Some Thoughts On Reykjavík Escape

Some Thoughts On Reykjavík Escape

Interns at the Reykjavík Grapevine are encouraged to go on short trips or to events and then write about them. They go on spelunking and whale watching trips, and to all sorts of concerts and festivals. I, however, would rather be at home with a cup of tea at an embarrassingly early hour for my age than be out and about, so I don’t usually take advantage of these offers the way I should.

Stefanie Mnich‘s thoughts
I am locked in a room. I have one hour to escape. The room is full of riddles that don’t make sense to me. Luckily I am not alone. The Force… no—my fellow interns are with me. Together we try to solve the riddles. We open locks, we crack passwords, we hack into a laptop and find mysterious (though not magical) mushrooms, and an enigmatic suitcase—but no way out. Instead time runs out. We were so close. We didn’t stand a chance, but it was a lot of fun.

A few months ago an email was sent out asking if anyone was interested in covering a new venue that had just opened on Borgartún. After reading the message, I jumped at the chance.

Reykjavik Escape is a live interactive escape game where you will be locked inside a room buried with brain teasers, riddles and mysteries with only 60 minutes to escape. You must solve all riddles and puzzles to get out in time, with the final riddle showing the key for the locked door for your escape. You need only your problem solving skills and good team work to do the job.

Victor Marquardt‘s thoughts
This is a different kind of game; a bit scary as well as perverse (it involves four people who want be locked in a room voluntarily). I’ll admit, it sounded really weird to me, but I didn’t want to be a party pooper. So I joined in on getting the chance to feel like we were in a SAW movie, and that’s how it felt. The music was scary, and the riddles were hard to solve. I was very happy that I was not alone in this room for 60 minutes. Without Anna and York taking over the leadership, we probably wouldn’t have been able to solve even one riddle. At times, I had a really hard time understanding the problems we had to solve, but at other times I could participate fully, which made me feel quite proud. All in all it was a very funny experience—just a different kind of game than I’d usually play.

In recent years ‘Escapes’ have been set up in New York, Berlin, Oslo, Edmonton, and many other cities. They are based off those point-and-click Escape flash games where the player must search a locked room for clues that can be used to get out. When we arrived we were told that we had one hour to escape the room using clues in the room. We were given a phone to ask for hints if we got stuck and an emergency key in case we needed to leave. After that the room was locked and it was up to us to get out.

Surprisingly, even though the idea based off a single-player puzzle game, it makes for a fantastic team-building exercise. Yes, team-building.

Cue dramatic sighs and eye-rolling…

I despise trust-falls and playing ‘two truths and a lie’ as much as the next introvert, but this was different. There is a very popular genre of ‘tween’ movies where a rag-tag group is thrown together and must survive some sort of dire situation.

York Underwood‘s thoughts
Four interns enter; four interns leave. A more equatable, and less terrifying, version of Thunderdome. We had one hour like an episode of 24. We were pharmaceutical espionage specialists, dealt the overwhelming task of stealing a cure for cancer that had been synthesised from the Deoxyribonucleic Acid of mushrooms (known colloquially as DNA).
Millions of lives lost, billions of follicles float gently to the floor, because we couldn’t solve a series of puzzles while locked in a room. Also, our employers will be less rich, which I’ve read is bad.
Less rich = Less happy.
It’s difficult to describe the pain this level of failure causes me. I’ve failed classes before. I’ve failed sexually. I’ve even failed to piss into a urinal, but this is by far worse.
I do feel closer to my fellow interns now. We are persona non grata. The world’s pariahs with no one left to love us, but each other. What an excellent team building exercise.
Definitely worth it.

These films are as a rule terrible, but without fail they give you a warm, fuzzy feeling three-quarters through the movie when the characters overcome their differences and unite against whatever big bad they’re up against. It turns out, this is actually a pretty good model for team-building. Being locked in the room gave us a common goal, and a team dynamic flowed from there naturally.

Also, it was really, really fun.

Recommended for ages 8 and up

The escape rooms are set up for groups of 3-5. Here are a couple excuses to go:

  • Office parties
  • Birthday parties
  • Stag nights/Hen dos
  • Class trips
  • Conference social events

Reykjavik Escape is located at Borgartún 6. Contact them at or (+354) 869-2840 for more details

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