By: Sara Ringenbach ~Staff Writer~
I took my claustrophobia to new heights with my friends at the Cincinnati Escape Room: Corporate Espionage challenge. Crossing the threshold, we morphed into spies on a covert operation. As the timer unapologetically counted down from 60 minutes, we embarked on our mission to break into a labyrinth Photo courtesy of facebook.com Seniors Cecilia Nonis, Khalil Brown, Marquetta Monroe, Molly Inman and Juniors Sara Ringenbach and Tiffany Urby conquered The Escape Room. of rooms and retrieve a stolen artifact.
The rooms were littered with surveillance. “They watched us,” senior Tiffany Urby said. “So when you need a hint, they know how to help you.” Three free hints are provided and each additional hint adds two minutes to your final time. We found ourselves in a seemingly innocuous office. “We tore it up,” senior Marquetta Monroe said. “We tore that office up. We divided and conquered — teamwork!”
We unearthed clues in books, coats, and Chinese takeout menus. “Individually, the clues meant nothing,” Marquetta said. “You had to find and put them all together. Decoy clues threw you off.” However, not all clues were so easily cracked. An especially tedious puzzle box threw our team into mental acrobatics, according to senior Khalil Brown.
“Khalil gave up on valuable clues in minutes,” Marquetta said. No secret mission is complete without hacking a computer. We tried usurping the password with birthdays, anniversaries, names of first pets. “Cecilia [Nonis] discovered the code,” Khalil said. “Because I gave up on that sh** too.” Finally, some clues seemed to be constructed solely for the amusement of the eyes behind the camera.
Like when they watched me gently place a piece of rope on top of a clock. I don’t know what I expected to happen. A magical bookcase to open? A genie to appear? A new match on Tinder? Nothing. I may have opened the Chamber of Secrets and unleashed a basilisk on Xavier, and I would have no clue. Our ending was anticlimactic. The artifact, encased in glass, was unarmed. No alarms, no trip wires, no laser beams requiring ninja skills.
We seized the artifact, took a brief moment to look at each other in confusion and booked it out the door. In the aftermath I took the temperature of my team. “We were positive we would escape,” Marquetta said. “I mean, come on. We’re paying for the Xavier education — I hope it’s paying off!” As our adrenaline rush wore off we found that returning to the regular life of opening a door with a single key proved too mundane. Where were the cryptic takeout menus? I offered to lock my roommates in their rooms and hide some clues in their mattresses, but they declined. I guess the perks of escaping back into reality are not as great as advertised.