April 24, 2015

Field Trip: Time Run London

As part of the Unity Field Trip programme, this week some of the team were fortunate enough to put their wits to the test visiting London’s Time Run.

Twenty years after Crystal Maze left our TV screens, it’s these locked room, Fort Boyard-style, live escape games, which are proving puzzlingly popular.

Popping up across the globe, these attractions tend to the basic human need for teamwork and crisis resolution – a grand puzzle spelling out teambuilding whichever way you spin it.

Often video games take their lead from cultural phenomenon, but now, thanks to several enterprising ventures the ‘escape the room’ game genre has been realised real-world.

Desperate to try our hand in this quick-thinking, problem-solving environment, Unity jumped at the opportunity to pitch a crack team against the challenge – Paul, Unity’s worldly Culture Editor, Ani, our maths whizz and Financial Controller, and Matt, the self-claimed muscle of the operation.

Below the railway arches of London Fields and behind its intimidating sliding sandtimer door hides Time Run, the latest of these immersive experiences.

Greeted by time-travel pioneer Luna Fox’s assistant, we were handed vital accessories for our journey through the maze. Faced with this challenge our failure to read the briefing documents really hit home (tip for any would-be time travellers – make sure to find time for the suggested reading).

Babbage, our robot companion, at times despaired at our incompetence, yet somehow helped us make it through three rooms. With the much-fabled Lance of Longinus within touching distance, we only narrowly missed out on completing the Time Run challenge.

Despite obvious failure, we took solace in the organiser’s congratulations and his demands to disrobe – the only ever contestants to unwittingly assume that the prop lab coats were intended to be worn for the duration of the escape. Not bad going.

Words – Matt Wright