ESCAPE THE ROOM CHAMPIONS GO MIT

As the winners of the first Red Bull Mind Gamers Escape Room World Championship Team Slovenia seized the opportunity to take part in a two-day puzzle workshop at the world famous Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
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Thanks to their unparalleled problem solving skills and super-sharp minds Jaka Koren, Jan Kromar, Roman Zalokar and Srdjan Veselinov were able to beat teams from over 25 nations and brought victory home to Slovenia.

What followed next can only be described as every tech student’s dream scenario. The Slovenian teammates visited the famous MIT, often referred to as one of the world’s most prestigious universities, among it’s alumni numerous entrepreneurs, innovators and Nobel prize winners. Not only did they have the chance to visit the famous campus but they had the unique possibility to engage in a two-day puzzle workshop conducted by the MIT Game Lab staff as well as their students, staff members from Playful Solutions and Chris Tenuta from Wilfrid Laurier University, one of the designers of the final escape room.

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"The journey from participating at the Mind Gamers Qualifiers, winning the Finals in Budapest and then creating puzzles at the world’s best university the MIT appeared like a dream come true for the team. And the best part: they made that dream real all by themselves and based on their smart minds" so Dr. Konstantin Mitgutsch, Affiliate Researcher at the MIT Game Lab and Founder of Playful Solutions in Vienna.

Learn some more and have some fun

Talks and workshops by the MIT Game Lab staff gave insights into applied puzzle- as well as game design. The teammates met Caitlin Feeley and tried out at her current game, a portable escape room that uses radio drama to tell the story of a dystopic world. After that, Andrew Grant, talked about the history and culture of the MIT Mystery Hunt and the Slovenians were able to play a selection of puzzles, that inspired the ones the MIT Game Lab created for Red Bull Mind Gamers. In the afternoon, the MIT Game Lab ran a Verb Workshop to demonstrate that digital games don’t necessarily involve shooting, running, or jumping. Afterwards the Slovenian team took a shot at creating simple games based on pop culture characters within a timeframe of only five minutes!

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Realistic conditions, impressive outcomes

On day two the team was challenged to create a single-player puzzle or game that would be playable in a web browser. “We treated this like most other workshop we would give to someone who is interested in game design, has never practiced it before, but wants to create a game for a specific purpose. In this case, we focused on puzzles and puzzle games. This is a condensed version, using practices that we use in our daily work. On a longer project, we would stretch this activity out to about two weeks, where we explore the possibility space for our game by making and testing and iterating on lots of small prototypes.”, said Rik Eberhardt, Studio Manager from MIT Game Lab, when asked to compare this workshop to what is usually being done at the MIT Game Lab.

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“It turns out our team had a bit of understanding of game design as a few of them were currently studying computer science in university! They had the basic game design vocabulary we see in a lot of our students who are interested in games, understanding what game mechanics could be. They had also done paper prototyping before in some capacity — as it’s not a practice only done in game design, but often used in any kind of software engineering process.”, explained Eberhardt further.

It shall not be left out here that our winners also enjoyed some free time at the campus, took a Duck-Tour trough Boston and, of course, played various escape rooms ;-)

Very well done, guys! Congrats again to the well deserved winners of the first Red Bull Mind Gamers Escape Room World Championship – Team Slovenia!

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