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60 minutes to escape: Escape OKC is live-action escape challenge

In Escape OKC, groups of two to six pay about $75 to be locked in a room filled with puzzles and riddles.
By Catherine Sweeney, Staff Writer Published: July 28, 2014

A small camera is mounted in the back of the room so Andrew Gipson can keep an eye on the participants, but he doesn’t really pay attention.

“I only watch the first five minutes and near the end,” he said.

Anything “crazy” will happen during that time.

Gipson owns and runs Escape OKC, a live-action escape challenge. Groups of two to six pay about $75 to be locked in a room filled with puzzles and riddles. They have an hour to solve them. Ultimately, they have to attain the code to punch into a lock on the door.

After an hour, Gipson will open the door from the outside, letting the group know if it has failed.

A quarter of groups manage to escape, he said. The rest complete about 75 percent of the course.

He and his creative director, Jonathan Cox, aim to make the puzzles “challenging, not frustrating,” he said.

“We build the room in our head,” he said.

They choose one central puzzle or mechanic around which to design each room. Everything else is attached to it, beginning to end.

Escapers have to dig through the room for clues. Rooms available now are fashioned after an abandoned military outpost and a study.

The aesthetic design of the room takes place after the puzzles are finished.

That way, “we get the feel of the room right,” Gipson said. “That’s really important to us.”

The room fashioned after the study has authenticating touches — a big leather couch, a wooden armoire and a full bookshelf.

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