Escape rooms are a craze in Singapore where player immerse themselves and figure out the fastest or the best way to get out a locked room using the clues in the room. There are many themes available too, ranging from haunted rooms to Harry Potter rooms to give that added oomph. What, then, inspires Bearscape to produce a tabletop version of a locked room mystery? Let's find out more below.
Q: Please give the readers a short introduction about yourself and your organization. What is your role? What is your organization about? What is your “origin” story?
I am Jonathan Ye, one of the game designers for our escape game in a box, Bearscape. I am also the founder of Lockdown Escape, a pioneer of escape games in Singapore since 2013. Our organization takes fun seriously, and strives to create entertainment that tickles the mind. In fact, we have escape games played by hundreds of thousands of players in all the major Singapore attractions, and even have our own Virtual Reality escape games in over 50 VR arcades around the world.
Q: What inspires you to make the game Bearscape? What is your creation process like?
We had a lot of experience creating escape games in a room or a large area, but we wanted to have an escape game that can be easily set up in any place for a small group to enjoy an entertaining game together. We thought of showcasing how entertainment can be educational as well, so we approach the schools that we have been working with ask them if there are any theoretical concepts that they want the students to be able to apply in a real world setting. This is how the first educational escape game in a box came about!
Q: Your company runs a Escape Room experience. How do you incorporate a full scale escape room experience into a tabletop game?
A full scale escape room gives the players the physical experience of movement, allowing the players to touch and see the environment and special effects. We try our best to incorporate the experience by tapping on the imagination of the players through storytelling, and also have hands on puzzles that require them to physically interact with.
Q: Escape rooms usually make use of a lot of locks. However, your product doesn’t come with locks. How do you overcome this limitation in the game?
We came up with a design that mimics the unlocking stages of an escape room, by segregating our puzzles into multiple small boxes. With each box that the players unlock, new clues will emerge along with the developing storyline. These boxes can even be locked up, so that the players will physically be able to solve and unlock the padlocks in order to progress.
Q: What was the biggest challenge you faced during the creation or manufacturing process?
It is very difficult to explain the concept of our board game, especially since the dimensions and cuttings of the boxes will have to be precise in order to fit everything nicely together. We had to produce prototypes and physically travel to Taiwan to monitor the manufacturing process.
Q: What are you most satisfied about the game? What are the things you feel can be improved on?
We are very satisfied that the game is equally entertaining and challenging for adults, as well as being able to educate the students on the things they learnt in school. We would very much hope to be able to include in the physical padlocks within the game itself, but the challenge is that it becomes too pricey for our customers as we are not producing enough copies to enjoy the economy of scale.
Q: Do you have any plans for future games?
Yes we do have plans for a second escape game in a box, but we are currently busy developing our third and fourth Virtual Reality Escape Game so it might take some time.
Q: Do you have any tips for aspiring designers who want to gamify real life concepts?
Many a time people tried to work on something that they imagined others will desire. I will suggest that they find some games that they enjoy a lot, and figure out what made it enjoyable for them. At least if things do not work out, they will still have a product that they will enjoy themselves.
Q: What are your favorite games or examples of games that you think are underrated?
My favorite games are MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) games, such as DOTA or Mobile Legends. They allow me to express my individual skills, while also focusing on teamwork. This is actually quite similar to escape games!
Q: Where can the game be found?
It can be found on Amazon or walk in to either of our Orchard Gateway / Harbourfront outlet to get a copy!