I don’t think I’m very clever. I remember watching Frasier when I was younger and envisaging the highbrow conversations about Art and Literature I’d have with my pals when I was a grown up. Instead my ‘special talents’ include quoting lines from Friends and I’ve never been to the opera. I don’t think I’m exactly Mensa material!
Myself and Richard Carter have been sporadically hosting events under the #toontweetup guise on Twitter as a way of bringing NE people together. The idea was born out of the fact it took years for some of us to actually meet in the flesh, even though we usually tweeted amongst ourselves every day. Rather than propping up a bar, I suggested we tried an activity meetup this time round, and found out about Exit Newcastle through a Facebook friend. He’d recently tried it and said it was great, so we booked in. Unfortunately the turn out wasn’t as good as usual, probably because 11:30am on a Sunday was not everyone’s cup of tea!
That aside, I was very impressed with the interior design of the building. We felt from the moment we walked through the door that we were part of the story. Exit is a live action escape game. We were locked in a room with an hour to solve a number of clues and challenges in order to exit. I won’t give too much away as once you’re there it is self-explanatory. We watched a video which set the scene, and the countdown clock began!
Because I don’t rate my own intelligence I was worried about the logic elements of the game, especially with people I don’t know. We all had our strengths though, and I felt we worked really well as a team. We had a team of 4, and I personally think any more than 6 participating might make it difficult. We managed to find the exit, and told it was completed in a reasonable time. The best ever time is 32.15, which was apparently a group of 16 year olds. Clearly we’re getting dumber as we grow older!
Raf and I both said Exit would be great for families or for corporate team building, but because we’d already gone through the game there’d be no point in repeating until there’s a new story released. Brad, the owner, told us they’re working on new rooms and stories at present. I decided to book Jnr in with some of his friends to see how well they performed in contrast, especially as they’re supposed to be a bunch of clever lads.
Jnr’s visit happened after school on Friday. Exit is open everyday until 10pm so it was easy to plan this and ,as it’s not far from Central Station, the boys just jumped on a Metro after school and met me there. When I arrived the boys were sat very quietly in reception – very unnerving 😉 Brad tried to explain things to them but I could tell they weren’t listening. Typical teenagers, always thinking they know best! I went into the room with them for the purposes of this blog, but I really should have stayed downstairs and watched them via the monitor. They were told that they could ask for help via the transmitter in the room, but if you do that it deducts time from the allotted hour you’re given. Without help from myself and Brad, who could see them struggling, they would not have completed it. So much for the bright minds of the future!
Based on this experience I’d say family groups would work better when teens are involved. Clearly they get far too easily distracted these days. Funnily enough, it was Jnr and his competitive spirit (I have no clue where he gets that from, by the way! ;)) that meant they got out with just over a minute to spare. He said he couldn’t wait to return with us when there’s a new game, so he clearly enjoyed the experience.
After all of that mental and physical exertion the boys were hungry and I’d arranged a table at Zapatista in advance. Trying to order for 4 teenage boys in an already busy eatery was difficult, and I had to apologise to those around me for the procrastination on their part. Jnr is a regular with us when we visit but the other boys had never been before. They liked the fact their food was made to order, especially Jnr’s friend who likes super hot food! I’d like to say the food kept them quiet but unfortunately it didn’t! Jnr and I had a portion of Nachos each, while the others had Fajitas and Burritos. I was also educated on the difference between the two – a Burrito is filled with a number of ingredients like rice and beans, whereas a Fajita contains meat and vegetables. You learn something new every day.
It was lovely to meet with the owner of Zapatista – Chris – while we were there, and had a chat about the blog. We were very kindly given some Churros for dessert, which the boys demolished in a few seconds. Raf didn’t even get a look in! It was also nice of them to reserve a table for us, which is something they don’t normally do. It was hard enough dealing with teenage boys without the stress of not being able to get a table. I don’t know how people have more than one child! The boys really enjoyed the relaxed vibe and food during their visit, and it was also an inexpensive trip for me as food and drinks for the 6 of us came to just under £36.
More information can be found about Zapatista in our previous post here.
Exit Newcastle offer 20% discount to NHS staff. Just ask when booking for further information.
Thanks for reading,