Escape Games Go Virtual for Online Teambuilding
With many people working from home and attending more videoconferences and virtual events than ever before, boosting attendee morale and engagement while combating digital fatigue has become a big area of focus for event organizers. That’s where teambuilding activities such as virtual escape rooms come in. These digitized versions of the popular in-person puzzle-solving games make for fun and engaging additions to any virtual event. Along with spurring collaboration and creative thinking, the interactive mind-benders also promote learning, networking and a spirit of play.
“It’s more important than ever to keep your valued employees [and attendees] motivated and energized,” explains Chad Michael, owner of AdVenture Games Inc., a nationwide teambuilding company that offers 12 face-to-face experiences, four of which are offered virtually. “Incorporating teambuilding activities such as escape rooms into virtual conferences is a great way to create real connections while elevating the energy of the event.”
Designed to initially fool participants into thinking they are watching a safety webinar, AdVenture Game’s virtual Situation Room is a fast-paced, choose-your-own-adventure puzzle room game set to a movie. Over video conferencing software such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams or Cisco Webex, teams of 10 people or less work together in virtual breakout rooms to compete to be the first to crack codes, decipher clues and give direction to the field agent characters in the film.
“Many of our clients have integrated our Situation Room escape game in their meetings to break up the monotony of working solo and sitting through hours of video conferences,” Michael says. “They love the surprise it gives their coworkers and the chance to reconnect on a social level.”
Besides encouraging participants to forge connections with teammates as they collaborate under pressure, Situation Room players are challenged to hone their skills in observation, data recollection and time management as they cultivate individual and team-think. Able to handle hundreds of participants at once, each of the company’s virtual experiences was created to hook participants in with energetic hosts delivering smart fun, strategic play and compelling storytelling, Michael adds.
According to Sharon Fisher, “Idea Sparker” at Las Vegas- and Orlando-based Play With a Purpose, escape games are an ideal platform for blending virtual content, messaging and learning in a highly experiential and attention-grabbing manner. The company offers more than 300 in-person experiences and events and almost three dozen virtual games and activities.
“You can enhance training programs, introduce new learning, share vital updates and test for understanding of the [educational] material in a unique and fun way,” Fisher says. “Everyone’s unique talents, backgrounds and skills are brought to the forefront.”
For example, the company’s Infinite Loop Online escape game can host groups of up to 500 people at one time. Based on the story of a teenager lost in cyberspace, the game engages teams of 3-4 players, who take turns inside a “virtual chamber” while teammates work together to unlock doors and release the boy from his virtual cell.
“It’s a great networking platform because just as in the real-world games, you get to spend quality time with friends and other participants, you get to show off your puzzle-solving skills, and you have to collaborate – no one can win alone,” Fisher explains.
Virtual escape games also give organizers the opportunity to increase event revenues by offering sponsors the chance to showcase their brands in a fun and lighthearted way, for example, through branded clues and logo placements throughout the game. Just be sure to pick an experienced gaming company that not only understands the complexities of the virtual space but can also customize your experience to fit the mission and messaging of your organization and audience, Fisher adds.