GONE IN 60 MIN­UTES

Qatar Today - - AFFAIRS > DOHA DIARY - By Ayswarya Murthy

It be­gan like any reg­u­lar night-out with friends. Un­til we were all hand­cuffed and locked =inside a dimly-lit, non­de­script room.

In a city like Doha, where one is starved for dis­trac­tions, it is a won­der how Ad­ven­ture Rooms es­caped our no­tice for as long as it did. This unique phys­i­cal ad­ven­ture game/men­tal ob­sta­cle course has be­come in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar in the West and was in­tro­duced to Qatar to­wards the end of last year. And go­ing by their book­ing avail­abil­ity, it has sparked the imag­i­na­tion of Doha's res­i­dents and that too through word of mouth alone. It is al­most im­pos­si­ble to get a time slot on short no­tice un­less you are pre­pared to wake up very early on a week­end morn­ing and try to solve the puzzles bleary-eyed and still half asleep.

We no­ticed a Face­book post on our time­line around late morn­ing on a Thurs­day and by the evening had booked our­selves the only rea­son­able time slot avail­able – at 10.30 pm on Satur­day. By the time we fin­ished the game and ex­ited the ap­par­ently de­serted apart­ment com­plex (of course it wasn't) at around mid­night, the eerie quiet of the night seemed to com­ple­ment our re­cent ex­pe­ri­ence and was strangely fit­ting.

For ob­vi­ous rea­sons, we won't go into too much de­tail about what went on inside. But rest as­sured, there are no hor­ror el­e­ments and it's fun for every­one aged be­tween 9 and 99. The game al­lows for 2-6 play­ers in each of the two rooms and the more play­ers there are, the less ex­pen­sive it is (QR300 each for two play­ers and QR100 each for six play­ers). These two rooms, or lev­els, need to be cho­sen at the time of book­ing – Crazy Sci­en­tist (medium dif­fi­culty) and Black Queen (hard dif­fi­culty). We rather am­bi­tiously chose the lat­ter and were given 15 min­utes to fa­mil­iarise our­selves told that we were only one puz­zle away from get­ting the fi­nal key to our es­cape. It as­suaged our bro­ken egos a lit­tle bit.

It was def­i­nitely a cou­ple of hours well spent and not too heavy on the pocket if you rope in enough of your friends. Ad­ven­ture Rooms is also gain­ing pop­u­lar­ity among cor­po­rates for whom it serves as a fun, team-build­ing ex­er­cise. It is small won­der that es­cape rooms like these are such a pop­u­lar en­ter­tain­ment op­tion; they of­fer de­li­cious es­capism to the jaded and pro­vide a rare bond­ing op­por­tu­nity re­moved from our dig­i­tal screens

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