Monday, 28 August 2017

Escape Game Soundtracks: The Coded Music of Tool, Radiohead, and Messiaen

music score with headphones

Although musicians are better associated with black leather and bad life choices than with math and cryptography, there’s a long history of musical types playing with coded messages.

Really, it shouldn’t be surprising: What is a musical score but mathematics and symbology?

Below we list three famous instances that show musicians are just as into cryptography as we are here at Krakit Vancouver Escape Game.

1. The song “Lateralus” by the band Tool

Although those of us who just jam along to the beat may not realize it, musically impressive metal songs are impressive precisely because they use complicated time signatures, which is basically complicated math. The more intricate the time signature, the more talented the musician.

It’s no surprise then that the highly capable musicians of Tool upped the game by composing the song “Lateralus” using the Fibonacci sequence. Like the Fibonacci sequence, “Lateralus” lyrics “spiral out,” and the song uses the time signatures 9/8, 9/8, and 7/8 to refer to 987, the sixteenth integer of the sequence.


2. Radiohead’s coded messages

The albums and songs of Radiohead—often called a “cerebral” band—are more than what they seem. The band leaves “Easter eggs” in all of their albums, but perhaps most interesting of all is In Rainbows from 2007. It includes multiple references to the numbers 01 and 10, which you may recognize as the digits that make up binary sequencing.

There’s plenty of theories that spin out from these 01/10 references, but perhaps most significant is that In Rainbows came out exactly 10 years after OK Computer. Believe or not, the tracks of In Rainbows and OK Computer combine together create an entirely new mega-album. You can find out more about the mega-tracklist on Diffuser <link: http://diffuser.fm/radiohead-01-and-10/>


3. Olivier Messiaen’s musical cipher

Decades before Tool and Radiohead were building codes into their rock albums, the 20th-century French composer Olivier Messiaen was putting cryptography to classical music in a very real way. Messiaen’s Méditations sur le mystère de la Sainte Trinité, a 1969 composition for organ, is actual a musical cipher, with its pitches and note lengths making up the code.


Jump into the codes and ciphers on offer at Krakit Vancouver Escape Game by booking a round in any of our four themed escape roomshttp://bookeo.com/krakit

Monday, 21 August 2017

Can You Solve These 5 Puzzle Films before the End?

Usual Suspects gif
Who is Keyser Söze?
At Krakit Escape Game, we are big fans of a movie that gets our brain gears spinning. What escape room addict isn’t?

It’s true that there are some “twist-ending” films out there that the audience has no chance of solving before the twist is revealed. However, the really good twist endings are good precisely because you can solve them—if you’ve been paying enough attention.

These films are more like puzzles than narratives that drag you from plot point to plot point. They challenge you to look closer, pay attention, and put together the clues before the end credits roll.

When a good twist ending is revealed and you haven’t already figured it out, you’re left feeling silly, because you realize the answer was under your nose the whole time. (We’re looking at you, every Harry Potter book!)

If you’re clever enough, you might have figured out the endings to these five puzzle-like films before the solution was revealed. If you haven’t seen them, well, it’s time to test your mettle.

1. Memento (2000)

It’s very easy to settle in for the ride and let Christopher Nolan’s breakthrough film bend your mind. But it’s a lot more fun if you try to solve the film’s central mystery along with memory-impaired protagonist Leonard. You won’t be able to (trust us), but even going back and trying to figure it all out is satisfying.

Film reviewer Taylor Holmes explains Memento best: “Riddles wrapped in riddles—mazes set inside mazes.”

2. The Prestige (2006)

“Of course!” you will yell at the screen. “Of course! How could I not see that?”

3. The Sixth Sense (1999)

It’s hard to believe there are people out there who haven’t seen M. Night Shyamalan’s masterpiece. That is, until you realize it was released 18 years ago, which means there are thousands of high schoolers who need to get cracking on the many puzzle pieces this film offers.

And no, it’s not the fact that the kid sees dead people.

4. Source Code (2011)

Like Memento, Source Code has us trying to solve a mystery alongside the main character. A soldier is tasked with figuring out who bombed a train by going over the event again and again through a virtual reality program. With each successive trip on the train, the puzzle becomes clearer.

5. The Usual Suspects (1995)

We still aren’t entirely sure who Keyser Söze is. Ah, well, we never claimed to be geniuses.

Test out your puzzle-solving skills in one of Krakit Vancouver Escape Game's four themed rooms: http://bookeo.com/krakit

Monday, 14 August 2017

3 Essential Skills to Win Your Escape Game

Photo: Mar Newhall
It really does take all sorts of people to successfully solve an escape room. Everyone has different strengths and different ways of looking at things. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some essential skills that every escape game player can benefit from.

Power up these essential skills and you’ll become the fiercest escape gamer your group has ever seen. You might even leave us Krakit Escape Game staff quaking in our boots!

1. Observation

There’s a good reason we’re so obsessed with all things Sherlock, and that’s because there’s no one better at this essential escape game skill. Observing requires seeing what’s really in front of you, not what you expect to see in front of you.

Training yourself to analytically see details rather than the bigger picture takes some time and concentration to perfect. Here’s a guide from Lifehacker to get you started.

2. Pattern recognition

The next essential escape game is pattern recognition: being able to take everything you’ve observed and see how it all fits together. This requires stepping out of an analytical mind frame and into a more inventive one—shifting brain gears, if you will.

Get started on building your pattern recognition skills with this handy guide from Predictable Success.

3. Problem solving

Now comes the skill where you put it all together: problem solving. This is the only skill that will lead to you cracking each puzzle and ultimately the entire escape room.

Problem solving is definitely the most creative of these three essential escape game skills, often requiring novel thinking. However, while intuition and creativity are an important facet of problem solving, those “aha moments” aren’t going to happen without all the analytical and logical thinking that came before.

Start with Business Insider’s “5 Steps to Becoming an Expert Problem Solver” to level up your skills.

Put your essential escape game skills to the test in one of Krakit’s four themed escape rooms. Book here: http://bookeo.com/krakit.

Monday, 7 August 2017

The Most Daring Escape of All? The “Faked Deaths” of Celebrities

Philippe de Champaigne, Still Life with a Skull, 1671
Whether it’s to escape the law, rabid fans, or tax problems, faking your own death—or pseudocide—is a sure way to put people off the case.

Or is it?

For the five famous people below, the finality of death hasn’t been quite so final, with people continuing to question whether these people are actually alive or actually dead.

Kenneth Lay

The name “Enron” is now synonymous with corrupt businessmen who get rich by scamming the everyman. Kenneth Lay was a major player in the Enron scandal, which has led people to think that his death just three months before his sentencing hearing was too convenient to be believable.

Because of Lay’s great position of power, conspiracy theorists say he escaped the US with the help of his equally powerful friends and is now living somewhere in Mexico.

Elvis Presley

It’s been 40 years since Elvis died, and yet the sightings of the super famous singer continue to this day. When you’re as famous as Elvis, it can all become too much, so the only way to escape it is to make your fans—and the entire world—think you’re dead. It all adds up, right?

Where does the now-anonymous Elvis live these days? Bermuda, of course.

2Pac

Another incredibly famous musician who is said to have faked his own death to escape his fame is Tupac Shakur. The reason fans are so sure he’s still alive is because of the rapper’s adopted stage name of Makaveli near the end of his career. The philosopher Niccolò Machiavelli, as it turns out, suggested that people should fake their own deaths in order to manipulate their enemies.

Paul McCartney

In the exact opposite scenario of Elvis and 2Pac, there’s a conspiracy theory that Paul McCartney—who we see walking and talking and performing with Kanye at the Grammys—is actually dead. The theory goes that Paul died in 1966 in a car accident and was replaced with a lookalike so as not to upset the wave of Beatlemania that had overtaken the world. As long as the fans are happy, right?

Ken Kesey

Here is one legitimate faked death that can be proven beyond doubt. Why? Because writer and famous psychedelic flower child Ken Kesey was actually put in jail for his shenanigans.

When he was arrested for possession of marijuana, Kesey decided faking a suicide was the best way to deal with the charges. His abandoned car was left on the side of the road along with a suicide note, while Kesey hightailed it to Mexico. When he returned home to the US a few months later, he was sentenced to six months in jail.

While there aren’t any opportunities to fake your own death at Krakit Vancouver Escape Game, you can try more realistic measures of escape in any of our four themed escape rooms. Book here: http://bookeo.com/krakit.


Monday, 31 July 2017

Game Theory vs. Decision Theory

Iain Banks’s 1988’s novel The Player of Games is all about gaming and game theory. The main character Jernau Morat Gurgeh finds himself in an intergalactic gaming competition versus some of the universe’s most elite gamers. Banks uses some of the novel’s unique game platforms as a reflection of social conditions.

The game-based society Empire of Azad had created a labyrinth as a prison for convicted criminals. The basis of the labyrinth was moral insofar as each criminal could be free within a couple of weeks by successfully passing certain virtue-based scenarios; or, upon failure, would be damned to fall deeper into the labyrinth. If the offender were to fail these moralithms continuously, they would eventually be deported to a penal colony. How fair: the most epic escape game where freedom is a prize for the condemned.

In a more advanced society, could a realistic decision theory-based simulation bypass legalities and assess someone’s moral compass? Yes and no. The catch-22 in The Player of Games ‘legal labyrinth’ is that it could only assess its participant’s morality if the scenario isn’t exactly the same as the one in which they were convicted and/or the perpetrator has prior knowledge of their conviction within the moral scenario. Otherwise, Azadians are only testing for systematic manipulation.

Escape games like Krakit use gaming cryptarithmic scenarios to outline parallels to real life conundrums. It doesn’t mean that you are a bad person if you can’t pass a Krakit escape game, but it may mean you need to practice puzzling in order to develop keener lateral styles of thinking.

In Burnaby’s escape room, you might develop mental tools for taking care of business you never knew you were capable of using—and, you can have a ton of fun. Nothing sucks about that!

Monday, 24 July 2017

Mystery, Puzzles, Trivia, Oh My! 4 Podcasts for Escape Game Fans

Serial podcast
Photo: Casey Fiesler (CC BY 2.0)

It’s no secret that if you’re a fan of escape games, you have wide and varied tastes. How else are you going to learn all that trivia?!

However, there are a few topics we’re pretty sure every escape game fan is into. Mystery? Check. Puzzles? Check. Creepy going-ons? Check.

In the magical era of the podcast, you can be sure someone out there is making a show about a subject you want to plug into. Here we list four of podcasts that really satisfy our escape room brains.

Serial

OK, so this is one of the biggest podcasts since, well … ever. But if you haven’t listened to NPR’s Serial yet, we’re telling you, now is the time. Each season is one single intriguing story of true crime told masterfully by host Sarah Koening over several episodes. Spine tingling.

Check out Serial here: https://serialpodcast.org/

Pints and Puzzles

You like conspiracy theories? Then this is the podcast for you! TJ Counihan discusses strange unsolved events, from little green men to unexplained explosions, and throws in some tasting notes on various beers for good measure. Both a strange and fun time!

Catch Pints and Puzzles here: http://pintsandpuzzles.libsyn.com/

Good Job, Brain!

If you like to stuff your brain full of random useless facts—and who among us escape room fans doesn't—then do let the four hosts of Good Job, Brain! fill your grey matter up to the brim. As they put it, this podcast is “part quiz show, part offbeat news, and all awesome.”

You can get factual here: http://www.goodjobbrain.com/

Welcome to Night Vale

Something else all escape gamers share is a vivid imagination and a love of immersing themselves in story. Have you ever heard of the town of Night Vale? No? Well, that’s because it doesn’t exist, but in Welcome to the Night Vale it does, and this twice monthly podcast enlightens us about all that happens there. Sure, there are a few weather updates, but Night Vale is “a town in the desert where all conspiracy theories are real,” so you can expect things are going to get strange on a regular basis.

Visit Night Vale here: http://www.welcometonightvale.com/

Immerse yourself in your own trivia, mystery, and puzzle filled fun by booking a go in one of our escape games here: http://bookeo.com/krakit.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Fun Activities That’ll Turn Your Kid into a Sleuthing Genius

Photo: Melissa Hillier (CC-BY 2.0)

You’re a complete escape game fanatic, and you've only got so much time to make sure your kids follow in your footsteps.

Luckily, it’s not too hard to get your kid hooked on all things sleuthing, code breaking, and problem solving. Why? Because these things are super fun.

Observe:

Clue

A complete classic, the board game Clue—or Cluedo, if you’re outside North America—has made detectives out of many generations of kids. It’s nearly 70 years old, but it’s still one of the best ways to introduce young kids to the wonderful world that is sleuthing.

Spy kit

Remember writing secret messages to your friend in invisible ink and—just to make it extra secure—using a decoder ring? Of course you do! Spy kits have come a long way since you were a kid though: now they include things like audio enhancers and UV flashlights. Jealous? Us too.

Harriet the Spy and Encyclopedia Brown

What better role model for budding escape game enthusiasts than successful detectives who are around their own age? Harriet the Spy and Encyclopedia Brown both have some solid tips to pass along to sleuths in training, whether in book or TV form.

Scavenger or treasure hunt

Summer holidays mean camping, and camping means no internet (if you’re doing it right, that is). Curious kids plus the great outdoors makes for a great opportunity to devise one of the greatest scavenger hunts your children have ever seen. Turn up the difficult by making a clue list and requiring a compass and map, and your kids’ problem-solving muscles will get a hefty workout.

Kid-friendly escape game

It can be surprising how quickly kids, even young ones, can figure out clues in escape games that even adults have trouble with. Make sure the theme is age appropriate (maybe try our Alice in Wonderland room rather than the Saw one!) and watch your kid kick your butt at your next escape room experience.

Book an escape room at Krakit for you and your family here: http://bookeo.com/krakit

Monday, 10 July 2017

5 Horror Films That Were Scarier Behind the Scenes

Jack Nicholson in The Shining

We love giving you the creeps with the horror-themed escape rooms at Krakit Vancouver Escape Game, but sometimes, setting out to freak people out puts you in danger of being the one who gets the biggest scare of all.

That’s definitely something that the cast and crew of these five famous horror films learned the hard way.

1. The Exorcist (1973)

Inarguably one of the most successful horror films of all time, The Exorcist hasn’t just been terrifying audiences for decades—its cast and crew also received a good dose of fear. Several odd occurrences made filming a nightmare: rigging fell down, sets burnt to the ground, and star Linda Blair nearly broke her back from a prop malfunction. Then there’s the large number of people connected to the film who died or fell ill during its production. It was all convincing enough that a priest was brought in to bless the set.

2. The Omen (1976)

Where to begin with “The Omen Curse.” It shouldn’t be surprising that the crew of a film about the spawn of the devil was subjected to a little bit of terror, but they definitely got more than they bargained for.

Not only did lightning strike the plane carrying novelist/screenwriter David Seltzers, lightning also struck a plane carrying star Gregory Peck. On the first day of filming, crewmembers were in a head-on car crash. After that, Peck nearly boarded another plane to Israel, which crashed and killed all onboard. Director Richard Donner didn’t escape the curse either—he was both hit by a car and stayed in a hotel that was bombed by the IRA. Worst of all: this isn’t even a complete list of what happened to the poor crew of The Omen.

3. The Shining (1980)

The behind-the-scenes horror of The Shining comes in two forms: eerie coincidence and director Stanley Kubrick’s notorious antics. At the end of filming, a massive fire broke out at the hotel that stood in as the Overlook—which is exactly what happens at the end of Stephen King’s original novel.

But the more menacing onset horror might be Kubrick’s treatment of actress Shelley Duvall. He intentionally put her under insane stress, including making her and Jack Nicholson film the famous bat scene a record-breaking 127 times. He even asked the cast and crew to torment Duvall—and the shoot lasted a massive 500 days. Sounds like a fun time.



3. The Amityville Horror (2005)

The set of The Amityville Horror, starring Ryan Reynolds, perhaps offers a better example of how a film can get in your head than of supernatural events. Just like the psychopathic character he portrays in the film, George Lutz, Reynolds woke up precisely at 3:15 am. And it wasn’t just him—several members of the crew found their eyes popping open at this particular hour.

5. The Conjuring 1 and 2 (2013 and 2016)

Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga must be braver than the average Hollywood star, because they filmed not one but two Conjuring films—with supernatural events occurring on both sets. The crew’s hotel caught on fire, a member of the real-life family that the film is based on broke a hip, and dogs started barking when no one was around. Creepiest of all, curtains moved when there was no wind, while trees stood still when there was. We’ll see if the stars come back for a third Conjuring, or if they’ve had enough.

Now we dare you to play one of Krakit’s three horror-themed escape rooms with the scary-factor turned all the way up to 11. Book here: http://bookeo.com/krakit.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Escape Game Training: 5 of the Biggest Brain Busters

Confused Marty McFly

One of the things that keeps escape game fans coming back again and again is their love of puzzles. You never know what sort of jumping jacks your brain will be asked to do, so it’s never a bad idea to get exercise with all different sorts of puzzles.

For you puzzle fanatics (and that very much describes us here at Krakit Vancouver Escape Game), we’ve pulled together five of the hardest brain busters out there to construct the Ninja Warrior course of the puzzle world.

1. Test your selective attention

Think you’re an ace at evaluating your surroundings and picking up on what other people miss? See how well you do with this awareness test devised by psychologists Daniel Simons and Christopher Chabris.



2. Flex your Mensa muscles

Ever heard of Mensa? Of course you have. It’s only a society of the biggest brains on the entire planet. You can see how you stack up against all the geniuses of the world by exercising your brain with the Mensa Workout available on the official Mensa site.

3. The ultimate NYT crossword

The New York Times Sunday crossword puzzle is notorious for being the most difficult puzzle available in any given week. So how about the most difficult of the most difficult: the December 26, 1987, puzzle devised by Daniel Girardi.

You can download and attempt the hardest NYT crossword of all time here.

4. Go on a puzzle adventure

OK, so you’ll have to actually get your hands on one of these puzzles, because this one exists in the real world: the Isis Adventure Series. Considered one “the hardest puzzle” in the world, this puzzle set requires you to solve one before you can move on to the next, each getting progressively more difficult. You can get your set directly from the Sonic Games website.

5. Get your logic on

Why do one incredibly hard logic puzzle when you can do ten? Scientific programmer Patrick Min has got you covered with this list of the hardest versions ever of ten different logic puzzle types, including Sudoku and Go. Click to bend your brain.

Now that your brain is in peak condition, see if you can bust all four of our escape rooms at Krakit Vancouver Escape Game. Book here: http://bookeo.com/krakit.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Escape Game History: 3 Ciphers Once Considered “Unbreakable”

Escape Game History: An Enigma Machine
The Enigma Machine at the National Museum of Scotland (Photo: Nachosan CC-BY 3.0)
If there’s one thing you’ll find in every escape room you play, it’s some sort of code that you’ll have to break. We’re definitely cryptography nerds here at Krakit Vancouver Escape Game, and that’s why we’re so fascinated with the ciphers that no one has been able to solve (see here, here, and here for some of our faves).

However, eventually, every code will get cracked—it may just take several hundred years, that’s all.

Below are three ciphers that were once considered unsolvable, but no more. Cryptanalysis wins!

Enigma, created: 1918

The German electrical engineer Arthur Scherbius patented his Enigma Machine, a mechanical cipher machine, in 1918, and it was soon adopted by German military forces. What made it so famously unbreakable is that the Enigma Machine uses electrical signals to concoct a new code every time a key is pressed, so it never uses the same code twice.

You can see why it was considered uncrackable.

Nevertheless, Enigma was broken by the WWII codebreakers of Bletchley Park, headed up by Alan Turing. Though it certainly it wasn’t an easy task, that’s for sure.

Vigenère Autokey, created: 1586

While the Enigma remained unbreakable for over 30 years, it’s nothing compared to the Vigenère Autokey’s 300 years. It was so safe a code, it was even nicknamed le chiffre indéchiffrable, or “the indecipherable cipher” to us English speakers.

The Vigenère uses polyalphabetic substitution (that means it really mixes the alphabet up), which makes it easy to use but really hard to break. This is in fact the same principle Enigma would use many years later.

However, in 1855, the inventor Charles Babbage came along and solved the Vigenère cipher for the English during the Crimean War. Because Babbage didn’t publish his work, the cipher continued to be used until 1863(!), when Friedrich Kasiski published his attack, rendering the Vigenère useless.

The Alberti Cipher, created: 1467

An even older once “unbreakable” code is the Alberti Cipher. This code was created by Leon Battista Alberti, and is the oldest known polyalphabetic cipher. (Are you seeing a pattern here?) Like the Enigma and the Vigenère, the Alberti Cipher uses metal discs that rotate to create a new code with every spin.

Alberti was dead certain his cipher was unbreakable, and although it took several centuries to prove him wrong, we now know that polyalphabetic ciphers can—and will eventually—be broken.

Try your own hand at codebreaking in one of our four escape gameshttp://bookeo.com/krakit.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

No Escaping These Endings: 5 Worst Twists in Horror History

Joaquin Phoenix in The Village
Joaquin Phoenix, trying to figure out why The Village's twist ending seemed like a good idea
At Krakit Vancouver Escape Game, it’s our job to keep you on your toes. This is a quality we share with our favourite genre of movie: the horror film. There’s really only one way to do this, and that is, of course, through the unexpected.

Because what is a horror movie without a fantastic twist? (Or an escape game without a few wrenches thrown into the mix?)

However, if you don’t do these twists right, it can ruin the entire atmosphere, story, and suspense you’ve been building. We’re really careful to strike the right balance in our escape rooms. We only wish we could say the same for these films’ directors.

Spoilers ahead!

5. I Am Legend (2007)

As horror films grow ever more desperate to surprise viewers, they can become victims of their own desire to think outside the box. The film I Am Legend, based on a highly regarded book, goes ahead and twists the book’s twist ending, ultimately ruining the entire story’s message. Plus, the hero dies. Always a cheap trick.

4. The Mist (2007)

The reason The Mist’s twist ending is so horrible is more due to the pure anger it makes many of its viewers feel. It’s not like you’re expecting a happy ending to this Stephen King story, but having the main character mercy kill his son just before safety arrives is just, well, it’s just not cool.

3. High Tension (2003)

Another cheap trick to end any story is “and it turned out it was all a dream!” The ending “and the person was crazy all along” is a version of this, and that’s what makes the ending of this otherwise excellent French flick a big letdown. Plus, the revelation that Marie is the killer all along raise a lot of questions about events that happen throughout the story.

2. The Village (2004)

Of course this psychological horror film is on the list. The Village is the movie that took M. Night Shyamalan from horror golden child to a bit of a laughing stock. The movie starts out really great, but it’s all undone when we find out the whole escapade has taken place in modern times and the monster is nothing but a trick.

1. Shutter Island (2010)

Like High Tension, this leftfield Martin Scorcese film ruins what otherwise would be a thrilling ride by using the “and the person was crazy all along!” trick to conclude the story. However, it’s one worse than High Tension, since it transpires that basically none of the film’s events really happened, and it’s all just part of Teddy Daniels’s delusion.

Book yourself in for a brilliant twist ending in one of Krakit’s four themed escape games, including our Zombie Apocalypse, Asylum, and Saw games. Choose your slot here: http://bookeo.com/krakit.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Literature’s Great Escapes: 6 Tales of Escape to Get Lost In

The Man in the Iron Mask print, 1789
The Man in the Iron Mask print from 1789

We love a good escape film here at Krakit Vancouver Escape Game, but if you really want to get invested in whether or not the hero makes it out in one piece, a book is the way to go.

Below, we list six of the most riveting escapes found in literature.

1. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas (1844–45)

The oldest and some would argue the best escape tale on our list. Dumas’s enduring swashbuckling adventure sees Edmond Dantès falsely imprisoned and thrown into jail to rot, only to escape and get the best revenge of all: complete and total success.

2. Papillon by Henri Charrière (1970)

It’s hard to believe Papillon is a non-fiction autobiography, but it is. Henri Charrière, another victim of false conviction, was given a life sentence of hard labour in the Devil’s Island penal colony. As nice as that sounds, Charrière plotted an unbelievable escape instead.

3. The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood (2015)

This dystopic novel centres on a group of ten young women who have been kidnapped and locked up in dismal conditions in the middle of the Australian Outback. As food supplies dwindle and their captors grow ever more unpredictable, the women must find a way to escape not only their imprisonment but the harsh desert environment.

4. The Vicomte of Bragelonne: Ten Years Later by Alexandre Dumas (1847–50)

Better known as the tale of the Man in the Iron Mask, this second entry from Dumas comes from his Three Musketeers series. Though mostly about the Musketeers, the novel revolves around a real, unnamed person who spent his life as a prisoner of Louis XIV—with his face completely covered the entire time. In Dumas’s version, the man escapes (wasn’t so lucky in real life).

5. Room by Emma Donoghue (2010)

Less about the escape and more about what comes after, Donoghue’s book follows the story of a five-year-old boy named Jack, who has been held captive in a small room his entire life, alongside his mother. Until, one day, he learns the there is more to the world than the four walls he lives in.

6. Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King (1982)

Yet another book that’s been made into a film and yet another tale of false imprisonment and, Stephen King’s novella about a postwar banker named Andy Dufresne continues to be one of his most popular stories and film adaptations. Plus, it includes one of the most famous escape scenes of all time.

You can book your own escape adventure for you and up to seven friends in one of Krakit’s four-themed escape games here.

Monday, 5 June 2017

What to Expect at Your First Escape Game

Escape game winners

Fun!

This one’s pretty obvious, but it is the number one thing you can expect at your first escape room experience. At Krakit, we kick the fun factor up to its highest level with live actors, who take our horror-themed rooms from eerie to downright heart-racing. Or, you can have a more chill time in our non-horror-themed escape room, which rotates regularly.

Puzzles galore

Along with the experience of being immersed in a fantastical world, puzzles are the other main component of what escape games are all about. Logic puzzles, number puzzles, factoids that make you dig old information out of the dark recesses of your brain—all of these can appear somewhere during the course of play.

Each puzzle will lead to a key that together add up to your escape from the room!

Escape game combination locks

Total recall

Much like all those detective shows we’re all totally obsessed with, escape games require you to not only solve puzzles, but to “read the room” in the truest sense.

In order to access the puzzles that will lead to your freedom, you need to first figure out where they’re hiding. This requires you and your teammates to assess the room, figure out what’s “off” (that is, a clue), put together different elements you see, and remember what’s happened earlier in the game.

Stress, but the good kind

With only 45 minutes on the clock, sniffing out all the clues, putting all the pieces together, and solving all the puzzles can make you feel like you’re in a pressure cooker. But trust us, this sort of countdown-to-doomsday scenario is one of the best things about escape rooms. Gets all your adrenaline pumping, that’s for sure!

To find out what your friends—and you—are made of

You and your teammates will need to work together if you have any hope of solving all the puzzles and cracking the room—leading to your freedom. Find out who’s the leader, who’s the numbers guy or gal, and who’s the one who keeps the calm.

Book your escape game experience with Krakit here: bookeo.com/krakit.

Escape game actor


Monday, 29 May 2017

Summertime and the Escaping Is Easy: 10 Summeriest Escape Films

Blake Lively in The Shallows
Blake Lively trying to escape an overachieving shark in The Shallows
Whether your fancy is horror, adventure, thriller, or kid friendly, there’s a summertime escape film for you. After you’re done picking up tips from these 10 flicks, you can test out your own escape prowess at one of Krakit Vancouver Escape Game’s four themed rooms.

1. Cabin in the Woods (2012)

Though a great watch in any season, summer is the perfect time to revisit Dana and her compadres as they try to outwit and escape the lineup of horror film monsters set upon them by a twisted crew of reality TV show makers.

2. The Great Outdoors (1988)

John Candy, an oversized steak, creepy twin girls, a misunderstood bear, and an epic cave escape scene. What’s not to love about this summer classic?

3. The Descent (2005)

Talk about your summertime outing gone wrong. When a spelunker thinks she can spice up her friends’ day by taking them to an undiscovered cave system, she really just goes ahead and ruins the whole spelunking season.

4. The Beach (2000)

Richard (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his pals think they’re escaping civilization when they set out to find a beach that’s rumoured to be paradise on earth. Cut to poor Rich trying to escape the hellscape it becomes.

5. Homeward Bound (1993)

The Seavers family think they’re going off on vacation, but their two dogs and cat think they’re heading off forever. The three pets escape the ranch they’re meant to be chilling at and embark on a crazy dangerous journey back home to San Fran.

6. Deliverance (1972)

Decidedly not one for the kids, this classic film is set in the backwoods of Georgia, where four city slickers think they’ll have a nice summer getaway. Nope. Just nope. Their main objective soon turns to escaping the woods with their lives intact.

7. The Hills Have Eyes (19777)

Wes Craven’s dusty desert-set slasher flick takes a similar turn to Deliverance, where a nice family vacay turns into a desperate bid to escape a landscape they don’t know and a group of people who are none too friendly.

8. A Perfect Getaway (2009)

This overlooked thriller is set in luscious Hawaii, but unfortunately for the two couples (including Steve Zahn and Milla Jovovich) who are hiking through the beautiful terrain, some psychopaths are killing people on the trail. And, yep, you guessed it: their perfect holiday getaway turns into the perfect “run for your life”-type getaway.

9. The Shallows (2016)

It’s not an escape game any of us would like to play: outwit and wait out a bloodthirsty shark while standing on a teeny tiny rock in the middle of the open ocean. Blake Lively takes on the challenge with aplomb.

10. Super 8 (2011)

A group of ambitious kids plan on spending their summer making a noir-inspired flick. They end up spending it dodging supernatural events and escaping the clutches of a big ol’ alien. Comme ci comme ça.

Get your own summer escape on by booking an escape room challenge for you and your friends here.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

5 Cryptography-centric TV Shows to Bend Your Escape-Game-Loving Mind

The four codebreakers of The Bletchley Circle
The four codebreakers of The Bletchley Circle

If there’s one thing all escape game fans can agree on, it’s their love of ciphers, codes, and the amazing feeling that comes with cracking one. A few television producers out there share that feeling, too.

While only one of these shows is still on the air, luckily we live in the age of streaming! And, who knows, if we all put in the effort and get the numbers just right, they might just bring them back for encore seasons. We have the power, cryptography-loving escape room fans!


1. The Bletchley Circle (2012–14)

Yep, that Bletchley, the same one where Alan Turing and his team cracked the “unbreakable” Enigma Code in WWII. This series is set after the end of the war in the early ’50s, centering on a group of women—former Bletchley codebreakers, of course—who take the solving of complex crimes into their own hands after the police fail to get the job done.

2. Numbers (2005–10)

FBI Special Agent Don Eppes skips the wiretapping and intimidation and goes straight for the numbers to solve a variety of crimes. His secret weapon? His super math genius brother, Charles, who uses equations (yes, equations!) to help find and apprehend the criminals. Yay, math!

3. Gravity Falls (2012–16)

In this animated series, Mabel Pines (Kristin Schaal) and her brother Dipper (Jason Ritter) spend their summer at their uncle’s house running “The Mystery Shack.” (The town of Gravity Falls happens to be full of paranormal creatures, so it’s sort of necessary.) At the end of every episode, there’s a different cipher to crack, introducing kids—and kids at heart!—to the Caesar, Atbash, and Vigenère ciphers, among others.

4. Touch (2012–13)

Former reporter Martin Bohm (played by Kiefer Sutherland) realizes his young son, Jake, who has been diagnosed as autistic, is an ace when it comes to numbers and patterns. So good, in fact, that he can predict the future based on what he sees within them. Jake uses his skills to decipher a number of codes that lead to the pair saving the day, naturally.

5. The Numbers Game (2013–)

Unlike the other shows in this list, The Numbers Game isn’t a drama or cartoon, but shows how numbers work in our everyday lives. Host Jake Porway (who looks like he could be Bill Nye’s long lost son, incidentally) delves into the history of codes and other brain-melting puzzles. Get ready for some codebreaking and silly skits to keep you entertained along the way.

Get your hands on all the ciphers and codes Krakit has to offer by booking a game in one of our four themed escape rooms, steps away from Lougheed SkyTrain in Burnaby. Book here.

Monday, 15 May 2017

History’s Great Escapes: The Catalpa Rescue of 1876

Thomas Darragh, one of six Fenians to escape during the Catalpa rescue
Thomas Darragh, one of six Fenians to escape during the Catalpa rescue
This incredibly impressive escape happened more than a 140 years ago, back when Australia was still considered one big giant jail for the British Empire’s undesireables. As much as we’d like to see an escape game made out of the Catalpa’s story, there are far too many moving parts and unbelievable scheming needed to make this a room anyone could break in 45 minutes or less.

Let us elaborate.

In the 1860s, the British sent dozens of members of the Irish Republic Brotherhood—otherwise known as Fenians, who were fighting for Ireland’s independence—to what was then the penal colony of Western Australia. A few of the Fenians managed to escape from Australia and several others were eventually granted pardons. Yet by 1876, there were still six men imprisoned—but they were not going to let their story end there.

One of the prisoners, James Wilson, managed to smuggle a letter out of Australia and to one of his escaped brothers who now was living exiled in New York. Upon receiving the letter, John Devoy and his fellow Fenians masterminded a rescue plan that would go down in history as one of the greatest prison escapes ever.

Escape of Fenian convicts from Fremantle, Western Australia, engraving
They bought a three-masted whaling vessel called the Catalpa, and, on April 29, 1875, they left New Bedford, Massachusetts, with 22 sailors onboard—who were none the wiser of their true mission. There would be no whaling done on this ship.

Instead, they pointed themselves toward Australia—relying on their own navigational skills to get them there, since they learned too late that their navigational tools were broken.

After dropping anchor in international waters, the rescuers assumed fake identities, managing to: 1) become chums with the Governor of Western Australia; 2) get an official tour of the prison where their friends were; and 3) organize the destruction of all the telegraph lines in the area that would otherwise spread word of their daring escape.

Not bad, right?

Nearly one year after they had left the USA, the day of the escape arrived: April 17, 1876. One rowboat chase and several cannon shots later, the six remaining Fenians were aboard the Catalpa. Though the authorities gave chase, the Fenians informed them that any attack would be considered a hostile action against the entire country of America, since they were in international waters.

Beaten by their own rules, the police backed off and the Catalpa headed for the Indian Ocean.

Don’t worry—our escape rooms don’t take a full year to crack, but less than an hour! Book one of four themed escape games here: bookeo.com/krakit

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Escape Rooms As A Way of Life: The Legend of Zelda Method


© Nintendo


We’re living a little in the way that Link from The Legend of Zelda.

We spend our solo time traversing ‘fields’ of personality, looking for ‘rupees’ for physical sustenance, plucking ‘hearts’ for emotional fulfilment, and fighting minor demons abounding sporadically. From the fields, we head into bustling towns (like Burnaby) where we find collective persons in meeting places. We relate to these strangers who inspire within ourselves greater goals, furthering our paths beyond the fields we roam. This is the nature of the business we conduct in our life path and career directives. 

When we have found the proper motivations from the townspeople, i.e. what we can offer vs. what we are lacking, we then head steadfast to seek the inside of a dungeon (Krakit Escape Room) where we are isolated to face down our greater demons: those hidden from the populated fields and towns. We become like the hermit, seeking inner truths in the dark caverns within. Our quest is to escape and the only escape is confronting evil head-on.

First we seek anchor in finding a navigation tool, a compass, to enlighten us as as to our core principles (that way to shed light on our demon’s location), where to find the tools to defeat the demon, and the key required to get some face time with our inner foe. This dungeon is not only our situational escape room, but the liberation of our optimal identity from self-defeating ideologies.

The maxim ‘when the student is ready, the teacher appears’ reveals the locking mechanisms unlatched by the riddles of existence in Link’s field-town-dungeon whence the keys to success appear neither amidst nor before completion. This is the definition of the escape room: if I perform Task A then I will be able to unlock Item X in order to move on to Task B. Then, voila, the door is open and you’re free to move forward.

Whether the room is metaphorical or physical, the pursuit of higher goals requires we traverse our internal escape room (or, in Link’s case, dungeon).


Monday, 1 May 2017

Escape the Office: 5 Benefits of Team Building for Small Businesses

Team building at Krakit Vancouver Escape Game
Team building at Krakit Vancouver Escape Game!
When someone brings up team building, the first thing that pops up in many people’s minds is of 200 employees who barely know each other doing trust falls in a forest somewhere. But that’s not what team building means in 2017! And it’s not just for large companies where employees might not know each other’s names.

Team building activities are just as important and beneficial for small companies. Maybe you all work in the same room, just inches from one another, but there’s always room to improve communication, teamwork, and comradery.

Escape games are a perfect team building choice, especially for small businesses. Why? Because escape rooms usually fit maximum 7 people, which means you can get your whole team in on one game! Plus, they’re super fun (duh!).

Here are five of the best outcomes we see for small businesses who do their team building at Krakit Vancouver Escape Game:

1. Increased communication

When you have only 45 minutes to solve several puzzles and make your bid for freedom, everyone needs to step up their communication levels. In small teams, it can be easy to assume everyone knows what’s going on at all times when that’s not really the case.

2. A chance to bond

There’s a good chance everyone in a start-up knows everyone else’s name, but does everyone really know everyone? Especially if you have a recent addition to your team, a fun team-building challenge allows everyone to get to know one another on another level—and one that’s email free!

3. Testing relationships and skills

In small companies, relationships between staff members can become rigid out of necessity. A teambuilding activity like an escape game lets you see what skills your staff may not be getting a chance to use.

4. Oiling the teamwork machine

Small businesses don’t work if everyone’s commitment to teamwork isn’t in tip-top shape. A fun tune-up is a great way to make sure all is in working order for all team members.

5. Good vibes for all

The high of outwitting the puzzle master and solving an escape game puts everyone in a good mood for weeks!

Book one of Krakit’s four themed escape rooms for your team building day here.

Monday, 24 April 2017

The 5 Greatest Things about Columbo

The Columbo statue in Budapest, Hungary (CC BY 3.0)
He looks like a bumbling and easy-to-fool man, but Lieutenant Columbo provides a great lesson in why looks can be deceiving. That’s especially true when it comes to solving mysteries—and something we see often at our Vancouver escape games. That is, it’s not always the most confident-seeming person who’s got the solve in the bag. Sometimes, it’s the unsuspecting person hiding in plain sight.

Columbo knows the value of being underestimated by the people you’re trying to win one over on. Those criminals just never seem to see it coming, do they?

It’s hard for us at Krakit Escape Game to choose just five of our favourite things about Columbo, but here we go.

5. The Columbo statue in Hungary

There he is, looking as confused as ever, staring at his beloved basset hound, Dog. He may be looking confused because there’s no rhyme or reason for there to be a life-sized bronze statue of Columbo on Budapest’s Falk Miksa Street. But there it is, and that’s what makes it so great.

4. Columbo’s cat-and-mouse games

The episode “Try and Catch Me” (season 7, episode 1) sees Columbo engaged in a game of cat and mouse with a successful author named Ruth Gordon. He actually forces the murderous writer to deliver her own gotcha moment, by making her read out all the clues left behind by her victim during a speech for her adoring fans. Zing. This is just one example of how Columbo swiftly gains the upper hand.

3. Peter Falk’s gravelly voice

OK, sure, we know this doesn’t actually add to his ability to outsmart all the criminal masterminds, crooked politicians, and arrogant art types he takes down. But for some reason it is so much more satisfying to hear Columbo’s epic “gotcha” speeches in his rough-and-tumble New York accent instead of a crisp British clip.

2. The memorable nemeses of Columbo

Columbo ran for 13 seasons, partially in the ‘70s and partially in the ‘90s. This has made for some varied and memorable recurring characters to pit Columbo against. But the age-old question remains: Who IS the ultimate Columbo nemesis—Jack Cassidy, Robert Culp, or Patrick McGoohan?

1. Columbo’s infuriating catchphrase

Columbo’s most famous move, in which he lets the criminal think they’ve gotten away with it all and then reels them back in with a final zinger, is basically what we’re waiting for at the end of every episode. “Oh, just one more thing …”



Do your best Peter Falk impression in one of Krakit’s four themed escape games. Book a room for you and up to 6 other people here.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Different Folks, Different Strokes: 4 Ways to Conquer Escape Games

Escape room locks

One of the most beautiful things about escape rooms is that they’re not just for one kind of person. They’re not just for gamers or mystery fans or puzzle lovers. Everyone can find something they’re good at when it comes to the multifaceted activity that is the escape game.

Whether you’re a visual thinker or a list maker or a get-your-hands-dirty kind of a person, there’s some part of an escape game that you’ll really excel at. Trust us: it takes all sorts to help your team get the final solve in just 45 minutes.

Logical Types

Are numbers your thing? Does your brain work in really linear and strategic ways? Escape games often feature some sort of numerical code or logic game where your mathematical brain will come in very handy. Being able to systematically observe all the elements in a room certainly doesn’t hurt either.

Creative Types

Are you less than excited about numbers but really excel when there’s out-of-the-box thinking to be done? When it comes to solving an escape room, people who think creatively are great when it comes to riddles and trivia, as well as offering up new ideas to spark different trains of thought in their teammates.

Big-Picture-Thinker Types

You might miss the differently coloured flower in the painting you’re observing or totally fail to notice the zombie lurking in the corner, but that doesn’t matter—you’re great at figuring out how all these things go together. Leave it to your teammates to collect and present the evidence, and leave it you to come up with the answers.

Hands-on Types

Believe or not, many people fail to realize that they’re actually *in* an escape game, and treat it more like a mental exercise than a physical one. While there’s definitely some brain work going on, if you don’t move around and touch and examine every surface in the room, you’re not going to win. Simple as that.

Put together your ultimate escape game team and see if you can prevail in one of Krakit’s four themed rooms. Book now.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Top 3 Restaged Jump Scares in Horror History

With the new version of It hitting theatres later this year and its ultra-intense trailer already giving us nightmares, we thought it was high time to revisit one of our favourite topics here at Krakit Vancouver Escape Game: the jump scare.

Some horror films and thrillers get away without featuring a jump scare, but where’s the fun in that? Being on the edge of your seat and literally jumping out of it is part of what makes scary movies so addictive.

So, without further ado, here are our top three favourite jump scares that you already know are coming. Yet, whether it's from a remake that restages a jump scare from the original or a sequel that leans heavily on the original, these jump scares still do the trick.

3. The Thing (1982/2011)

Maybe it’s John Carpenter’s original 1982 version starring Kurt Russell or maybe it’s the CGI-heavy 2011 remake that does it for you. In any case, when it comes to The Thing, the alien creature’s habit of popping out of where you least expect—whether an ice block or a human chest—is sure to get your heart racing.



2. The Blair Witch Project (1999) / Blair Witch (2016)

Sure, the new Blair Witch film is basically like a shot-for-shot remake of the original, but that also includes repeating its best jump scare. Fancy staring into a corner in a super creepy house for all eternity, anyone?



1. It (1990/2017)

Right, we know we’ve only seen the trailer for the 2017 film, but Pennywise has already managed to do it again. Whether it’s Tim Curry in the original 1990 TV version or Bill Skarsgård in the forthcoming movie, the anticipation of seeing Pennywise’s horrible painted face appear in that sewer grate is almost too much to bear.



See how many jump scares you can count during your 45 minutes in Krakit’s Zombie Apocalypse escape game. Book now.

Monday, 3 April 2017

Escape from Vancouver: 5 Best Detective Series Filmed in Hollywood North

There are plenty of reasons why Vancouver and the Lower Mainland are a great place to live for escape game fans. Along with some truly great and challenging escape rooms, Vancouver plays to host to many, many film sets—including the type of detective series we puzzle fans can really sink our teeth into.


Here are the top 5 biggest and best detective television series filmed in Vancouver. Happy hunting for all of the filming locations!

5. MacGyver (1985–92)
A classic to be sure, but MacGyver is the lowest on our list because the scientific knowledge this secret agent uses to get out of jams is a little too far-fetched for our logical puzzle-loving brains. Filming locations include the Steam Clock in Gastown and Coal Harbour.

4. Arrow (2012–)
Arrow is also fantastical, but it’s set in the DC Comics superhero universe, so we’ll allow it. This crime series is based on the character Green Arrow, who also appeared in the series Smallville, also filmed in Vancouver. Filming locations include the Vancouver Art Gallery and Gastown.

3. 21 Jump Street (1987–91)
While Johnny Depp played an undercover cop at an American high school, it was actually often New Westminster Secondary School that he and his gun-toting colleagues were hanging around. Other filming locations include, you guessed it: Gastown.

2. Psych (2006–14)
Now here’s a show right up Krakit Vancouver Escape Game’s alley: Psych follows a young sleuth
who uses his amazing powers of logic to solve crimes, while letting the precinct he works with think he has psychic powers. Nearly all eight seasons were filmed in Hollywood North, including locations at the White Rock Museum and Archives and Jericho Beach.

1. Da Vinci’s Inquest (1998–2006)
For once, Vancouver got to play the rarest of all things: itself. This well-loved Canadian detective series follows Dominic Da Vinci, a mountie turned coroner who still has a finger in the justice system. Filming locations include: anywhere, since the producers didn’t have to hide any noticeable landmarks.

Put on your detective hat (a deerstalker, no doubt) in one of our four themed escape games. Book here

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

From Crosswords to Escape Games: 5 Fun Ways to Exercise Your Brain

From Crosswords to Escape Games: 5 Fun Ways to Exercise Your Brain

People regularly hit the gym to keep their bodies in the best possible shape, but it’s just as important to put your grey matter through its paces. Without exercising your mind, you’ll start to lose neuroplasticity, your brain cells will stop talking to each other, and your brain function will be diminished.

Basically: use it or lose it.

Luckily, there’s no need to enroll in a calculus class to keep your noggin in tip-top shape. Here’s five fun ways to keep your brain fit, from crosswords to escape games.

1. Crossword Puzzles

Crossword puzzles have long been held up as being great for keeping your brain active. More than testing your knowledge of obscure facts, it’s learning new words, storing them in your memory, and retrieving them for the next crossword that helps build memory muscle.

2. Knitting

Seems like you’re not doing a lot with your brain when you’re knitting, but that’s exactly the point. Knitting functions similarly to meditation, helping to regulate your moods and protect against brain aging.

3. Escape Games

The best way to exercise your brain is to use all your senses at once in unusual ways. And the best way to do this is to play an escape game: a new environment, visual clues, audio cues, mini challenges, teamwork—it’s all there.

4. Geocaching

Believe it or not, an important way to keep your brain sharp is to do physical activity. Another excellent exercise is to break routine and “do things the hard way.” By putting you into a forest, sending you on a treasure hunt, and taking away Google Maps, Geocaching combines all these things.

5. Virtuosity

Challenge yourself to become the absolute best at something creative, whether that’s a musical instrument, short story writing, boat building, or soccer juggling. Virtuosos are more alert, open-minded, and calm and they can put details together coherently better than other people. Even if you don’t become Yo-Yo Ma, your brain will thank you for trying.

Keeping your brain in fighting condition by booking one of Krakit’s four Vancouver Escape Games.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

5 Unassuming and Underestimated Detectives

Nancy Drew, doing some unassuming sleuthing in one her many books

If you’re a criminal and you’ve got a Sherlock Holmes, Stella Gibson, or John Luther on your case, you’ve got no choice but to immediately start quaking in your boots. But it’s not just intimidating and decorated detectives who always get their man. There are some sleuths who the bad guys never see coming, including the seven underestimated crime-solvers on our list.

Don’t forget: you can try your own unassuming detective hat on at Krakit Vancouver Escape Game and catch your friends off guard with your sleuthing brilliance.

1. Miss Marple

The simple fact is: no one suspects the little old lady—of anything, least of all of being a shrewd investigative mind. That’s probably why people are willing to say things in front of Miss Marple they’d never say in front of Sherlock, helping her to catch them out.

2. Nancy Drew

If no one suspects the little old lady, they certainly don’t suspect the teenage girl, precocious though she may be. Hardworking and determined, Nancy Drew never fails to far exceed people’s expectations of her.

3. Poirot

Tiny, fashion forward, and with a slight limp, Poirot cuts a far different figure than the towering dominance of John Luther. However, his unassuming physical appearance lures people into talking to his “benign confessor” character.

4. Jessica Fletcher

Novelist on the outside, brilliant detective on the inside, Jessica Fletcher of Murder She Wrote is able to use her day job as a mystery writer to gain insight into real-life crimes—always to the criminals’ downfall.

5. Dirk Gently

People might expect Dirk Gently—a man obsessed with the spirit world and otherworldly pursuits—to be full of a lot of hooey. But though Gently may seem like he’s running a sham business with his “holistic detective agency,” he’s not messing about in the slightest. Gently is the real deal.

Get sleuthing at one of Krakit's four Vancouver escape rooms by booking you and up to seven other people into one of four themed escape games.