Reality is a Game

Thoughts on the evolving game world around us.

Escape The Game: My Book On How To Make Escape Rooms

I wrote a book about how to make escape rooms. If you are thinking of opening an escape game or are wondering what goes on behind-the-scenes at an escape room this book is for you.

Escape the Game: how to make escape rooms

Escape the Game is all about how to make escape rooms. It goes beyond only design issues to the business issues that concern escape room creators based on the broad questions that have come my way as a consultant, game designer, and professor of game design.

I’ve worked on escape rooms and have blogged about them (On Designing Escape Games For The Real World and Tips on Designing Room Escape Games), so I figured it was about time I write out my thoughts in a more coherent manner. Thus, the book Escape the Game took shape.

Escape the Game cast of characters.

Escape the Game cast of characters.

I was inspired to write Escape the Game by playing escape rooms that made major, but easily fixed, game design mistakes. I hope to inspire designers to think holistically, to think about their escape rooms as more than the sum of their parts.

Escape the Game book cover

Get my book Escape the Game to find out even more ways to design your escape room.


Indeed, the first draft was just answers to questions that people have emailed me because of the popularity of my posts on designing escape rooms. Escape the Game is now more than that.

Escape the Game looks at the high-concept aspects of making escape games like issues around game flow. The later half of the book goes into aspects of making escape rooms that escape room owners wish they knew before they started; practical things like what to charge and legal issues unique to escape rooms.

I address the most common questions that people have about designing, making, and running escape rooms. I want anybody who designs puzzles and challenges to know that the mechanics are the message. If there is a disconnect between the mechanics of a puzzle and what you’re trying to convey to the players then it makes for a lacklustre play experience.

You can get a good idea of what’s in the book from the table of contents:

Get Escape the Game on Amazon now to learn how to make escape rooms!

Get To Know Marshall McLuhan

Marshall McLuhan was a very influential thinker who changed the way we think about media at large. He argued that the medium is the message when it comes to understanding popular culture. If you grew up in Canada you may remember this Heritage Minute:

McLuhan was a visionary and here all I hope do to is get you interested in learning more about him and his thinking. In the first week back in class he came up twice with one of my classes looking directly at his work. Due to many students asking for more information, here is a very quick look into McLuhan and his impact on media, culture, and humanity.

The term “the global village” was coined by McLuhan and has been used ever since to describe the interconnectedness of the planet thanks to technology. His impact was large and you can get a good idea of the complexity of his thinking and its impact in the documentary below.
The documentary, This is Marshall McLuhan: The Medium is the Massage, is a great introduction to the thinking of McLuhan.

If you’re interred in hearing more from McLuhan, you can check out and the McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology at the University of Toronto (check out their events). And here is giving a great interview on ABC:

Part 1
“A baseball game without an audience would be a rehearsal only.”

Part 2
“Participation in replay is a form of pattern recognition that is new in new media.”

part 3
He uses the word Orient so much I think he should’ve read some Edward Said.

How To Play An Ancient Mesopotamian Board Game

This is really cool, a curator at the British Museum found out how to play an ancient Mesopotamian game! He did so by searching through the museum’s archives and chancing across a cuneiform with seemingly bizarre instructions. Nobody else figure out what it was until his love of the game and that particular cuneiform crossed paths.

Irving Finkel has possibly the coolest job in the world – he’s curator of cuneiform at the British Museum!

Since 1979 he’s been trawling the Museum’s 130,000 clay tablets for clues about life in ancient Mesopotamia. In this film, he tells us about a particular tablet he found that contains the rules of a board game – a board game that he’s been obsessed with since childhood!

Thanks to a ghost.

ESAC Releases Essential Facts 2015

Every year the Entertainment Software Association of Canada (ESAC) releases a neat document with the essential facts about Canada’s video game industry. This year’s is similar to previous years in that breaks down the player demographics and provides some serious numbers on how well the games industry in Canada is doing.

ESAC2015

You can see the full Essential Facts About the Canadian Video Game Industry here.

From their press release:

“Canada’s video game industry plays a positive and vital role in our economy,” said Jayson Hilchie, President and CEO of the Entertainment Software Association of Canada (ESAC). “It’s a highly skilled, highly paid industry that employs young creative people; it’s demonstrating how Canada can create jobs and prosperity, export its creativity around the world and ultimately lead in the new economy of the future,” he added.

The growth experienced in 2014 is partially owed to innovation in the video game industry, including the introduction of a new generation of consoles into the market, but also other factors like huge Canadian blockbusters hitting the market, a continued explosion in popularity of mobile games (which accounted for 65% of all completed projects in 2014) and because of a positive business climate for video game developers in a majority of Canadian provinces.

Companies’ outlook for the future continues to be positive, with several companies expecting the growth rate to continue over the next two years. In fact, it’s estimated that 1377 jobs will need to be filled in technical and creative roles in the next 12-24 months.

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