An escape room is a life size puzzle game. A group of people are locked in a room and must follow clues and hints to escape. The earliest ones were opened about ten years ago and they have been exploding in popularity. Motor City Geek was invited to take a behind-the-scenes tour of one of Escape Room-Zone in Farmington Hills.
When we arrived, we were met by the manager, Sean. He was, frankly, an amazing guide. His enthusiasm for the rooms was palpable and made the whole experience incredible.
He started us out in the first room that was built, the Mad Scientist room. Because we want to go back and experience it, we were careful to avoid spoilers. Sean gave us a demonstration of a few of the surprises (including lighting). The best way I can think of to describe these rooms is that it’s almost like an “I SPY” page in real life. I saw a lot of interesting and unexpected items from which you have to chose the important ones, helping you to solve logical, physical, and investigative puzzles.
From there we saw the Haunted Room. This is the recommended “date room” because it’s smaller, darker and more intimate. Once again I can’t give spoilers, but I think there might be a moment or two I’d scream out loud in this room! That might be because I’m a wimp, but I was excited by some of the surprises.
There’s a more kid-friendly puzzle room that you escape by playing your favorite childhood games. But the kid room got a whole lot cooler when Sean showed us the hidden door that led to…
The Bank Heist room! As a former teller at Chase, I’d like to think I’d rock this one, but as a teller, I never had to deal with bombs 😉 And yes, there are bombs.
Probably the coolest room there was the Prison Break room. This was a more complex room and it was complete with an isolation cell, group cell (yes, you ARE shackled to start off with) and another section we couldn’t see for spoiler purposes.
They are apparently building another room, museum themed, that allows up to 30(!) people to experience the escape room craze at once.
Worst part? I’m a scaredy cat. I’d probably scream. Multiple times. Best part? The building is haunted by a ghost named Lisa. Her origins are murky, but she’s been known to move items around while the staff is alone in the building. While Sean told us the story of Lisa a light in the room turned off by itself! He promises he didn’t do it… come investigate for yourself.
Motor City Geek went retro last night. The Michigan Science Center held their third After Dark: Vintage Video Games. Tickets were $15 to get in the door which included one drink ticket and unlimited play time at the 20+ vintage games. The arcade games were provided by Offworld Arcade.
The geeks were out in full force. The same event in July sold out and this one seemed just as popular. Before the doors even opened there was a line outside the MSC. The games were spread out over two levels and each level had a cash bar serving beer and liquor (The drinks were Mario themed. I tried the Princess Peach for… research purposes.)
Even if you weren’t into gaming, there was plenty to keep you entertained. From pixel art perler bead tables so you could bring your favorite characters to life or exploring the awesome Michigan Science Center exhibits with a drink in hand. (And who hasn’t ever wanted to do that?)
Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters Detroit answered the call for fun. They brought with them their own Ectomobile, a collection of console Ghostbusters games and The Real Ghostbusters arcade game! To top it all off they had their own Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and were more than happy to take photos with anyone and everyone!
Worst part of the night? There were waits to play games. The unfortunate side effect of the event being popular. But with so many options, most people could just hop to another cabinet and enjoy another game while they waited.
Best part of the night? I loved everything Ghostbuster related.
Overall verdict? I didn’t know what to expect when I walked in but was pleasantly surprised by the atmosphere and variety of activities provided. This was an affordable way to spend a really fun Thursday night and learn some science facts along the way!
List of games provided by Offworld Arcade
Track and Field
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Atari Video Pinball
Super Smash Bros
Atari 2600 Games
After the awesomeness of the Ron Perlman announcement last week (See HERE) , MCCC has released a stream of upcoming media guests. To keep you on the up and up, MotorCityGeek is giving you the rundown and a few (unsolicited) opinions.
Aly Michalka – Aly Michalka got her start on Disney’s Phil of the Future, but most current audiences would recognize her as Peyton from iZombie. She has had major roles in Hellcats and Two and a Half Men and is one half of the hit recording group Aly and Aj. I’ve never heard an Aly and Aj song but now that I know Peyton from iZombie IS Aly, I have the sudden urge to YouTube this…
Fri | Sat | Sun
Amy Jo Johnson – Amy Jo Johnson is the Pink Power Ranger. Okay, she’s been in all 75 episodes of Flashpoint and had major reoccurring roles on Covert Affairs, Felicity and a plethora of other shows, she will always be the Pink Power Ranger to me. And, as a child of the nineties, I mean that as a sincere compliment.
Sat | Sun
Marky Ramone – Like the name suggests, Marky was a drummer for the legendary band, the Ramones. Not familiar with The Ramones? If you don’t get “I Wanna Be Sedated” in your head just by reading this, I demand you go to YouTube immediately.
Fri | Sat | Sun
Mena Suvari – Mena Suvari will always be the girl in American Beauty wearing nothing but rose petals to me. Why? No idea. I’ve never seen the movie. But I have seen her in American Pie (I &II) Loser, Spun, Rumor Has It and her guest role in American Horror Story’s first season. She’s been in dozens of other roles in TV and Film and has definitely left her mark on the industry. And if you’re wondering why she’s coming to a Comic Con, she has done a lot of voice work, including Aerith Gainsborough in Final Fantasy VII and Kingdom Hearts II.
Fri | Sat | Sun
Sting – Sting is a retired professional wrestler. His prolific career spans over three decades and he is considered one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time. I know next to nothing about wrestling and even I know who Sting is. Sting has held 25 total championships between the WCW and TNA (that apparently stands for World Championship Wrestling and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, which might be my favorite name for anything ever).
Appearing Saturday Only
Photo Ops – According to MCCC, he WILL be in face paint for the photos.
Zach McGowan – McGowan is currently a series regular on The 100 and plays Captain Charles Vane on STARZ hot pirate show Black Sails. With 44 different credits to his name on IMDB, this guy has been around. And since the subtitle on his website is “That Guy From That Show”, I like him more already.
Fri | Sat | Sun
Comic Con update by Mallory Crowe – Romance Author
Free Comic Book Day over at Comic City with some of our favorite folks! Comic City had a canned food drive so make sure to go out, donate, and get your comics for the day and support your local brick and mortar shop. Only a few hours left! Also, post up your comic hauls for the day! We’d love to see them!
The second annual Midwest Media Expo took place at the Detroit Renaissance Center April 10th-12th . This was my first time attending and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Below is a recap of my weekend at the expo.
After meeting with the press staff, we headed to the opening ceremony. This is something you won’t find at other conventions, such as a comic con. There was an MC on stage guiding the event with great charisma while he introduced the media guests that would be appearing at various functions throughout the weekend. There was a large crowd gathered, the lights were dim, and the energy of the room was high. Michele Ivey of Cowabunga Corner took the stage to get everyone excited for her weekend talks on all things Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Akira Yamaoka, the composer of the Silent Hill music appeared and with the help of an interpreter graciously thanked the city of Detroit for having him and expressed his excitement for his forthcoming concert at the event. Guest after guest greeted the audience and were met with great applause from their fans.
The Dead Pool Cafè
After leaving the opening ceremony we made our way to an on site restaurant, 42 Degrees North, to experience The Dead Pool Cafè. This was a truly unique experience as cosplayers dressed as Dead Pool, gender-bent Dead Pool, and poor outnumbered Spider-Man served costumed lunch guests tacos and margaritas. The entertainment was unscripted antics of multiple Dead Pools chasing each other, falling on the ground, and generally just having a good time.
Autographs work differently at this convention than others I have been to. All autographs are free. This is a throwback to my childhood where I cannot remember ever paying for an autograph. This was a welcome change of pace. I checked the schedule and headed to the area of where guests would be signing. It was not a militarized line of people slogging their way to the front. It was more of a casual meet and greet where fans got to really spend some time with their heroes.
First on my list was Natasha Allegri, creator of Bee and Puppycat. Ms. Allegri was very kind and appreciative of everyone that came to see her. She drew a little sketch of Bee and we chatted for a minute. A wonderful time.
Next we spoke with David Eddings (Voice of Claptrap and VP of Gearbox) and Jon St. John (Voice of Duke Nukem). These two were a blast to talk to. They often had crowds around them just watching them playfully interact with each other.
Later in the weekend we had a chance to catch up with cabaret musician, Voltaire, at his table. He had an incredibly long line of fans and was delighted to meet every one of them.
Outside of the autograph area was a small selection of vendors. There was also a much larger room nearby full of vendors selling art, action figures, hard to find music and movies and all sorts of geeky crafts. One of the tables was selling Ocarinas from the Legend of Zelda games and putting on impromptu musical performances with them.
The Harp Twins are two very talented harp wielding sisters that put on a great show. They are incredibly popular on YouTube with their harp covers of Slayer and other bands. We had a chance to catch up with them after their performance where they chatted with fans and provided words of encouragement to budding musicians.
Steam Powered Giraffe is a wonderfully unique show as the musical robots on stage are assisted by The Walter Workers and a multimedia experience on screens behind them.
Voltaire is a seasoned musician and entertainer that playfully interacted with the crowd during renditions of his songs like “Brains” and one particularly fun song about the Star Trek Universe (U.S.S. Make Sh*t Up). He is truly a geek in the best way possible. He invited the audience up on stage to close the show out with a group singalong to his popular song “When you’re evil”.
We attended IT in the D‘s panel to hear them talk about their organization and what they’ve accomplished here in Detroit over the past years. They are responsible for helping place 1200 job seekers in positions in the IT field not to mention running a wildly popular weekly podcast. You can attend their monthly, free IT social networking events. The best way I can describe their show is they are to IT what Top Gear is to car reviews. A sometimes comedic, sometimes serious and knowledgeable crew.
Dead State Pavillion brought an entire arcade with them, consoles, PCs, and obscure arcade games like Flip the Table. The arcade room was always buzzing with activity.
There was also a traditonal tabletop gaming room with all manner of card games. Everyone had a good time here taking a quiet break from the rest of the convention.
There were scheduled cosplay gatherings in the Wintergarden of the Ren Cen which provided a beautiful backdrop for costumed lovers of their fandom of choice to not only get together but be photographed professionally. We witnessed a League of Legends cosplay gathering with excellent costuming and plenty of good humored exchanges between walking embodiments of the characters from the very popular video game.
After groups were done photographing in the Wintergarden they would make their way outside to the beautiful Riverwalk just behind the Ren Cen. There you could find costumed characters, Detroiters on bikes and rollerbladers stopping by to ask what is going on. There were a lot of fishermen on boats casting lines into the water and catching a glimpse of a blue Navi from Zelda running around proclaiming the need for everyone to stop and “hey listen!”.
The cosplay contest was an excellent chance to catch some of the best costume examples in one place. There were video game characters, anime characters, and plenty of others. I enjoyed the larger than life Frankenberry 2.0 as well as Vampy LOL Cosplays Halo Samurai armor made almost entirely from paper. The first picture below is of the winners of the cosplay contest from all of the different levels of competition.
Something that wasn’t on the schedule was the safe place Midwest Media Expo provides those who would not normally come out of their shells in a public gathering. Talking with people dressed as their favorite character they explained that this is a place they feel comfortable and have a sense of belonging. There is no judging one another and everyone greets you as an old friend. The shy kid in class might be running around dressed as Link from Legend of Zelda and having the time of their life. You would never know that they are deeply introverted and conventions like MMX are one of the places that they can shine by being who they truly are; creative, intelligent fans of their particular fandoms. It’s not all perfect though and attendees should be wary and careful even while at a convention like this. It is after all a public place.
The Ren Cen is such a large place it’s hard to tell how many people are at the convention at any one time. With room after room of panels, discussions, and cosplay gatherings there seemed to be an endless amount of activities and they didn’t stop in the early evening like other conventions. The party literally kept going throughout the night with get togethers, dances, and 18 and up panels later in the evening. All in all we had a great time and will definitely plan a trip to next years convention as well as MMX’s big brother Youmacon in October.
You can find a video tour of the convention below
Pictures from the event are at the gallery below
Find more videos from the event at our YouTube page