Skip to main content

The Journal Gazette

Thursday, March 08, 2018 1:00 am

Local escape rooms hot spot for couples

COREY MCMAKEN | The Journal Gazette

Kristi Drillien, director of operations at Room to Escape, says the local escape room sees people come in on what appear to be first or second dates, which gives the couple an opportunity to see what the other person is like under pressure.

“They seem a little awkward with each other,” she says. “You have to get past that in an escape room if you want to get very far, so I think it's a pretty good ice breaker.”

Participants gather to take photos after their escapes (or failures to escape), and Drillien says couples on an early date are often willing to stand closer to each other following their hour adventure at Room to Escape, 3734 Allen Ave.

Jennifer Rao says many couples come to Fort Wayne Chamber Escape Rooms, 3225 St. Joe Center Road, which she owns with her fiancÚ. One woman comes back often because she sees it as a great way to test her dates.

Rao believes visiting an escape room makes for a fun night that is something a little different than the usual date night. Instead of sitting in a movie theater or trying to talk over a band at a bar, couples must work together and communicate.

Though most escape rooms can be completed with two people, they are often created for a group of half a dozen or more with each spot being sold separately. Buying out an entire room can be an expensive proposition with most tickets costing more than $20. But if a couple doesn't buy all the tickets for themselves, they might end up playing alongside strangers.

If they are one-on-one in the room, the couple can focus on one another and how each person reacts to the challenges. Drillien says there could be benefits to playing with a group of strangers, too.

“If you go in with other people, sometimes you get a chance to see how someone is in a group dynamic, and that can make a difference,” she says.

Though Rao can suggest times that a couple might end up alone in a room because it looks like the other tickets won't be purchased, she can't always guarantee that. Sometimes it works out for the best. One couple raised a stink that they weren't going to be alone, but after the challenge, they went out for drinks with the other four people from the room because they had had so much fun together, she says.

But some couples just really want that alone time. Rao has had a couple that ended up sitting on the couch in their escape room together for almost the entire hour talking and “perhaps other things.” Just a warning for couples wanting to maybe get to know each other even better: There are cameras in the rooms.

Most facilities have multiple games with different levels of difficulty, and Rao suggests an easier room for first-time players. But if each person is already familiar with escape rooms, she says the most challenging game could be a better fit – especially if you want to see how the other person handles stressful situations.

Do they communicate? Do they get angry? Do they totally take over and not let the other person participate?

“There are couples where someone stands and watches the other person do everything, and they're absolutely happy like that,” Rao says. “There are other couples where they struggle the whole time to see who's in charge.”

Drillien says she would be willing to put her relationship to the test inside an escape room.

“I would love to see how the person I'm thinking about dating handles themselves in an escape room, and how they handle – for example – if I get a little bossy!” she says.