Escape USA’s grand opening is today in the old Wal-Mart shopping center on Stewart Parkway in Douglasville.
Although this marks the first escape room in Douglasville, Escape USA joins the Hidden Escape in Lithia Springs to become the second escape room in Douglas County. Escape USA co-owner Candy Yu said she looks forward to partnering with Hidden Escape, as well as Way Out Games in Carrollton.
“In this industry, we don’t really feel like it’s competition,” Yu said. “Because everybody’s rooms are different. Everybody’s concept is different. So to me and to my husband (co-owner Dante Guillermo), for both of us, that’s not treated as a competition ... it’s a partnership. We all have to work together to bring the entertainment, to bring the spending, and to bring the economy back into Douglasville. We can’t do that by ourselves. We have to have the community to support and other people’s support.”
Video students from Douglas County High School have already helped the escape room out with filming some of the footage used in the rooms.
The concept of escape rooms in America is fairly new.
Hidden Escape first opened in June and Yu said she didn’t even think about owning her own until the beginning of this year. Before Hidden Escape opened, Yu had to take her kids to an escape room in Marietta. After the commute and waiting for the kids to finish the game, she said the trips usually took a couple of hours. However, she said she didn’t mind taking the trips because it meant that her kids were getting out of the house and not staring at video games and screens all day.
“That's something we felt as parents we needed to do. So no, I don't think that would be a terrible competition. Competition is a good thing,” Yu said.
Escape rooms have been described as an adventure for any participant. Escape USA welcomes all visitors from age 7 to 110. Participants are put in a themed room and are given one hour to solve the given mystery using clues and solving puzzles around the room. One of Yu’s favorite parts of escape rooms is that they force participants to interact and come together as a team with others, even strangers.
“It’s extremely important for communication skills and collaboration skills,” Yu said.
In the modern digital age of smartphones and gadgets, Yu said communication has become a lost skill among today’s youth.
“I think it’s very sad,” Yu said. “Give a ranking of 1 to 10, I think our kids’ communication skills are probably ranking between 4-5 nowadays. They can text faster than I can say ‘hey.’ But they don’t have a lot of interpersonal communications outside the school. Most of the time, it’s just through computers. That’s part of the concept of creating this game and part of the reason why this game became so popular in Asian countries. It’s because you allow the kids to have actual interactions. Live-interactions with other people.”
The minimum required for each party attending is two for a room and the maximum is 10 people per room.
The three rooms available at the venue are the 1920 Speakeasy Murder Mystery, the Doomsday Bunker Escape, and the Quest for Thorne.
Escape Room USA will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. You can book a time by visiting escapeusallc.com or by calling 770-693-5766.