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Escape the Pyramid brings video game fun to life

Unlock the code at Escape the Pyramid

Like Pokemon Go, Escape the Pyramid makes a fun game real

Anyone who has tried Pokemon Go (is there anyone who hasn’t?) knows the fun of seeing a video game come to life.

Escape the Pyramid ready for the next group to try and crack the code

Escape the Pyramid ready for the next group to try and crack the code

That’s why people are crazy about live ‘room escape’ experiences that recreate the video game “The Room,” where users unlock doors using clues and puzzles. While there are Room Escape businesses all over the world, you only have to travel to Guinda Street in Palo Alto to try one for yourself.

A school project launches a summer job

Leo Vershel, creator of Escape the Pyramid

Leo Vershel, creator of Escape the Pyramid

Escape the Pyramid is the brainchild of local high school student Leo Vershel, who first created his game in his parents’ garage as a project for Nueva High School.

When Leo showed a video of the game at a Nueva event and was swarmed by kids who wanted to try it, he decided to launch it as a summer enterprise.

“My parents wanted me to work over the summer,” Leo said. “I did the math and realized that I could make much more money running Escape the Pyramid than I could working in another kind of job.”

How Escape the Pyramid works

Using an online booking system, clients reserve Escape the Pyramid for a specific time and date. When they arrive, Leo greets them in the persona of a explorer who is excavating an pyramid in ancient Egypt, pith helmet and all.

two puzzlers hard at work

two puzzlers hard at work

He explains that the group has been trapped in the room and they have one hour to solve the puzzles and before the pyramid collapses.

How hard is it to escape the pyramid’? Um, really hard

Without giving too much away, Leo explained that the puzzles in his game are interlocking and crossword skills come in handy.

keys and locks aplenty

keys and locks aplenty

The success rate so far gives a hint as to how challenging Leo has made his game: less than half of the groups so far have made it out before running out time.

Help! Clues are available

Similar to other room escape experiences in San Francisco and other cities, Leo watches the groups through a camera to see how they are doing and offers clues every 15 minutes in case people get stuck or confused.

Reservations available through Labor Day

Leo plans to continue running Escape the Pyramid until school starts again this fall, and may offer it on the weekends if there is enough interest.

The only problem? His parents might need their garage back. “They said if I keep making money, they are going charge me rent,” he said. Sounds like the first puzzle for this budding entrepreneur to solve…

Photos of Escape the Room by Teri Vershel

What waits behind this gate?

What waits behind this gate?

How to visit

did this happy family solve the puzzle?

did this happy family solve the puzzle?

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About the author

Victoria Thorp

Victoria Thorp

Victoria is the founder and editor of Palo Alto Pulse and has lived in Palo Alto since 2007. Victoria's diverse professional background includes working as the editor of GreatSchools.org , as a senior writer for KIPP and Teach for America, and as a radio producer for City Visions on KALW (91.7FM San Francisco). She is a graduate of Leadership Palo Alto and a member of the Palo Alto Partners in Education Advisory Board.

She has a BA in English from Tufts University and Masters in Education and Secondary Teaching Credential in English from UCLA.

1 Comment

  • OK – just did Leo’s Room Escape with some middle school girls. It was a lot of fun. If you like puzzles/brain teasers – this is for you. I’d recommend doing it with 4 people, and be prepared to ask for clues. This one was harder than the previous one I did. but recommended!

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