Escman League had recently did our Singapore Escape Pilgrimage at the end of November 2015 and we had tons of fun. When we were there, we noticed there’s some difference between the games as well as operators which we wanted to do a Singapore vs Malaysia Escape Games post.
1. Game Master
Malaysia escape games operators usually have dedicated game masters to brief, guide, assist, hint, debrief you. No matter the circumstances, thru thick or thin, the game master are always there and Escman League has always loved a good game master as he/she would make a big difference on how we feel towards the end. We’d often would play more if we get good game master as well.
Singapore escape games operators on the other hand, due to expensive labor, the operators couldn’t afford that many game masters to be stationed there. Hence the overall experience falls short, as help doesn’t come as privileged, and we even got a false hint, as the operator thought we were in another room.
We still feel escape game operators are in the service industry and having a good game master will often leave the players with good experiences.
Malaysia: + 1 point
Almost all Malaysia escape games operators brief the players the same way: The game master will group all the players together, explain on the precautions (nothing on the ceiling, don’t need to move heavy furniture and please try not to spoil anything), then proceed to request for in-game requisites such as splitting up in groups, who to go first, etc.. and then tells the background story and why the players are there in the game. The story-telling part is only as good as the game master tells it, and we had experienced the good (Breakout’s Michael) and the bad, Rosie Ring once had no idea what the game master said because she had IAD (Indian-Accent Dysfunction).
Singapore escape games operators operates nearly the same way, but with one major difference where some of the operators tell their story-telling part using video briefing, complete with narrative voices and music to get the players immersed right from the start. Escman agrees that this method is much superior as the players’ experience would always be consistent. Encounter even did the video as if we’re watching a news report, narrating all the facts that can be disclosed.
Singapore: +1 point
[Update from Jing: Actually Lost in JB also has video briefing presented like a news coverage, hopefully KL rooms will catch up soon..]
3. Hint System
Malaysia escape games operators have quite a mix of different tools that are being used such as walkie-talkie, knock on the door, a phone, waving an item onto the camera.. but generally out of place from the escape games’ theme. More often than not, the game master would come in the game, noting on the puzzle we’re stuck, and either hint or give us the answer so the players could proceed. As helpful as this may be, I sometimes find it intrusive and would make the game not that immersive as we would be taken out of the game for a while.
Singapore escape games operators also uses the methods as the Malaysian counter part does, but they have systems that integrates which the theme better. Encounter, The Apartment uses a normal home phone to connect with players, which doesn’t feel intrusive while Lockdown, The Final Escape make use of the screen and send visual hints (this is a first for Escman), which is not intrusive as well. They also mentioned that other rooms have similar setup where the players get visual clue from screens.
Singapore +1 point
Malaysia escape games operators honestly does the debriefing part better, solely because the Singapore part is nearly non-existent. Although we don’t get a full debrief every time we play, but we appreciate every time we get it. This is due to the fact that a lot of times where many players are not aware of what’s happening, a full debrief will ensure everyone is clear on how each puzzle is solved. Moreover, as paying customers, we feel that the players should have the rights to know the answers if they chose to.
Singapore escape games operators, most probably due to labor expense, couldn’t afford to spend a lot of time debriefing, hence leaving the clueless players….clueless. Even if we managed to get out, some of us would just bewildered on all the things that happened.
I do hope there might be video debriefing as well, adding in story prologue, as well as the walk through.
Malaysia +1 point
So.. who won? The results are:
Malaysia: 2 – Singapore: 2
(A Tie? Nobody won? Isn’t this a knockout between Singapore vs Malaysia Escape Games?) Yea.. but the article is just trying to let the operators know how they could improve and for the players to know what to expect. All in all, we’re still in love with the same industry.
Make friends, not enemies.