenge is finding enough of those to keep people engaged but not so hard its discouraging.”

The restaurant basement has been transformed into an ancient pyramid with three separate rooms that teams of six must figure out how to go through before a magical door opens into the next room.

“We wanted to give a bit of wow factor to it and something that felt magical. I think we’ve captured that,” said DeHoog. “You enter into a sort of Indiana Jones style journey.”

Players must discover the inner tomb, identify the Pharaoh’s names, and escape within 50 minutes. So far 18 groups of already done it but so far only one has actually made it through. That group finished it in 49 minutes and 31 seconds.

The escape room will run until the end of December. It costs $20 per person and DeHoog encourages people to form groups of six to try and get through it.

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