Location: Fairfax, VA
Players: 2-8 (We recommend 4-5)
Price: $27 per person
Time to Escape: 60 minutes
Back to the Future!
From the Escape Room Fairfax website:
You and your teammates are customers of a booming new company, New Horizon Tours, which offers trips to dozens of locations across time and space. Today’s tour: The History of Time Travel, which starts…in the 1960s? In the past few years (of the sixties, that is), INSPiRE Laboratories has been rising in the public eye and offers many innovations for your home and family, but there may be more behind its cheerful façade.When you arrive on location, your tour guide is nowhere to be found, but when the offices of INSPiRE LABS lie just down the hall, curiosity gets the best of you, but with nobody tending to your device, it leaves without you! You will need to seek out a new way to return to your own time in one or be stuck in the 60s forever. Can you make it back to modern times? You’ll be successful either way, if you want to wait 50-60 years.
2233: Fighting for the Future was our favorite room at Escape Room Fairfax so far, and 1960: History of the Future is the asymmetric partner/prequel and/or sequel to that room, so I was interested to see how the stories interacted as well as how the room was paced to match up with 2233 during competitive games. The lobby was split down the middle via designs inspired by the two separate themes, so we knew that the set design would be appropriate, at least!
Subtle, but appropriate.
As a tie in to 2233, 1960: History of the Future is a cool follow up, if not quite as exciting. Easter eggs that reference each other are sprinkled throughout both rooms, and the experience is certainly more cohesive having done both rooms. Some of the storyline is fleshed out better having done both rooms, and seeing some of the tech from the previous room as it is being invented is a lot of fun. The set design feels very 60’s, and while not quite as flashy as the designs within 2233 by virtue of their highly different time periods, it still manages to overcome being “just an office,” with touches here and there that feel dated without feeling dated. Sound design was interesting, and media used within the room was fantastic, lending an authentic feel to the experience.
The game flow worked well for the most part, with a non-linear design that kept us fully engaged with the experience. Tech puzzles abounded, and while it wasn’t a futuristic room, the tech felt as though it belonged and lent a retro-sci-fi feel to the game as a whole. Some really great interactions, tinged with a bit of humor, elevated some of the puzzles, and there were a few really clever puzzles that were hinted in subtle, but intuitive ways. The ending of the game definitely felt more climactic than the end of 2233, and made more sense overall, leaving us with a certainty that this game had the better ending in terms of story and game.
For how authentic some of the set design feels, some of it is entirely too authentic, with horribly loud desk drawers and creaky old set pieces that added some unintended frustration to the game. Searching the room sometimes devolved into a cacophony of horrible sounds that reduced us to being unable to think, and unfortunately, a can of WD-40 was not at hand. The puzzles included within the game could feel disjointed at times, dropping out of the theming and feeling random rather than purposefully designed with story in mind. While everything in 2233 felt like part of a futuristic lab with high tech machinery, 1960 tended to have some interactions that were included “because escape room.” It was a little immersion breaking, especially when some puzzles involved some banal office sorting or a placement puzzle who’s inclusion was just tenuous at best. One late game puzzle caused a bit of frustration due to the similarities between two categories that weren’t clearly differentiated enough to ensure that the solve ran smoothly.
While not as cohesive or flashy as 2233, 1960: History of the Future is a serviceable game, and an interesting tie in to it’s companion experience. I would recommend checking it out in tandem with 2233, but would suggest doing it first, as it is definitely not as exciting as 2233 on the whole. Book your time in INSPiRE’s 1960’s lab here!
Full Disclosure: Escape Room Fairfax provided media discounted tickets for this room.