30 Before 30 – My Escape Room Bucket List

It’s my BIRTHDAYYYYYY! *screaming*

Kind of, anyway. It’s in a few days. But I’m one of those people who celebrates “birthday week” and then continues extending that week as long as there’s still cake in the house.

Since I’m now officially a quarter of a century old, let’s talk about escape room goals!

I’m actually very new to the escape room world – I only played my first game in 2018. But with 5 years to go until I turn 30, it’s not a lot of time to pick up the slack. So little time, so many escape rooms around the world I want to play.

So here’s my 30 before 30 bucket list of escape room (and other, such as creative) goals I’d like to hit… Or as I like to call it, a “Let’s keep Mairi accountable” post.

Do you have an escape room bucket list? Please let me know!!

Escape Room Goals!

(With some bonus ‘experiential’ goals which aren’t specifically escape rooms but hey ho who is counting?)

1. Play an escape room in Central Europe

So this one seems so obvious, but in lockdown I’ve had the joy of playing a lot of Central-European escape rooms such as Project Avatar, The Forgotten Station, and many more. All that’s left to do is wait for the UK’s international travel ban to be lifted and book my escape!

2. Play an escape from in North America

Also of course… I’ve gotta make a stop in on all my favourite escape room people and say hello. (I’m looking at you ESCAPETHEROOMers!)

3. Play an escape room on the other side of the world!

*stares at Japan, the home of escape rooms*

4. Bonus: Play an escape room in another language

To be honest, I’m not precious about where I do this one. It could even be a room in London if it fits the bill! This lockdown I’ve been hard at work learning Japanese, so that would be a pretty fun place to play my first non-English room. 手がかりをもらえますか

I could also give French, Spanish, or Arabic a go. So open to suggestions on this one!

5. Come first on an escape room leaderboard! Any leaderboard!

Can you believe I’ve never achieved this? Yes, yes I can believe it and I’m sure you can too! Haha. My closest to 1st place is 7th on an all time leaderboard for District 3 in Canada. Coming 1st place is a right of passage.

6. Achieve a puzzle game speed run record!

I’m talking video game speed runs. I keep attempting Agent A over on my Twitch channel but I get too distracted and start chatting to folks in the audience haha. At some point during the next 5 years will be my time to win *clenched fist*

7. Get over my fear of horror games… And book one *eek*

When I was about 16 I had to be escorted out of the London Dungeons by a security guard crying. It’s safe to say I’m not a horror kinda person, and still get the heebie-jeebies when I book a scary play at home game. I’d love to finally book one before I turn 30. It probably won’t be as scary as I think.

8. Buy a VR headset (to play all those escape room videogames of course!)

WELL I can tick this one off already as, between me writing this bucket list and my birthday weekend arriving, my partner saved up and did the incredible – bought a VR headset for me!

Taking recommendations! Just no horror. I might have a heart attack in VR.

9. Get an escape room tattoo!

I’ve been chatting with one of my good friends Armchair Escapist who suggested a UV tattoo. Wouldn’t it be cool to have something morse code, or another type of cipher tattooed on my skin? Maybe it could be a UV QR code that leads to another puzzle… Then another puzzle… Then another! Woah!

@theescaperoomer

tattoo part 2 – the finished piece 🥰 shout out to the talented Theresa Vendetta at Velvet Underground #tattoo #tattooreveal #watertower #tattooart

♬ Fantasy – Khai Dreams

10. Attend an escape room convention, or conference

I’m actually kinda new to the escape room world and, in my previous employment, everyone else EXCEPT for me got to go to ERIC *shakes fist*. I’d love to go to a real life, physical one. RECON later this year is awesome, but as it’s digital I’m not counting it towards my bucket list.

11. Play the first escape room in the UK

Escape rooms arrived in the UK with company Hint Hunt. Their business has recently been bought out by ClueQuest. Anyway…

12. Play The Crimson Room

This video game from 2004 is widely accepted to be the first escape room video game ever – with it’s low resolution graphics and simple mechanics, the goal is quite simply to escape from a room. This sets it aside from earlier puzzle games such as Myst.

There’s no particular reason I haven’t played it yet – but what better motivation than to put it in my 30 before 30 bucket list?

13. Play the Crystal Maze

Okay so this should be totally achievable! I used to work with an awesome colleague who worked on The Crystal Maze and honestly… The stories! I have such FOMO that I haven’t been able to book and play yet. The catch: it is really, really expensive (about £75 pp), so this might be something I save up for, later on. Anyone wanna come with?

14. Participate in a Zombie Apocalypse live event

So you know how I said I hate horror, the exception is Zombies. I would LOVE a Zombie Apocalypse simulated theatre experience, and they pop up from time to time in London. Only problem is my apocalypse buddy has moved to Scotland, but I’ll have to tempt her back down to London for this.

15. Dine in the Dark!

*accidentally pokes self in the eye with a fork*

16. Introduce ALL my closest friends to the joys of escape rooms!

If you’re reading this, you know who you are! But seriously, when I get to know new friends I often hear them say “wow what’s an escape room?”

Well for the next 5 years I pledge to take every one of my good friends to an escape room and hopefully get them hooked. The world needs more fun in it!

17. Compete in the Red Bull Mind Gamers Escape Rooms World Championship

At the time of writing this competition isn’t running anymore… The last championship was in 2019 in London (near me! Cool!) I hope they bring it back within the next 5 years, but until they do, all I can do is keep on preparing. Watch out champions! I’m coming for you!

Creative Goals!

18. Publish the small digital escape room experience I’m working on

Since about mid-2020 I’ve had an idea for a digital escape room experience and with plenty of experience designing games, I’ve been quietly working on making this a reality. It’ll be called Crow Valley Tales. I just need to… Finish it *nervously sweating*

19. …And also publish the escape game I wrote for a friend in 2020!

Last summer for a friend’s birthday I made her a very silly (and quite fun) online escape room experience. It lasts around 4 hours! With a few tweaks here and there I’d love to make it publicly available to play. It’s called “The Secret Society of Your Birthday” and follows an underground cult that has been tracking you (yes you!) for many years leading up to a big reveal this birthday, but only if you prove your worthy of their prize!

20. See a video game idea I have become a reality

I tried to teach myself Unity but it didn’t go so well *sighs in computer coding*. But what I do have is a notebook packed with paths, dialogue and twists and turns. A puzzle game packed with mystery and intrigue and I’m quite sure nothing quite like it exists on the market! It’s a big goal of mine to convert this into a deck and pitch. Pitch it to who, I’m not sure. I’ve got 5 years to figure that part out.

21. Reach 1,000,000 words written here on my blog!

I’m at about 129,127 so far, so this goal doesn’t feel unreachable in the next 5 years. Perhaps I just need to channel this mindset:

Chat: Can’t
Email: Cannot
3,000 Word Essay: Henceforth I am unable to can.

22. Contribute to a puzzle video game

I have no idea where life will take me next, but in 2021 I’ve had the pleasure of gaining valuable experience at a video game company. It’s introduced me to a whole new world of gaming and I would love to some day be able to work, or freelance for a company that produces games like The Room, The House of Da Vinci, or Other Tales.

23. Create a Dungeons and Dragons campaign (and DM it with friends!)

I’ve always been a player, never the Dungeon Master! Well I’m about to pull my boots up in the next 5 years. I’ve got a short, silly game in the works for my immediate group of friends. We normally just hang out with pubs, so of course this game is going to be pub themed: A band of adventurers go on a search to find a new watering hole after theirs closes down and they some how end up in 21st century London, faced with all kinds of weird beers they don’t recognise.

24. Create some more Murder Mystery games!

Pre-pandemic, writing and hosting murder mystery parties was MY JAM! Unfortunately I haven’t seen my friends in months and ughh, I miss them. I’d like to get back into the flow and write some games again. Bonus points if they run well and other people would like to purchase them! You can buy my earlier games, A Sharpe Distinction and The Last Days of Rome on Etsy.

25. Throw another EPIC Halloween party (in 2021 fingers crossed)

Every year for Halloween I design a “Halloween treasure hunt” which pits my friends split into groups of 4 head to head in various challenges. Last time I did one, back in 2019 (*cries*), each team was a team of TV ghost hunters and they had to fake the best “ghost caught on camera” whilst completing challenges to keep their TV ratings up. There were 6 teams and it was… Hilarious.

After being locked up for so long, 2021 is going to be bigger and better than ever!

26. Keep on making art!

Okay, okay I know! This one is a little vague. But the fact is I LOVE painting. I’ve been trying to set aside a couple of hours every Sunday to make art, for art’s sake! But some days I’m busy, or lazy, or just plain ol’ forget. This Sunday is my actual birthday, and what better day to pick it up again!

Personal Goals

27. Know my worth

Let’s call this one a ‘career’ goal. I’m a serial “oh I’ll take a pay cut for this job” kinda person, and sadly this is a phenomenon over-represented in my gender too. I pledge not to sell myself short in the next 5 years, to shoot for the stars, and above all know my worth. I encourage you, dear reader, to do the same!

28. Love myself more

Yeah, we’re all guilty of this one. Who among us doesn’t look in the mirror and go “bleh” from time to time, or get impostor syndrome over the smallest things. I for one am constantly feeling out of place, even within this wonderful escape room community. I’m not smart enough to be solving puzzles, I don’t write as well as other bloggers, I’m not charismatic enough in online meetups… And so on.

It’s not easy stopping negative thoughts, but if I put it in writing here I’ll… Hopefully… Hold myself more accountable!

29. Drink more water

What the heck Mairi?! As I sit here writing this article I haven’t drunk nearly enough water.

*pauses to fill up my water bottle*

30. Have a great birthday this Sunday!

*tick*

Just For Fun

Whilst writing this blog post, I had a look through all my old bucket lists from the last 5 years since I turned 20. I haven’t achieved everything, but here are some fun ones I have:

  • Travel to the USA (and meet some of my earliest online BFFs!)
  • Start an escape room blog (yay!)
  • Play 100 escape rooms play at home games
  • Design an escape room – professionally!
  • Design a puzzle experience for a wedding proposal (she said yes!)
  • Play Dungeons and Dragons for the first time
  • Design a murder mystery game (then 2, then 3!)

Thanks for Reading!

If you’ve read this far, thank you so much for listening to my rambling, wild escape room ideas. More importantly, thanks for being a reader of my website. This is a huge passion project and every time I see a +1 like or even a +1 unique visitor it makes me so happy to know I’m providing some value to the escape room industry!

Do you have an escape room bucket list? I’d absolutely LOVE to hear your ideas on what you’re working hard to achieve.

As always, my DMs on Instagram and Twitter are always open for escape room chat, sending silly memes back and forth, or if I can help you achieve your bucket list items that’d be awesome too!

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