Escaping Stanford Elementary Final Writeup


Sreya Guha

Lisette Malacon

Jaylene Martinez

Jasmine Rodríguez

Jasmine Shih


Artist’s Statement

Escaping Stanford Elementary is an immersive escape room experience where players assume the role of a toy longing to reunite with their owner, Jonah. Our game takes place in the whimsical confines of an elementary school where the toys are sentient beings equipped with their own stories and wishes. Pushed by their strong desire to return home, the players go on an exciting journey, encountering fellow toys to aid their escape. We wanted our game to foster fellowship as players work together, sharing their unique perspectives and skills to uncover the secrets of each room.

Beyond the mechanics, our game embraces the power of storytelling. The embedded narrative unfolds as the players progress through each room and encounter different toys. Each toy shares their unique experience at Stanford Elementary which allows the players to develop a sense of empathy for the toys that are helping them escape. The puzzles are designed to strike a balance between difficulty and fun. We have a mix of low, medium, and high difficulty puzzles which provide a satisfying level of challenge that rewards out of the box thinking.

Escaping Stanford Elementary seamlessly integrates fantasy, fellowship, narrative, and challenge, creating an experience that taps into childlike curiosity and wonder. We invite players to rediscover the joy of discovery and encourage players to let loose and use their creativity to guide them back to Jonah.

Poster for our escape room



Because our escape room takes place in an elementary school, we wanted our game spaces to simulate the experience of being in the different rooms of a school. For this reason, three different game spaces represent three different rooms of a school: a storage room, a classroom, and a music room. The diagram below demonstrates the final layout of our escape room, taking place in rooms 303, 307, and 310 of Durand.

Escape Room Map

The Storage Room is in room 303 for it somewhat resembles a storage room due to the many bags and boxes already in the room. We enhanced this aesthetic by placing extra storage boxes and toys on the room’s table.

The Classroom is in room 307 because it already resembles the layout of a small classroom with its whiteboard, long table, and chairs. By writing the lesson of the day on the whiteboard and taping educational posters on the wall, we furthered the aesthetic of an elementary school classroom.

The Music Room is in room 310. Although this room didn’t initially have anything in line with the theme of music, we were able to take advantage of the whiteboards and tables already in the room, drawing music notes on the board and placing a functional, auditory piano on the table. Because this was our last room, we needed a way to make the player feel like they escaped while still being inside of the room. To do this, we used rolling whiteboards to create makeshift sliding doors that act as the final exit for our escape room and reveal another whiteboard that directly informs the player that they have escaped and arrived at their desired destination.

Mind Map

We initiated the design process by engaging in a brainstorming session focused on the mechanics of our game. As a result, we developed a concept map that played a vital role in shaping our choices regarding the fundamental components and principles of our game.

Concept Map

Initial Decisions

In our initial concept document, we identified our target audience to be “teenagers and older due to the somewhat creepy tone of the escape room.” As we progressed through the creation of our game, we changed the mood and tone of our game. Though there was still an element of mystery, it was no longer scary and haunting. Even the final obstacle the player(s) have to face in the form of an evil character is presented to be ultimately sympathetic. In hand, our target audience somewhat changed. Though we still think teenagers and older are the ideal age group due to the challenging nature, we adjusted our target audience to be individuals who are interested in solving puzzles and mysteries.

Our game takes on the form of embedded narrative. As the player navigates through the game and solves different puzzles, they are forced to update their mental maps and use various clues and information to successfully finish the escape room. The player faces an evolving narrative that is crucial to helping them win the game.

The primary types of fun in our game are narrativefantasychallenge and fellowship. We originally envisioned our game to just have the first three types of fun mentioned. In our game, abandoned toys are “alive” and tell their stories to the players. The player is also required to solve puzzles and use hints and clues to make their way out. Upon playtesting the puzzles in the first room, we realized that our game was best played with two players. This way, players could bounce ideas off each other and importantly, the game was neither too hard nor too easy. After initial playtests in section and class, we adjusted our game to have two players, making fellowship a key part of the game.

In regards to space, we designed our game to make use of three separate rooms. In each room, players are encouraged to explore the space to find clues with sequences of puzzles and clues ultimately leading to the key to the following room. Though limitations mean that there is no physical “exit,” these spaces are intended to convey a journey through the setting of our game, the elementary school, with the last room being the final barrier before an exit into the real world.

Testing and Iteration History

We completed five total playtests. Overall, our playtests went really well. Playtesters thought the narrative was well-developed and enjoyable to unfold. They also felt the escape room captured the right level of difficulty: difficulty between games was varied, but nothing was overly complex or impossible to solve. Lastly, playtesters enjoyed the mix of puzzle types. Our escape room features puzzles that make you think, puzzles that utilize the physical space, analog puzzles, digital puzzles, puzzles with sound, puzzles that can stand alone versus puzzles that utilize knowledge from previous puzzles. In this section, we outline notable insights and changes from each playtest.

Guiding Questions

For Playtest #1 and Playtest #2 done in class, our guiding questions were: do the puzzles exhibit a diverse level of difficulty? Was the narrative clear and enjoyable to engage with?

For the remaining playtests done in full, we added: how is the flow between puzzles and rooms? Are transitions between puzzles clear and easy to navigate? How is the mix of physical and brain puzzles?

Playtest #1 and Playtest #2

Playtest #1

Playtest #2

Our first two playtests were completed during class and section, so we tested the puzzles in isolation as we were not in the physical space of our escape room. For these puzzles, we only playtested Puzzle #1 through Puzzle #6. All puzzles were completed in between 2 and 5 minutes, and were solved without hints. Notable insights and resulting changes from these two playtests are detailed below:



Stories were too text heavy. While this did a great job developing the narrative, the amount of text was overwhelming.

Cut stories to be ¾ of a page (instead of a full page). Added graphics to break up the text on each page and bring each letter to life. Made the final puzzle in Room 3 audio based.

We originally planned for our escape room to work for one to four people. We ended up having playtesters work in teams of two, and found that worked really well. Since the puzzles didn’t have more than one thing to solve at once, more than two people may have led to unequal distribution of work. With two people, players were able to bounce ideas off of each other and were less prone to getting stuck.

Set our numbers of players to be two.

At this point, we also addressed feedback from our TA about the cohesiveness of our narrative from Checkpoint 2. We worked to make the origin stories of the “player” (in our case, the “player” was a team of two) and the toys more clear throughout the narratives. This included emphasizing that the player was trying to escape Stanford Elementary to make it home to their owner, Jonah. Finally, in each toy’s story, we articulated why they were in their specified location (e.g., why they were in storage, why they got moved to the classroom).

Playtest #3

Playtest #3

Our next playtest was done in full: all 8 puzzles were tested, and playtesters were actually in the physical space of our escape room. With this playtest, we were able to test the flow between puzzles and rooms. Changes from the previous playtests and round of feedback from our TA were implemented for this playtest.



One of the playtest teams required a hint to solve Puzzle #2, and we didn’t have a fleshed out hint system in place.

Altered the end of Pinky’s story (this was alongside the puzzle they got stuck on) to be more clear about the information required to solve the puzzle. Implemented hint system for escape room at large: each puzzle will come with an envelope labeled HINT with a single hint inside to help solve the puzzle. Puzzles are designed to be able to be solved without hints, so to discourage players from using hints, a limit of two hints will be implemented (players can only open two HINT elements throughout the game).

Puzzle #6 was guessable; players could guess the correct multiple choice answers without actually having to read through the narrative.

Increased the number of answer choices from 3 to 5 to decrease the probability of guessing the correct answer.

Players were confused when the escape room ended; it wasn’t clear that they had completed the final puzzle. Overall, the narrative of the final puzzle and room was not as clear as it was for the other rooms.

Created a pseudo “door” with moveable whiteboards in the room that players can go through at the end of the escape room. Developed multiple audio components for the room to make the narrative more clear: (1) an opening speech that is played when the players enter the room, (2) a closing audio that signals to the players that they properly solved the puzzle and tells them to go through the “door.” Created a “You escaped!” drawing on the other side of the “door” so the players know the game has ended. This drawing includes a picture of Jonah’s House to tie back to the original goal outlined at the beginning of the narrative.

At this point, we added some elements to further develop the aesthetics of our escape room. First, we decided to rename the three rooms to Storage Room, Classroom, and Music Room to better align with the theme of the puzzles in each room. In our concept doc, we had named them Storage Room, Play House, and Classroom, but this was before we created our final puzzle that has a music theme. As our escape room requires a lot of setup and takedown, and we wanted to avoid distracting players from the actual puzzles, we kept such elements to a minimum. We added some decorations (extras toys and boxes in the storage room, writing on whiteboard in the classroom and music room) and labeled the outside of each room to create a physical boundary between our escape room and the outside world.

Lastly, we received a second round of feedback from our TA at this point from Checkpoint 3. To further polish our materials, we updated the piano for our final puzzle to look more realistic (making the keys white instead of cardboard color, using printed numbers instead of handwritten numbers on the keys, and hiding laptop cords under a box). To further decrease the amount of text in our escape room, we transitioned the initial Player’s Story to audio.

Playtest #4

Playtest #4

Our next playtest was also done in full like Playtest #3, with changes implemented from the previous playtest and the second round of feedback from our TA. Because the two main changes since the last playtest were the new hint system and the audio narratives for the piano puzzle, our main goal was to test if the new additions to the escape room worked well, in addition to testing puzzles #1 through #8 with a new set of players.



Playtesters considered using hints at various points but ended up not needing any hints. Simply having hints available seemed to have made the players less stressed knowing they would have a way to move forward if they got really stuck.

No change: kept the hint system.

It wasn’t clear to the playtesters that they needed information from the previous two rooms to solve the piano puzzle (Puzzle #8). They requested the Rat audio to be played again, and once they heard the Rat mention the storage room, they made the connection between the piano puzzle and the colored numbers in the previous toy stories.

Printed out the Rat’s opening speech to place on the table next to the piano for the players’ reference.

The music note decoration on the whiteboard threw the players off – they thought they needed to know how to read music to solve the piano puzzle, because the decoration seemed like a specific sequence.

Scattered music notes randomly on the whiteboard (versus having an image that resembled a melody) to signal that they are just for decoration.

Through this playtest and the players feedback afterwards, we were able to confirm that the stories and puzzles were cohesive in narrative and covered a wide variety of puzzle types and difficulty levels. Changes from this playtest were focused on enhancing the experience of our final room.

Playtest #5

Playtest #5

Our final playtest was done in full, incorporating changes from the previous playtest. Since we had only made changes to the Music Room, we wanted to closely observe how the players solved the piano puzzle, in addition to getting more feedback on all of the puzzles as player experience level always influences the escape room experience.

It’s worth noting that this set of players was a lot more experienced with escape rooms and puzzles compared to our previous playtesters. At the start, they set out to complete the escape room in the shortest time possible, and they succeeded. They escaped in a little over 27 minutes; Playtest #3 and #4 were completed in closer to 45 minutes. The players had a lot of fun solving the puzzles with each other in all three rooms, and it was really satisfying to see that our escape room created both the challenge and fellowship types of fun for them. The final playtest was a success, with only one minor change to make:



The pause between the Rat falling asleep and the ending victory audio was a bit too long – the playtesters were standing there thinking “now what?” as they waited for something to happen.

Cut out the trailing two snores in the ending audio to eliminate the slightly awkward pause. This change is reflected in the final escape room materials.

Lastly, we received a final round of feedback from our TA (Krishnan) on our final playtest video. He suggested that we consider creating additional non-textual artifacts to accompany the toys. Through our playtests, we found that all playtesters became reasonably distracted by the extra elements in the room that were not associated with our puzzles. This included decorations on the whiteboard and the random stuffed animals we laid out. Though players got a little distracted by these things, they were able to quickly identify which materials were relevant. Adding additional artifacts so close in physical proximity to the toys, particular items that seemed “puzzle-like” (e.g., polaroid photos) may have confused the players; we were worried that players would try to utilize such artifacts to solve the puzzles. Since we didn’t have time to playtest this theory, we decided to not address this piece of feedback in our final materials.

Demonstration: Final Playtest Video


Here is a link to our final escape room materials, including all finalized puzzles.


Puzzle #1: Backstory

The Player’s Story details the backstory of the “player” (in our case, a team of two players), which introduces the narrative and the player’s POV. After reading this story, players understand that they themselves are a toy trying to find their way out of Stanford Elementary so they can return to their owner. The story also lets the players know that other toys will help them along the way, and introduces their location: the Storage Room.

Along with this story, a puzzle is laid out on the table. After putting the puzzle together, a photo of Ms. Carol’s Kindergarten class is revealed. A 4-digit code is written along the bottom of the puzzle, which opens the box labeled “Pinky.”

This puzzle is meant to be the easiest in the escape room. Starting off with an easy puzzle allows the players to become more invested in the narrative before taking on the more challenging parts of the escape room.

Puzzle #1: Puzzle of Ms. Carol’s Class

Puzzle #2: Pinky

Pinky is the first toy the players encounter. Her backstory reveals the meaning of the photo from Puzzle #1. Ms. Carol’s class was Pinky’s former home, and the photo is with Pinky and all of her friends. Pinky comes with Puzzle #2, the report card puzzle.

Puzzle #2: Report card puzzle and Pinky

In Pinky’s story, she asks the players for some help in figuring out how her friends have been doing since they moved on to Ms. Jenny’s 1st grade class. Pinky tells the player that they don’t like the gym, and don’t want to know if their friends are failing. From this, the players should determine that grades that are either an F or in Gym are irrelevant to solving the puzzle. The lack of Ds on the report card further signals to the players that they should separate the Fs from the rest of the grades.

At this point, there are only two locks left to open, and only one with a code. From this, the players know that they are trying to come up with a 3-digit code. The code is equivalent to [Number of As] [Number of Bs] [Number of Cs]: 427. The players should input the code in this order, as A is the first letter of the alphabet, B is the second letter of the alphabet, and C is the third letter of the alphabet. This code unlocks the second box, with Puzzle #3: Ellie.

Puzzle #3: Ellie

The box contains Ellie the Elephant and her story about being a dancing elephant who was stowed away in the storage room after getting kicked into a bucket of dirty mop water and becoming a “smellyphant”. The paper on which the story is printed is styled with a drawing of Ellie and was wet, dirtied, and dried to aesthetically support the idea that Ellie fell into the water and is now dirty.

Puzzle #3: Wet, dirty version of Ellie’s story

After having completed two more traditional paper puzzles, we wanted to switch things up and take advantage of the fact that our game revolves around toys. In the previous puzzle, the toy acted more as a narrator rather than as part of the puzzle. What better way to incorporate a toy into a puzzle than by making the toy itself the puzzle?

Puzzle #3: Ellie, zipper pouch on back, and hidden key

The end of Ellie’s story asks the player for their help to “take out the stench inside of [her]”. By directing the player’s attention toward the inside of the elephant, our intent is that the player discovers the opening in the back of the elephant and removes or searches through stuffing until they find a key hidden inside of her, the source of her stench. Because there is only one more locked box left in this room, it is intuitive to players that this key should be used to unlock the last remaining box, labeled “Ernie”.

Puzzle #4: Ernie

Solving Ellie’s puzzle leads players to a key with which to unlock the box. Upon opening the box, the players see a letter describing Ernie’s narrative along with the following cipher. Incorporating the cipher allowed for a more traditional puzzle – upon seeing it, players immediately know what it is and what it is used for (as proved by our playtesters).

Puzzle #4: Ernie and cipher

There is also a piece of paper with the text “A = n” in the box. This key allows players to line up the inner and outer cipher to have a transcription code.

In Ernie’s story, he details the mean toys that hid the key from him and not knowing what to do with the cipher. In particular, the names of the mean toys are listed out – the incorporation of the names is meant as a signal to the players that it could be important. Once players line up the cipher according to the key given, inserting the first letter of each mean toy’s name results in the word “TRASH.” If necessary, players can use a hint here that suggests they take a closer look at the toy’s names.

Upon arriving at the word “TRASH,” players can check the trash can to find the key to the next room – the classroom – beneath one of the trash cans. This key is accompanied by a sticky note that says “key to the classroom.”

Puzzle #5: BMO

After finding the key using the clues from Ernie’s puzzle, the players are able to unlock the Classroom where they first meet BMO: a toy inspired by the beloved game console from the show popular Adventure Time. The players find BMO alongside his letter which details his desire for adventure and willingness to help the players escape. Because BMO loves to play video games, he explains that he will help the players using a game that, when beaten, gives the players the password to LaptopLarry. The game is in the form of a riddle which gives clues about the order of 6 different colored houses. The player must enter the correct order of the houses using BMO’s little button and color sensor. If the color is correct, BMO tells them so and allows them to proceed to the next color. If the color is incorrect, the players must start over completely. We purposefully made the puzzle relatively simple since the players would have to interact with BMO’s color sensor which is not always the most reliable. We provided a balance between the difficulty of the puzzle and the difficulty of the device they were using to input the answer.

BMO’s frame was created with ¼ inch plywood that we cut using a laser cutter for features like BMO’s adorable face and LCD display. BMO’s buttons were created using a 3D printer and were later painted to match BMO’s color scheme. BMO’s technical features include an LCD display, a RGB sensor, a push button, a neopixel, and an Arduino Uno. Below, we have included an image which shows the wire scheme that allows BMO to function. The RGB sensor is activated by the press of a button once a color from the color wheel lays on top of it. BMO’s checks if the current color is in the correct position and gives the user visual feedback by making the neopixel the same color as the current color and telling the user if the color is correct on the LCD display. We wanted BMO to be a very visual and colorful component to convey BMO’s childlike playfulness.

Puzzle #5: Demo of how to use BMO

Puzzle #5: BMO’s internal structure

Puzzle #6: LaptopLarry

After receiving the password from BMO, players enter the password into the laptop terminal next to BMO to “reboot” LaptopLarry. LaptopLarry’s story follows the premise that he is a kids’ learning device but was replaced with newer devices called iPadricks. After his replacement, he was moved and became friends with Meghan.

Puzzle #6: LaptopLarry’s first dialogue upon rebooting

Text is printed out on the terminal using a delay effect to give the impression that LaptopLarry is “chatting” with the player. We intentionally used this effect to change the medium of which stories are presented to the player, learning about the toy at the same pace that the text is outputted on the terminal. During playtesting, players enjoyed this different medium as they stated that it made this part of the game feel less reading heavy and more easily digestible.

Because LaptopLarry is intended to mimic typical kid’s learning devices that we see on the market (i.e. LeapFrogs), this “puzzle” is intentionally designed to feel less like a puzzle and more like a comprehension challenge based on what LaptopLarry has taught the player. As such, LaptopLarry presents the player with two choices of what they’d like to learn about today: 1) Who is LaptopLarry? 2) How to meet Meghan.

Puzzle #6: Two choices

The first option results in LaptopLarry telling the player his story. The second option begins LaptopLarry’s Learning Labyrinth, quizzing the player’s reading comprehension on the facts all mentioned in LaptopLarry’s story. To promote our game’s overarching theme of narrative, LaptopLarry’s Learning Labyrinth cannot be correctly answered without knowing information from LaptopLarry’s story.

If the player selects option 2 without option 1, it’s still not too late for them to learn about LaptopLarry’s story. If they incorrectly answer any of the first two questions of the Labyrinth, then LaptopLarry will tell that player that learning about LaptopLarry helps and then proceeds to tell his story, ensuring that the player will have the information necessary to complete the Labyrinth.

Puzzle #6: Player answers reading comprehension question incorrectly

Incorrectly answering the last two questions of the Labyrinth results in LaptopLarry repeating the question, since at this point the player should have already seen what they need to correctly answer.

Puzzle #6: Player answers math question incorrectly

After correctly answering the four questions, LaptopLarry reveals Meghan’s location.

Puzzle #7: Meghan

Players receive Meghan’s location from LaptopLarry and find Meghan in the cabinet next to baby Yoda.

Puzzle #7: Meghan in the cabinet

Right next to Meghan is a set of batteries along with a battery case. Meghan’s narrative mentions a flashlight somewhere in the desks or cabinet. Players can find the flashlight by rummaging through the drawers. Intuitively, players then try to fit the batteries in the flashlight – this might take a couple tries to match up negatives/positives.

However, upon turning the flashlight on, players may realize that this is not an ordinary flashlight. Rather, it is a blacklight flashlight. We wanted to include this flashlight as part of the puzzle as it gives another dimension to the problems the player is solving and incorporates a more physical element.

Meghan’s narrative provides the hint for the next move – to learn your colors. Shining this blacklight flashlight on the posters in the room describing colors reveals a sign that looks like a play button. Players can search for this symbol around the room and will eventually find it on the whiteboard. Clicking this button allows the whiteboard to slide over revealing the next hint – look for all the plugpoints.

If users look at all the outlets and plug points, they will eventually find the key to the music room next to the outlets in the table. This key unlocks the third and final room.

Puzzle #7: Key to Music Room hidden near outlet

Puzzle #8: The Rat

Upon entering the Music Room, the player sees a rat plushie in front of two sliding doors, a digital piano with a screen on the table, as well as some decorations. This is the last puzzle before the player escapes and the only puzzle in this room. This room is fully digital and audio-based, and solving the puzzle requires the players to use information from the previous two rooms. This final puzzle design strengthens the narrative and creates a cinematic climax before the players’ escape.

Puzzle #8: Overview of Music Room

When the player enters, the Rat starts speaking through a Bluetooth speaker, revealing that it has been keeping all the toys from escaping and will not let the players pass. The Rat’s opening speech also explains why it despises toys and why the players should be afraid of it. We chose to make the “final boss” a real living rat in our narrative instead of the initial idea of having an evil toy, so that we can differentiate our story from Toy Story 3 (which has an evil bear) and also make the evil character more intimidating (since a rat can bite). In addition, we chose to make this room entirely digital and audio-based (but provide the Rat’s opening speech transcript) to create an immersive experience for the players.

There is a poster on the left sliding door that shows the quote “Where there’s music, there can be no evil,” and it’s meant to signal to the players that they can fight the Rat by playing music on the digital piano. On the piano screen, there are missing pieces represented by colored question marks. These colors (pink, gray, green, and red) are the same colors used in the highlighted numbers in Pinky’s, Ellie’s, Ernie’s, and Meghan’s stories. In the Rat’s opening speech, the Rat also mentions the toys that the players met earlier and demands that the players go back to the storage room. These references serve as clues for the players to return to the toys to find information they can use.

Puzzle #8: Left – The digital piano with numbered keys and a screen showing the puzzle; Right – a gif showing the the last line of the puzzle being completed

The players must play the correct notes through all 4 lines on the screen in order to solve the puzzle. If the players make a mistake when playing a shown note, the light yellow bar meant to track progress returns back to the very first note. When playing the notes corresponding to the question marks, the players will not know if they have made the correct guesses until all 4 lines have been played. Giving the players feedback only after they input all notes prevents players from simply trying all possible notes without solving the puzzle.

As the players play the correct notes, they may realize that it is the lullaby (by Brahms) that they are playing. When all 4 lines have been correctly played, the piano starts automatically playing the remainder of the lullaby. As the lullaby continues to play, the Rat starts speaking in a nervous voice, asking what the players are doing to it and then transitioning to a sleepy voice. Shortly after the Rat finishes speaking, a hidden car behind the Rat pulls the Rat down to symbolize that the Rat has fallen asleep, and a snoring sound effect is played. Next, a narrator audio congratulates the players and instructs them to escape through the sliding doors. The players exit and see a “You escaped!” message and a drawing showing a path to Jonah’s house. All of the visual and audio components in this room have been thoughtfully designed and timed with code to give the players a cinematic and immersive escape experience.

Puzzle #8: The players see a “You escaped!” message and a path to Jonah’s house as they exit through the doors

Tech Explanation for Puzzle #8

We made the digital piano keyboard with cardboard, aluminum foil, and a Makey Makey kit. When plugged into a computer, the Makey Makey kit allows you to map physical objects to computer keys using conductivity. The aluminum foil part of each piano key is hooked to a slot on the Makey Makey, and the bottom board serves as the “ground.” When a piano key is pressed, the circuit is connected through the Makey Makey and the corresponding computer key is activated.

Puzzle #8: Anatomy of the piano keyboard (key 7 is flipped over to shown what the back looks like)

To make the computer play piano sounds when the piano keys are pressed, we created a web page that plays different audio files on different key presses. The webpage is hosted through github pages: (The computer keys that would activate each note from 1 to 8 are up arrow, right, arrow, down arrow, left arrow, space, W, A, and S, respectively.) We programmed the web page such that when the lullaby sequence is played correctly, the web page makes an HTTP request to update a field in an AWS DynamoDB database to mark the puzzle state as solved.

Puzzle #8: Explanation of how the Rat and car mechanism are set up

To create the effect of the Rat falling asleep to the lullaby, we utilized a battery powered car that we built with a littleBits kit (borrowed from the Makery on campus). Specifically, we used a light sensor bit from the kit that can control the car based on how much light it’s receiving. This way, we are able to make use of a phone’s flashlight and browser to trigger the car to start. To achieve this, we built another web page for the phone that makes an HTTP request to check the puzzle state every couple seconds. When the piano puzzle is solved, the phone picks up the signal, playing the Rat’s falling asleep audio and turning on the phone flashlight to make the car go.

Puzzle #8: A close-up photo of the battery-powered car with light sensor

Puzzle #8: We don’t have a close-up video showing the car pulling the Rat (since the car was hidden from the players during playtests), but here’s a demo of how the car starts driving when the phone flashlight turns on and how it pulls an object down/away

Hint System

Here is a link to our hints that we created for our escape room. Each puzzle was coupled with an envelope that contained a single hint to help them solve the puzzle. To discourage use of hints (as the puzzles are meant to be solved without hints) players were only allowed to open 2 hints throughout the entire game.


Below is an image that details the flow of our escape room: how players move from puzzle to puzzle and room to room. Prior to letting the players into the storage room, we give them some quick ground rules on how to complete the escape room.

Escape Room Flow

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