What makes us thankful? In the world of Room Escape often it’s the little things. A group playing one of our rooms and telling us how much they enjoyed it… a fun day in the control booth… just generally feeling fulfilled by the strange and wonderful work we get to do. Other days it’s the big things. With the wildfires in California leading up to Thanksgiving, we’re thankful our employees are safe, thankful our places of business survived, and thankful for the tireless work of the brave people in the emergency services that protected us and our families in these scariest of times.
What’s interesting is that, in turn, these larger concerns make us thankful that we continue to experience the other little things that got us through the day previously. One of the survivors from Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger’s ‘Miracle on the Hudson’ said in a TED talk that, following the accident, he found renewed joy in simple things like going to his daughter’s ballet recital. It’s almost hilarious that the human condition puts familiarity in the same camp as boredom. We love things so much we keep them close to us, and in doing so we stop noticing why we decided we wanted them close in the first place. It’s sad that mortality is one of the few wake up calls we recognize. Our impetus to care shouldn’t just be the fear of death.
But what can we do? In a society of excess, familiarity doesn’t necessarily breed contempt, but it does regularly breed boredom. How do we stop ourselves falling in to those cycles? How do we keep ourselves connected to each other? How do we stay thankful, when we know that saying thank you every day makes the words lose their taste?
It may sound strange to say, but experiences like Room Escape may be, at least part of, the solution. We challenge players to look at a space that, at first glance, appears familiar and safe, but is then revealed to be treacherous, challenging, and possessing of hidden fathoms. We throw down the gauntlet for them to look harder at their surroundings, to do more for the simple things. Things as simple as, say, unlocking the door to a room.
More than that, we challenge people to see those they are escaping with differently. Your romantic partners, your family, your co-workers… Room Escape refreshes their context to you. Seeing them succeed in adversity is emboldening for you and for them. You might think to yourself, “aren’t I glad they’re on my team?” Room Escape creates a safe context where you can be thankful; challenge you with the thrill of potential failure, and gift you with the joy of success against the odds.
This is by no means the be all and end all. Room Escape is no magic bullet, if it were doctors would prescribe it. But as we are in the season of thankfulness, let us be thankful. Thankful for the cups of coffee and kisses on the cheek that get us through the day. Thankful for our health and our prosperity that afford an opportunity as simple as reading this blog entry on whatever device you have at your fingertips right now. And let us strive to always keep our perspectives fresh, to keep ourselves thankful. Let us look for the things that make us want to run in to the arms of those we love with renewed passion. And let us hope that those things are not life threatening disasters, but rather affable strangers locking us in strange rooms for the purpose of puzzle solving hijinks.
Thomas Burns Scully