Geek Proud, GeekOut.

Fathom Bristol – Live Immersive Room Escape Experience

Immersive live experiences are a form of entertainment where you get to be part of the action. Whether it’s paint balling, laser quest or something more extreme like zombie hunting, this is a lucrative market with much to do. I’ve actually been on a zombie experience and found it to be an exhilarating rush. Whilst it was a lot of fun to take part in that, a small bit of me has wanted to work through a series of puzzles in a live, interactive environment.

Lo and behold, a venue called Fathom Escape has appeared to solve this problem! I was lucky enough to be able to reach out to the owner of Fathom Escape, where I asked him some questions about the event, what players can expect and how it compares to other live experiences. Be prepared to use your intellect, rather than your reflexes, as you try to escape the room.

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COMMUNICATION WITH STATION 1 CEASED     .STOPCPT MILLER CONDITION UNKOWN     .STOP

CPT MILLER WHEREABOUTS UNKOWN     .STOP

ADVISE EXTREME CAUTION     .STOP

SEND TEAM IMMEDIETLY     .STOP

END TRANSMISSION
Fathom Escape is Bristol’s immersive Live Room Escape Game. As a team of up to ten, you and your comrades have just 60 minutes to escape a mysterious locked room filled with hidden clues, baffling riddles, and fiendish puzzles. Use teamwork, cunning, and wits to discover the location of a lost key and make your escape before time runs out! Can you Fathom it?

Q: Why did you create Fathom Escape?

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Living in Toronto, Canada, my partner and I fell in love with the Room Escape concept that has bloomed there over the last few years. Probably like many of us my leisure time revolves around escapism in one form or another, and the immersive fictional worlds of film, literature and gaming have often provided the destination. I feel like there’s often a lot of pressure on adults to abandon ‘childish’ things, but instead of marginalized we should be encouraged to embrace those child like senses of fun and play and imagination. That’s why we wanted to create a tangible immersive experience here in Bristol for like minded people. Hopefully what we’ve achieved (on our very modest budget!) is a game by big kids for big kids, and our passion for the experience translates.

Q: What’s the response to the event been like so far?

Very positive! As word spreads more and more people are booking their spots and we’ve had some really encouraging responses. In fact, we actively ask players post game for their thoughts and feedback, because we think it’s important to tweak and finesse the experience for future players. Gamers know what they do and don’t like about a game, so why not work with our players to create the experience everyone wants! We’re comparatively new on trip advisor too, but so far feedback has been great. People want more rooms – which we hope is testimony to a positive experience – and we’re itching to give them to you!

Q: Have you ever had the chance to experience any zombie survival events? Do you think there’s any comparison between Fathom Escape and these events?

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I’ve not attended one myself, but I have friends back in Toronto that run survival camps and events like that – I have tried my hand at axe throwing, no doubt a valuable skill in a zombie rumble. Fathom: Station 1 isn’t horror themed per se and so isn’t similar in that sense, but we do invite players to immerse themselves in our world. If you get into character the jeopardy of a ticking clock can be just as intimidating as a stalking deadite! Although Fathom is filled with tactile, tangible puzzles, it isn’t so much a physical game as a mental challenge. You’ll need to sharpen your wits for this one, not your weapons…

Q: What’s the future for Fathom Escape?

As players enjoy Fathom we’re always taking feedback and suggestions to improve our current game, Station 1, so in that sense its an organic process that will continue to evolve. We already have the next two chapters of Fathom in the pipeline, and would love to be in a position to bring them to life right here in Bristol! We’ve got big plans for new rooms with unique settings, objectives and gameplay mechanics, and we’re really very excited about it. We want to take the Room Escape concept up a level from simply escaping, but we obviously need to be in a position to facilitate that expansion. If enough people play Fathom and ask for more, perhaps they shall have it!

Q: Someone asked how they can set up their own geeky business, what advice do you give them?

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From a purely pragmatic perspective, advice for aspiring business owners has been established in constancy for a fairly long time, and everyone from Allan Sugar to Deborah Meaden has their own ten commandments. Richard Branson has stood by advice he gave over 40 years ago:
  1. Enjoy what you do
  2. Innovate
  3. Happy employees make happy customers
  4. Lead by listening
  5. Be visible

I like Branson’s advice for its simple elegance, and can see all five at work in our day to day operation of Fathom. I think what’s interesting is when you specify ‘geeky’ there’s almost a connotation that it somehow stands apart from ‘regular’ business. As esoteric fans of subcultures too numerous to mention, perhaps we don’t see our hobbies and interests represented and consumed en masse in popular culture like ‘regular’ business’ – perhaps part of the problem is that if we’re honest, part of us prefers it that way, its ours, we own it.

That’ll never change of course unless people choose to cater to those interests, and if no one is, you could have found yourself an opportunity – a demand. It can seem a little predictable to say ‘just do it!’, but in reality, the predictable thing is precisely the opposite: to continue not too. Of course that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do your research, but if it’s a passion or interest that drives you, and it’s a product or service or idea you yourself would employ from somebody else, then chances are there are others out there with the same inclination. To put it another way, Until Martin Goodman founded Marvel, there was no Spiderman. Until Tim Child created Knightmare, there was no Treguard! See what I’m getting at?


I’d like to extend my thanks to Mike from the Fathom Escape team for his time today, along with his really thought provoking responses to our questions. Please do go and check out their website and if you’re able to get to it, why not check the venue out? It’s really well priced for the experience and it’ll make for a memorable day out! Don’t forget to check out the Fathom Escape website, Facebook and Twitter pages!
Even if you don’t want to go there with friends, this could be a really unique team-building exercise for a group of professionals. I’m hoping to arrange a group outing for one of our geek socials at Fathom, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for a potential future (spoiler-free) review. What do you think of Fathom Escape as a concept? Would you go to an event like this? Let us know in the comments below, over on Facebook or Twitter.

5 responses

  1. My sister did the Room escape thing in Toronto a few months ago! She said it was cool. This gives me another thing to do in Bristol when I go over there!

    Liked by 1 person

    July 29, 2015 at 6:59 pm

    • Yep – When I heard about this, I had to know more. I’m hoping to arrange a GeekOut meetup at an event, as I think it’d be a fantastic alternative day out!

      Liked by 1 person

      July 29, 2015 at 7:22 pm

      • Oh I’ll definitely show up for that!

        Like

        July 29, 2015 at 10:10 pm

  2. Xanthipe

    I’ve done one of the Bath ones (BathEscape – one company, four games) and the game style is a massive amount of fun. It probably helped that we did a) get into character (five players, four larpers, you can guess how it went) and b) accidentally took someone with us whose ability to pick locks grows linearly with the quantity of sugar consumed.

    Liked by 1 person

    July 30, 2015 at 5:04 pm

    • W-wow! I think that’s a power the world needs! The power to gain proficiency in a power upon sugar consumption!

      It’s nice that getting into role helped! Makes things more interesting, I’d say. Stick around tomorrow for a wonderful chat with some members of BathLARP!

      Like

      July 30, 2015 at 5:33 pm

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