Escape rooms are all the rage now and, thanks to Ford, I got to experience one in New York. Ford and New York State’s I LOVE NEW YORK campaign collaborated with puzzle master, Victor Blake to create the first “driveable” Escape the Room game with the 2017 Ford Escape.
When I arrived at the staging area– Moynihan Station at the back of the old post office on 34th St., I was immediately asked for my team name. Wait, what? Do I need one, I asked. Well, yeah, its a team competition they said. Competition?! I didn’t see that info in the invite. Suddenly, I needed some coffee. The Ramblers, I said thinking that the name was worthy of a kick-ass winning team. The Ford crew seemed impressed but they probably reacted that way to all the team names.
After I killed some time taking pics of the Ford Escape on display two more journalists showed up and they bundled us into a three-person team.
After a brief walk-around of all the new features on the Escape we were sent on our way with the warning that the vehicle’s safety features might come in handy
Room one, was a replica of a studio apartment. We each took a section of the room until a hint on the desk led us to a cell phone with a hint on the lock screen about breakfast. We ran to the kitchen and found the door key inside a box of cereal.
Next, was a hallway with a few car pictures along the wall. Each picture had a number on the corner of the frame. Once you arranged the cars in order of their real world release, listing their frame number yielded the door code for the next door. Thank goodness there were people to help us along the way.
We drove the Escape to the next station. A coffee shop drive through where the clues were embedded in the car’s playlist. The song “title and registration” for example directed us to the car’s glovebox for the next hint.
Next stop? An office where each of us had to collect a set of numbers that ended up equalling a phone number.
I won’t walk you through each and every room but I wanted you to get a sense of what you’re in for if you you ever decide to do it.
Generally, the Ramblers were over-thinkers. When we found the phone in the mock apartment we recalled the unlock code we’d seen a Ford member use earlier. Sounds smart, right? Yep too smart. All we had to do was look at the still-locked lock screen.
Likewise, when I had to find my portion of the office phone number I was prompted to respond to an email asking for specific business info. I blew a ton of time trying to find the requested info on the desk somewhere when it turns out all I had to do was SEND A BLANK email. My previously friendly teammates turned on me in a second (see photo). Yeesh. lol!
My takeaway is that escape rooms can be a lot of fun as long as you can think in simple terms. In the process of driving the Ford Escape through the rooms I got to experience the sound system, keyless entry, the rearview backup camera and most amazingly the automated parking system that does both parallel parking and backs you into spaces behind you.