Last Wednesday, I went with my co-workers to G.U.E.S.S. HQ. I was excited to be spending some off-work time with my colleagues, but not so excited about another escape the room, live-action game. I was pleasantly surprised at how well done this one was! There’s a lot more tech, room (as in space for you to play in), and creative puzzles to beat compared to other ones! This was because (as an employee explained to us) the CEO behind G.U.E.S.S HQ was a past waterslide amusement park designer. He then tried out other escape the room games, and found them to be lacking. He came up with the idea to hire tech, video game, and set designers to create a game that he thought to be better.
Located off Gastown, G.U.E.S.S. stands for the Gastown Underground Secret Society Headquarters. Even before actually starting the game, you get immersed. Your email came with a secret password, and they won’t buzz you into the premises without it. After we gave our password, they briefed us through our task to come, and made us sign some waivers.
We chose to do The Heist, one of the two missions available for a G.U.E.S.S. agent. Our goal was to break into a vault, and along the way you’ve really got to work together with your team to manoeuvre your way out successfully. Sadly, we didn’t make it all the way, but we were close.
What was the interior like? It was easily five times as big as the usual escape the room games in Richmond. They also feature a lot of tech, like laser tripwires. You know in films when you’re like “how did they not see that laser beam?? It was so obvious.” It turns out laser beams are actually really hard to spot. We learned that the hard way. We did purchase a “detecting spray” to help us through, which was basically compressed air and water that can momentarily reveal the red lines that are not usually visible to the naked eye. But even then, it was hard to detect all the lasers.
There were also mechanized keypads all around the rooms, as well as motion sensors. Not going to give anything else away, but it was a pretty cool experience. The whole game lasted about 45 mins, with 15 mins on top of that for briefing and intro. They have small lockers to put away your phones and electronics, but it’s not big, so keep that in mind when you go there.
One really neat thing about G.U.E.S.S is that once in a while, you can win $1000 if you make the top score after finishing their rooms against other competitors. That’s something that really gets the competition and stakes going! One downside is that G.U.E.S.S. is more expensive than the usual escape the room games. For example, the more popular ones in Richmond are going for about $120 to $142/6 people, whereas ours was about $189/6 people. We bought an online deal, which lowered it to $79 though, so keep your eyes peeled.
I remember when I first when to an live escape the room game at EXIT Canada. Man things have changed.