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Simulation meets real life in Bandra

Friday, 13 June 2014 - 7:40am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

dna checks out Clue Hunt—an escape game format that attempts to bring to reality the thrill of playing a video game in a simulated yet real environment

Taking cue from Escape the Room format video games like Toshimitsu Takagi’s Crimson Room, Clue Hunt is a 60-minute, live escape challenge. Here, you get locked inside a room and attempt to solve a set of clues, puzzles and riddles to get to the key of the door that ensures your escape within the stipulated time period. 

Thrill factor
After much coordination and juggling manic city schedules, we finally made it to the Bandra-based Clue Hunt along with two dna readers, Garima Bali and Purva Kewlani. After being told by the staff to “Observe everything”, our mobile phones were swiftly taken away and we were led into and locked up in Mr Spylock’s Chamber, one of the two live escape games they have designed.

The walls of the room were adorned with framed pictures of old landmarks of Mumbai and old maps with routes marked out. There was a desk sparsely occupied by a typewriter, a diary, and a few sheets of paper. As we looked closely, we saw that the frames were colour-coded and that there were innumerable locked drawers everywhere. The latter gave us an idea of the series of puzzles and riddles awaiting us. “I played with my close friends, so it was basically 60 minutes of fun,” shared Juhu-resident Kewlani, a jewellery professional.

Hits and misses 
As you hunt around for clues, you may find yourself asking, “So, what next?” as the fictional element of the story seems rather incomplete. You will need to work rather hard to connect the dots to create a coherent story. 

In a live escape room such as this, video games essentially meet real life. However, in a live game, it is probably difficult for the game designer to control where a player is going to look and therefore has to attract his or her attention with tricks, lighting, and set design. The primitive buzzer and prompts from a computer screen in Clue Hunt are unable to create a complete and wholesome experience. 

We caught up with the founders and Bandra-residents Ketan and Tina Chhatpar, after playing the game. “The advent of real life escape games worldwide prodded us to explore the opportunity in Mumbai. These games are hugely popular in cities like San Francisco, Dublin, Tokyo, Bangkok, London, and Budapest and are soon catching on in newer markets like Dubai, Cape Town, Paris and Abu Dhabi,” shared Tina.

We have to give it to Ketan and Tina for bringing to the city an idea as unique as this. Even though the husband and wife duo pursue different professions, with Ketan being in the realty business and Tina being a dentist, their entrepreneurial perspective and passion for gaming made them plunge into this.

Final verdict
Clue Hunt is a bold attempt to bring to life the pleasure of video games and while we hope that they iron out the creases in the fictional narrative, we do look forward to trying out Kaboom, the second game room they have to offer.  

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