You have an hour to pull off the heist. But with this theftscapade, failure doesn’t mean a visit from Interpol, just a dose of embarrassment.
State College’s first escape room opened on March 24, and its inaugural game, Stealing Mona, turns players into international art thieves. Pittsburgh-based IQ Escape is the mastermind behind the group-building, problem-cracking experience, located at 278 W. Hamilton Ave. in the Hamilton Square Shopping Center.
Co-founder Eric Lloyd, a Penn State graduate, said in December that bringing the company’s second escape room to State College was a natural fit. His team had originally planned to open in December, but were delayed due to construction.
“State College is near and dear to my heart,” Lloyd said in December. “From 1920 until about 2014, the line of thinking was ‘alright well it’s dinner and a movie.’ We’re now providing an alternative to that, one that requires you to use your mind and engage with other individuals.”
Escape rooms are becoming more popular across the country. Usually themed, they challenge players to decipher clues to either escape or complete a mission.
The State College room will feature two additional games, which are in the process of being built: Contagion and Time Shift. The former tasks players with stopping a deadly outbreak, while the latter imagines a world where time travel threatens existence.
Melissa Redman, an administrative assistant with the company, said Contagion is projected to be completed in late April, while Time Shift will be open in later in the summer. A fourth game, based off of the Lewis Carroll and Disney classic, “Alice in Wonderland,” is also planned for the location, and is expected to be finished by the end of 2017.
Redman said the location is hiring and expects to add 10 to 15 employees.
According to IQ Escape’s website, two to 10 players can play a room at a time. Interested parties can book times through the location’s website. The rooms take an hour to play.
The location is open Wednesday through Sunday. Booking times range from 10:45 a.m. to 10:45 p.m. on the weekends and 3:45 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, and 2:45 p.m. to 10:15 p.m. on Friday.
The burgeoning industry is finding a niche in cities and college towns, and has become fashionable among businesses as a group-building exercise. First popularized in Japan, escape rooms are a physical manifestation of video and online games such as Crimson Room or Myst.
“It’s not ‘hey what are we going to eat tonight? What bar are we going to go to? What party, what movie,’ things of that nature,” Redman said. “It’s something completely different.”
Patton Township Target to get Starbucks, other renovations
Target, 315 Colonnade Blvd. in State College, is undergoing renovations, which will include updates to several departments, aesthetic features and a new Starbucks location.
The renovations are expected to be completed by early- to mid-July, a spokesperson for the company said. Once they’re finished, the store will have new lighting, fixtures and paint. The apparel, baby and home departments, meanwhile, will also get a new look.
“Store remodels are part of Target’s ongoing commitment to evolve the shopping experience and reimagine our stores,” the spokesperson said.
In February, Target announced a $7 billion investment in capital during the next three years. The company plans to update more than 600 stores during that time and open 30 small-format stores in 2017.
According to the company, three-quarters of Americans live within a 10-mile radius of a Target store. State College, which is home to both types of Target store, had a small-format location open in October on Fraser Street.