The Best Escape Room in the World

I've got a confession to make: You won't find the best escape room in the world at any Puzzle Break location. Where is it, you ask? Good question, but first:

What is the best movie ever made? The best game? What's the best book ever written? The best painting ever painted? Unfortunately for Top X Lists everywhere, these things do not exist. The reason is subjectivity. Movies, games, books, works from all creative mediums, have subjective choices made to appeal to different types of audiences. From big decisions like genre (romance, action, horror, etc.) all the way down to cosmetic word/dialogue choices with a gorillion* variables in between.

*Pictured: 1 Gorillion Dollars

*Pictured: 1 Gorillion Dollars

Because of the enormous inherent subjectivity, identifying an objective best work is functionally impossible. Any critic/reviewer of a creative medium who would argue there's an objectively single best piece is either being tongue-in-cheek, dishonest, or has a fundamental misunderstanding of subjectivity.

Which brings me to the nascent world of escape room reviewing. As of this writing, there's well over 5000 escape rooms in at least 90 countries, and we're beginning to see some intrepid folks formally reviewing room escapes on dedicated sites/blogs. Many of these are excellent resources containing tremendously valuable insights with a vitally important awareness of subjectivity. 

Perhaps my favorite example of subjective-preference-sensitivity is the format of the reviews at Room Escape Artist. At REA, there isn't an objective scoring system. Instead, they analyze subjective design choices in the context of the experience. Each review ends with a "Should I play [this game]?" section outlining the types of players who will love/hate the game. As a player, I love puzzle-heavy experiences, hate horror experiences, I'm not a fan of interacting with an in-fiction actor, and I loathe low-light situations, etc etc etc. The best game in the world to me might be the world's most awful experience to someone else, and vice versa.

There's an unfortunate (and frankly dangerous) trend among some less experienced reviewers where subjectivity is ignored. Variables are not controlled for. Consider an unfortunate book critic who only likes young adult horror romance comedy, ideally with sexy vampires. Further, they don't grok the concept of "different strokes for different folks". Ulysses? D-. Slaughterhouse 5? D+. Twilight? The best book ever written.

For the record, I'm on Team Count

For the record, I'm on Team Count

So, where can you find the best escape room in the world? I'm afraid it doesn't exist. But all is not lost! Looking for an escape room recommendation? Don't ask reviewers/critics/friends/strangers-on-the-bus for "best". Instead, ask "What's your favorite?" or "What would you recommend for someone like me?" And if they respond with Puzzle Break, I bet they have excellent taste.

-Nate

Nate Martin is the Co-Founder and CEO of Puzzle Break, the oldest contemporary escape room company based in the United States. Puzzle Break is headquartered in Seattle with locations in Long Island and on Royal Caribbean ships. Prior to Puzzle Break, he was a senior executive at Microsoft and Electronic Arts. He has shipped software used by billions of users as well as some of the most beloved video games of a generation. @GuyFromTomorrow on Twitter.

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