According to the EscapeXperience website, Escape Games are timed adventures whereby a group of a between 2 and12 players are locked in a room and have to use elements found in the room to solve a series of clues and escape within the time given.
By Khalifa Said
There might be a couple of criteria that determines a perfect gaming experience but its appeal to a wide audience in terms of age, gender, mental and physical capacities could be important to the acceptability of the particular game.
Mohammed Raza, 22, founded Escape Game – which dwells on the idea of locking a team of players in a room and forcing them to use their mental capabilities to solve puzzles, decipher clues and escape from the room.
He is of opinion that apart from its broad audience focus, the game offers a sense of perfection as it allows players to gain valuable lessons or insights from their gaming interaction.
“It should have a clear goal, self-explanatory and provide a level of interaction with other players,” he says.
Raza, who graduated from Brunel University, London in 2015 with a degree in Business Management, says that after gaining experience at Jumia and Reliance Insurance, he was looking for something new to pursue and the idea of Escape Game popped up.
Raza narrates that going through an early-life crisis and unsure of what to do career wise was the key inspiration towards gaming experience as he was against the idea of working behind a desk or business that someone else could copy.
“I was looking for something that could be truly unique and the opportunity fell in my lap,” he says.
This concept allowed Raza to provide a service that was new in the market and it was something he could enjoy pursuing.
Raza says it dwells on the idea of locking a team of players in a room and forcing them to use their mental capabilities to solve puzzles, decipher clues and escape the room.
“It is an interesting mix of teamwork, communication, logical thinking and lots of arguing to achieve the final goal,” says Raza.
“It sounds weird when one hears about it for the first time, but the concept has grown exponentially in the last 5 years,” he explains.
To Raza, work experience of any kind is valuable saying that his idea of coming up with the game was a result of what he learned previously where he used to work.
He recalls how his father used to make him work during his final year in high school while considering the work chore unknowingly that it was building him a foundation to come up with an idea which would later come and shape his career.
Raza also says the internet played a part as it allows anyone with access to get all the information at our fingertips.
“You can learn anything and everything by looking online. Accounting procedures, marketing strategies, coding, online shopping and Escape Game Owner Groups are just a few of the things I searched for.”
The game differs slightly with other gaming though it can be played by people of all ages. The only difference, Raza notes, is younger people require a couple more hints than adults.
“The activity requires players to think outside the box in the context of their environment in order to achieve the set goal,” he says adding, “This means looking at colours, numbers, and details and patterns to figure out the challenges. The beauty of this game comes from seeing how your teammates perform under stress and frustration, as well as their interactions with each other within the game.”
Teams participating could come from a wide range of people.
These, according to Raza, include couples, friends, families or even corporate groups. To successfully complete games, teams must have players with various skills like pattern recognition, communication, logic, hand-eye coordination and much more and as such appeals to a wide variety of people.
Raza was able to come up with numerous lessons which he was able to learn along the way of coming up with his gaming idea.
He advises people to, “Consult with professionals in that industry, have a proper plan for marketing the product, thoroughly research , keep your accounts in order, and finally, ask your employees to work with you, not for you,” he says adding, “these lessons stem directly from errors I have made during this process. We also make mistakes but learn from them.”
Raza states that finance and guidance are two more important barriers between an idea and its execution. He, however, opines that nowadays there are people who are willing to break those barriers if provided with the service that they need or can’t reproduce. “Nevertheless one should find an idea that is both a need in the area of operations and have a unique selling point.”
The challenges that Raza says occur many times are; the unfamiliarity of the gaming among the city residents as to most of the fans of gaming plus it is a new concept and people don’t have much information about it.
“However I keep in mind that the concept is entirely new in Dar-es-Salaam, and we would have to educate our market. I also remember bringing officials from the municipality to play an Escape Game because they simply didn’t understand why anyone would want to be locked in a room and have to do puzzles to come out,” he says.
Raza thinks that for the country’s youths to be able to utilize their potential to the maximum, they need to bring at least two things on board.
“First, we need to learn from the mistakes we make as we will make errors in judgement throughout our life but as long as we learn from the mistakes, we can eventually win them over.”
He adds that two is to be passionate by giving their ideas or business 100 per cent all the time. Raza thinks, “Successful people did not get where they are by only working between 9-5.”
Raza is looking forward to providing corporate companies with exciting, unique and educational team building sessions as he thinks there is a market for profiling senior executives according to their behavior inside the games.
“One could determine their strengths and weaknesses as well as their interpersonal skills with other co-workers through observation,” he advises.
Additional reporting by Tasneem Hassanali