Mr. X Puzzle House!

This ominous building in Shanghai is where I spent an hour freaking out last week. It’s what I can only think to call a ‘puzzle house’. It consists of a bar and 5 rooms, the heads and tails of it is you are locked in one of the rooms with your friends and have 1 hour to work out how to get out!

It is a fully immersive brain teaser, devoid of context or explanation. The rooms have ominous names such as ‘Prison Break’ and ‘The Final Judgment’. Each room generally has a secret passage to another, smaller opening or corridor, all as part of the fun and all behind some sort of key or code, or both!

I was absolutely buzzing for the whole hour, completely focused and my brain was stringing all the wires it could together. I was so buzzing in fact, that it didn’t give up for a good 4 hours after, I couldn’t sleep until well into the early hours.

We started as a 10 person team, and upon entering our ‘Prison Break’ we were shown into two cells, next to each other. The doors were locked, the lights went out. The moment this happened my hands started shaking. Outside the bars of the cell you can see the clock on the wall counting down the time. We found a flashlight and the whole thing was REAL. So real.

After about 10 minutes of frantically scrambling around the room and finding some weird objects, colours and that the shelf gave way to a locked air vent, we started shouting to the other team. After 15 minutes it dawned on us that WE had all THEIR tools and clues, and THEY had all OUR keys and tools…

After 20 minutes both my shoelaces were off!

We didn’t make it out unaided in the end. The last minute both teams were staring at a locked door and we could clearly hear each other through it, we had the code on our side for their numbers to open the door… after brief elation as we met in the air vent and hugged our sweaty, stressed friends, the alarm went off and we were dragged back to reality. Another locked door had awaited us, but we had run out of time.

It was so interesting to see how everyone responded to the stress and to working in a team. My mind drifted off to the Stanford Prison Experiment, where Prisoners and Guards were randomly selected from university students and a psychological study was done on the way they responded. You reckon you know yourself and your friends? What role would you take on – dominant or submissive?

Anyway, an amazing find in Shanghai and one of the best things I’ve done in a long time. As an avid fan of Sherlock Holmes, I will definitely be going back!

For those that want to share the love: Bldg 1, 550 Jumen Lu, near Quxi Lu; (+86) 3304 1233

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