All the tributaries who participated in the 4:30 p.m. Hunger Games Escape Room at Cherry Hills Library were eliminated from the game on Monday.
Tributaries had to work together (or against each other) to unlock boxes and bags with clues to help escape and become Hunger Games victors. Each tributary had two lives, or green dots, that if taken meant they were eliminated and would have to watch from the sidelines.
Several tributaries lost one life throughout the hour-long game, but in the end, nobody could open the last bag to help them escape, and all joined the fallen. The escape room is a cross between a mini–Meow Wolf and a George Orwell exhibit, with hidden clues scattered among the dystopian artwork and props that participants had to find by unraveling secret messages and solving various puzzles.
Library paraprofessional Claire Gutierrez oversaw the games and monitored tributaries’ activities. She provided additional hints and made sure keys and locks were returned to her. She said Cherry Hills hosts an escape room about once every three months, but the Hunger Games was postponed a month because of unforeseen circumstances.
“I do all the escape rooms here at Cherry Hills,” Gutierrez said. “I just come up with different themes each time. And you know, Harry Potter was really, extremely popular. I’ve done Alice in Wonderland as well. And actually, a coworker was just like, ‘You should do Hunger Games and have them all kill each other,’ kind of like joking. And I was like, ‘You know what? I’m going to run with that.’”
When asked which escape room was the hardest, Gutierrez said, “I think this one because it has that elimination factor on top of it. I’ve never been to an escape room like that or seen one. So, having that added into the escape room was a little bit of a challenge. So, this is the first time doing that. I’m kind of seeing how it plays out. So far, it’s been so-so. Trying to kind of work out the kinks and everything, but I think it’s pretty good so far.”
Gutierrez said there are several benefits to partaking in an escape room. “You know, escape rooms are team building. That’s the big part of doing escape rooms for kids, teens, adults. And I get a big thrill out of it myself. I love puzzles and so I just want to share that with as many people as I can,” she said.
As of Monday evening, 12 seats were still available for the 4:30-5:30 p.m. Hunger Games Escape Room for Tuesday, Dec. 20. There were only three seats available for the 6:30-7:30 p.m. slot.
The next escape room at Cherry Hills Library will be sometime in February. Gutierrez said the room will be called Escape the Plane and that it’s not related to any book like the Hunger Games.
Anyone interested in joining the next escape room can register on the Cherry Hills Library website when it is listed on the calendar of events. Registration is on a first-come, first-serve basis and is limited to 12 seats.