To say a new business is opening on Marco Island would be an understatement. Not only is it a new business, but a brand new concept that, until now, has been reserved for metropolitan areas such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington D.C.
In a world dominated by smartphones and evolving technology, this is a refreshing change. “Think video games meet real life,” said co-founder, 15-year-old Marco Island resident Howie Jordan. “Instead of watching the character on a screen, you are the character.”
The real-life adventure game phenomenon started in 2007 in Japan. It’s extremely popular in Asia and has quickly spread throughout the United States. Marco Island’s Xtreme Escape Game is the first and only escape room in Southwest Florida.
“We tried our share of escape rooms this summer and loved them all. This is a perfect family activity for Marco Island and we are excited to open,” said co-founder Michelle Jordan. “It was really my two boys that pushed for this to open.” Howie and Josh (age 13) have grown up on Marco Island, and along with Michelle own and operate this new business.
Live escape rooms “lock” players in a room. They must find clues and solve puzzles as the timer counts down from 60 minutes.
The game is recommended for groups of 2-8 people. “The more brain power you have, the better chance you have to escape. It is interesting to watch how different groups communicate. Everyone has different skill sets. It will be a challenge to get out in 60 minutes,” Michelle explains.
Most rooms across the country have a 25-30% success rate. The Marco Island room will be about the same.
Although there is no age limit, Michelle suggests for their first room, “CellBlock M- Prove Your Innocence,” players be ages 12 and up.
Their website (www.xtremeescapegame.com) describes Cell Block M: “You have served 7 years of a life sentence for a murder you did not commit. The State of Florida has condemned the prison. All prisoners are being relocated to a new maximum security facility today. There is evidence somewhere in the prison that will prove your innocence. You have 60 minutes to find it before your transport arrives. This is your last chance for freedom!”
“You have to see it to believe it,” said Michelle. “Our goal is to have you feel the part, be the main character, feel the stress of the timer and work together.” They are hoping for a soft opening Halloween weekend. “What a great weekend for a prison break!” joked Michelle. If you are interested in booking the room that weekend, call 239-272-3090.
The second room is under construction. It promises to be very child-friendly. “In ‘Calico Jack’s Lost Treasure,’ you and your group will be searching for something very special left behind by Captain Jack,” says Michelle. They are hoping that room will open by Thanksgiving weekend.
A third room is in the works, Michelle tells us. “Our third room is still in the development stage but think Everglades, plane crash, alligators…we are still working on that. We have had inquiries from a few local businesses for team building events, and even a bachelorette party.”
By Christmas week they will be fully functional, hosting three rooms, Tuesday through Sunday. The posted hours are 4-10 PM. Xtreme Escape Game is located at 909 North Collier Blvd., next door to Little Caesars Pizza. The cost of admission is $29.50 per player. For more information go to their website at www.xtremeescapegame.com.