I opened my first escape room in March of 2016. It was a temporary room (the term pop-up) hadn’t been established yet. It was inside of an old Lenscrafters inside Valley View Mall. The mall was dying a slow death and they had converted most of the stores into art galleries. I thought this would be a great opportunity to test out my concept, my puzzle making ability and I learned soooooo much.
Rarely a day went by that I didn’t hear a customer tell me “is finding you part of the game?” I never even made it on to the Mall Directory list and at the time I started there were only 14 rooms in all of Dallas! That room was pre-Gen 1. I remember getting a keypad/maglock for my phone booth and thought I had really arrived LOL.
There are days that I miss the simplicity of that room, being my only employee, and having really, really cheap rent. But after a year I had accomplished what I set out to do — raise the capital to move into a new space….with multiple rooms…. and fun tech….. and a fabulous location.
It took a year to open — so between city challenges, bad contractors and self-doubt, there were now 70+ rooms in Dallas and I still stress about the rapid evolution of set design and high tech props. But there is one thing that keeps me going. The same thing that got me to start — I make good puzzles and can turn that into logical and fun puzzle paths.
Every day, that is what drives me. I want people to enjoy my rooms. I edit, tweak, and incorporate feedback because I love seeing happy people when they play.
So as I head out to Home Depot to buy more molly bolts to re-secure something to a wall that I needed a little fixing – I wanted to share my thoughts and memories of my old room.
The photo is from the last group to ever play that Superhero room. And yes, they escaped in time.