So this Saturday night, I was at The Bar Stock Exchange pub on Lane number 7, Koregaon Park, watching the LIVE screening of the FA Cup Finals on their giant projector screen. What a night it was, watching my awesome team lift the trophy for a record 13th time!
ARRR-SENAL… ARRR-SENAL… ARRR-SENAL!
The crowd chanted our glorious club's name, while the rest of the party animals continued dancing and grooving to the untz untz untz beat of the DeeJay. We shot down Jägerbombs like crazy that night, and while some of us were just there to have a great time, I was having the bestest time because of Arsenal's sweet sweet victory.
The Bar Stock Exchange truly rocks when it comes to partying. Some of you may know what the place is all about. For those of you who don't, it's a unique concept (started in Mumbai) where the price of the drinks keeps fluctuating continuously, depending on the supply and demand of the current situation, just like a real-time trading ops. As more people buy a particular brand, the cost increases on a giant monitor while other brands decrease and so on. Great time indeed, though some people might tend to get drunk quicker because they mixed their drinks :)
What I want to write about on this post is regarding another really awesome joint that's right below The Bar Stock Exchange on Koregaon Park. Situated on the same building (Out Of The World building) is this place called "Mystery Rooms".
What is this "Mystery Rooms"?
It would be fair to say that just as how The Bar Stock Exchange brings out the party animal spirit in people, "Mystery rooms" brings out the nerdy and geeky spirit in others.
"Mystery Rooms" is for mystery games lovers. You are given a mission (there are currently four to choose from at the Pune outlet) and you have to solve the mystery before time runs out. All the clues are in the real world, where you have to physically search for clues within a closed environment and solve puzzles and riddles one after the other as you move closer and closer towards your goal.
Our team from office comprised of Zubin, Raheen, Abhishek, Hakr, Suresh and me. Six gaming geeks – We were two game designers, two game testers and two deployments. You won't get a more awesome team than that! We literally live, eat and sleep gaming, so we were pretty confident about solving the case even though this was the first time any of us were playing such type of real-world mystery game.
Also, it is cheaper if you go in a large group, as a two-person team costs 1.6k (800 per head), a three-person team costs 2.1k (700 per head), a four-person team costs 2.4k (600 per head) and a five-or-more-person team costs 500 per head (plus it is slightly more expensive during the weekends).
The mission we decided to go for was called "The Hurt Locker".
According to the mission brief of "Hurt Locker" - Bandits and terrorists have besieged a place with a bomb. As an elite member of the bomb squad, you must race against the clock to defuse the bombs and save lives!
(In case you haven't noticed yet, the name of the game is the same as the 2008 Hollywood hit movie which was also about bomb defusal)
Now I am not going to give away any spoilers, and photography was strictly prohibited inside. We had to leave our mobile phones in a locker before we were led inside into our room. After that the door was locked from outside, and the TV suddenly came to life, with this super eerie silhouette and voice on the flickering television giving us instructions about the game. The whole ambience had that same creepy vibe as the epic horror movie franchise "Saw".
Kima Kerry, do you wanna play a game?" I still get the chills when I hear Jigsaw say that. Yeah it was definitely a unique experience.
Like I said earlier, I am not going to give away any spoilers or walkthroughs regarding the game. We solved all sorts of puzzles, some of them were really intriguing and brain-wracking, which led to the next puzzle and so on. The 1-hour countdown kept going on and finally, in the FINAL minute with less than a few seconds to spare, we managed to diffuse the bomb! You have no freaking idea how tense the entire atmosphere was!
Later the management told us we could have asked for a few extra minutes (by paying an extra amount) and there were a few teams that had solved the mission in that extra time but we were the first to do it in the given 1 hour's time!
The sense of achievement was so fulfilling. We were all awarded this rare gold medal each.
Yeahhh what an awesome feeling it was.
By the way, during the entire 1 hour period, you will be monitored by CCTV from all sides, so in case you are trying to break a furniture that is not a part of the game design, a warning buzzer will ring. And you have 2 chances to ask for hints (plus two more if you check-in on Facebook). We used three of our four hints, and trust me, they weren't very helpful, we still had to think a lot after the hints were shown to us. The difficulty level was extremely well balanced.
So, yeah, I'm really happy about winning this gold medal, no matter how superficial it may sound. :) I am a "Certified Genius", lewlz. One more bullet point to add to my résumé. :P (yeah I just had to put the medal along with my Arsenal team photo up above because, you know, #COYG)
This week, we are planning to tackle the tougher cases, and will most probably go for "Lockout". The other two remaining missions "Abduction" and "Cabin In The Woods" have not been solved by any team yet, so yeah, it would be a great challenge to try and be the first ones to do that.
This is going to be a good week!
Cheers for now, and hope you too take time off from your usual normal life and do something different and exciting like this. Trust me, you'll really enjoy it once you're in the middle of a tick-tocking time-bomb. And once you're done, you can just go upstairs to The Bar Stock Exchange and celebrate your victory with a Jägerbomb! How bow dah?