Worcester, MA- A group of collegiate athletes enters a dark room, hearing the click of the door closing behind them. Barely able to see, they are locked in a room of puzzles and mysteries with up to sixty minutes to escape. Sound like a psychological horror film? Actually, it’s real. They are at One Exchange St. in Worcester, MA trying to figure their way out of one of the latest escape rooms designed and operated by Live Action Escapes owners Michael Paquin, and daughter, Amanda.

Members of a local college basketball team recently participated in the games at Live Action Escapes (LAE) before the start of the season. The team divided into two identical rooms; and each group had to work together to solve puzzles before the clock expired.

“Working together to overcome challenges in a competitive atmosphere while under the pressure of a quickly expiring clock? That sounds a lot like basketball”, says Paquin.

While the games are underway, coaches are observing the teams and are identifying important personal traits: leadership, calmness under pressure, teamwork, trust.

“Teams, both athletic and corporate, utilize our escape room games to realize the potential of its individuals”, explains Paquin. “The games are specifically designed as a fun way to maximize the benefits of team building.”

Coaches and managers are using this new approach to team building as a form of personality test to place team members in the best position to succeed.

One of the most popular rooms at LAE, for both teams and the public, is the Cold Case Investigators’ room. The establishment has already released part II of the escape room series and part III will be out in January. There will be a total of seven parts in the Cold Case Investigators series following a continuously developing storyline. This is different from other escape room games which feature stand alone scenarios. The Cold Case Investigators’ storyline follows a CSI type approach to tracking down the elusive Puzzlemaster, Terry Starkweather.

Experiencing the rooms is the only way to understand the allure. Games are based on completing puzzles in a logical progression. You aren’t just solving random puzzles but following a storyline as you progress closer and closer to freedom. When teams get stuck on a particularly hard puzzle, members may choose to utilize assistance from the built-in clue system which allows for a completely immersive experience.

“This is a huge difference from playing an online point and click escape game,” says Paquin. “You are absorbed in the moment, with your friends, the music is playing, and the clock is ticking down.”

It’s the suspense of a movie, except you are a part of the game.

Live Action Escapes currently has four rooms, three of which follow the Cold Case Investigators progression and one of which requires teams to solve the mystery of the hidden gold. It’s a great addition to the Worcester entertainment scene.

“We’re really excited about what’s been accomplished so far,” says Paquin. “We’re looking forward to the reception our new rooms will get.”