Escape rooms have only been around for a few years, but they’ve fast become one of the most popular pastimes in the UK. Since the first escape room was developed in 2007, the numbers have flourished and now you can find at least one in every city around the UK. Most escape rooms are even wheelchair accessible. But until recently, escape rooms in the UK didn’t cater for those with visual impairments. That’s all changed with the introduction of the brand-new Access Escape, a room especially for those with a visual impairment.
Like other escape rooms, Access Escape is an immersive game where a group of participants are locked in a room full of clues. The participants must work together using teamwork, skill and logic to be able to exit the room within the allotted time. The stakes are high and the tension even higher. But this is a room with a difference, you’re completely in the dark. For this room, players have to rely on their other senses, such as smell and touch to escape the room in time and ultimately win the game.
Enjoyable For All
The idea was sparked by escape room enthusiast, Hannah Hammond. Hannah was disappointed to find that some of the conditions were unsuitable for her visually impaired friends. Small font on clues making essential information hard to read and low light conditions meant some of the games weren’t particularly disabled-friendly. Hannah recently explained to the Newham Recorder;
“We’ve been to escape rooms with friends who’ve forgotten their glasses and they’ve not been able to do anything. I absolutely love escape rooms and I just wished they were a bit more accessible so more people could do them and enjoy them as much as I do.” (http://bit.ly/2NqIbdW)
Spreading The Word
Visitors to Access Escape are immersed in a magical world of witchcraft, where participants must find six dragon eggs that have been stolen by an evil wizard. As the room is in complete darkness, players must use their other senses to win the quest. So far, Access Escape has proved successful as a limited time, ‘pop up’ space in Canning Town, East London but Hannah hopes that other companies will get on board offering an accessible experience that everyone can take part in and enjoy. Already, existing escape rooms around the country have been working towards making accessible changes to their rooms. An escape room in Leeds has recently switched to laser cut, tactile clues and redesigned their room to remove trip hazards to make their escape room accessible for visually impaired users.