Behind the scenes: Room 237 (Kamer 237)Posted on 2017-03-27
Since the beginning of Escapetalk De Loods in Uden was in our Top 20. This room sadly closed its doors at the end of 2016, but we didn't have to wait long for a successor: in March of 2017 Room 237 (Kamer 237) opened its doors. This room ended up in our Top 20 within no time too. More than enough reason to visit Room 237 ourselves and have a chat with the owner and creator of these great locations.
Stefan Trimbach is a escape room enthusiast himself: he played over 90 escape rooms in 5 countries (Japan, Hungary, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands). He sees himself more as a player than an entrepeneur: "I like to surrender completely to the story of a room, or to completely take charge of challenging puzzels. To take on a challenge, together with friends. It's not about a setting a fast time for me anymore, but more about the experience. Escaping does remain the goal though."
Aside runing an escape room he's also the owner of a media company (Men of Media). He feels it's no problem to combine these two: 'if you do the things you like, you'll have energy for 10!' His passion for escape rooms developed after he played his first escape room (Escape Room Veghel). He was hooked right away and was sure he wanted to do the same: build an escape room and run it to be able to welcome all these enthusiastic people. De Loods and Room 237 are made from passion and in our opinion this absolutely shows!
The perfect formula
According to Stefan a good escape room is a combination between a good story (storytelling), the ability to identificate yourself with a person in the story, great atmosphere, special tech (supporting the story) and challenging puzzles (thinking and doing). According to him it often goes wrong because the cohesion between these factors often leads to be desired: "A room full of beautiful tech and special effects is nothing without a good story and puzzles."
"I found the location and it was immediately clear that there was only 1 story to tell there."
The first escape room that Stefan made was about the Heineken kidnapping. "I found that location and it was immediately clear that there was only one story to tell there." After the opening he kept perfectioning the gameflow for atleast 8 months. "So much did change in that time, also because it's simply fun to come up with and make new puzzles. Aside from that you can totally think something through, but you can never predict how players experience it and if it works in context of the entire room."
According to Stefan all the groups that, full of adrenaline, made it out of the game in the last minute were highlights. But of course there were some lows too: "I do notice sometimes that players could handle our stuff with a little bit more respect. Of course you can drop something when you're full of adrenaline, or maybe you pull something a little bit harder than you would usually do, but my rule of thumb is always: keep in mind that there's a group after that that wants to enjoy all the elements of the game."
And then De Loods closed its doors... The police found out about people being kidnapped at De Loods, so we needed to get away fast! Yes, even the ending was totally in style. But we were curious about the real reasoning behind closing a succesfull escape room: "Everything I do, I want to do for the full 100%. I find it important to do something right and want to be completely focused. Making profit isn't the main target, enthusiastic customers are! De Loods was a fun, well-functioning room, but I had so many ideas for Room 237 that I focused on that."
"Everything I do, I want to do for the full 100%. I find it important to do something right and want to be completely focused."
The story of Room 237 is about a hotelroom in the 70's that got closed after a family mysteriously dissapeared. You'll be the first visitors of room 237 since then.... You can view the trailer on the website.
We did play Room 237 ourselves and we were really impressed. And we're not alone: the, nothing but raving reviews on Escapetalk speak volumes. Stefan himself is enthusiastic too: "Room 237 is everything I wanted to experience in an escape room myself. I tried to make everything I would love to see/feel/do/experience as an enthusiast. I hope our visitors will appreciate that. Like De Loods I want to keep finetuning Room 237 based upon the feedback we get from vistiors."
The movie The Shining was a big source of inspiration for Room 237. This doesn't mean you need to have seen the movie before playing the game. "The Shining is seen as a drama/horror, while I don't want to be put in that horror corner with Room 237. I would describe Room 237 as a mysterious room with some (small) exciting moments."
"Room 237 is everything I would love to experience in an escape room."uitstralen
Of course we asked Stefan about his favorite escape rooms at the moment. Outside of the Netherlands those were Beast of Berlin in Berlijn (“that room gets all the details right, a great (true) story and a lovely gameflow."), Red Room in Tokyo (“special already because it's in Tokyo, where Real life gaming started. The simplicity is what makes this room brilliant. The whole room is one big WTF-moment.”) and The White Mission in Boedapest (“a room with fantastic puzzles where your whole team needs to be on their a-game to have a chance to escape.").
In The Netherlands he mentions the following: The Experiment at The Great Escape in Zwolle (“if you ask me they added a new diension to the escape room world.”), De Drukkerij at Project Escape in Nijmegen (“a beautiful room. All the details are right and based upon a true story.”) and The Seven Sins at Breakout Room in Den Bosch (“one of the newest rooms in the Netherlands and a combination of good puzzles and a beautiful room that has done everything right.”)
He doesn't see a big difference between the Netherlands and abroad, but he does feel the developments in the Netherlands are a lot faster than elsewhere in the world.
And now? What's next? For now Stefan mainly wants to enjoy all the great guests he's welcoming in Room 237, but in the meanwhile he also started to think a bit about a second room on this location. We can't wait!
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