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More people enjoy being trapped in 'secret chambers'

By Zhang Zixuan (China Daily)

10:02, March 13, 2013

A group of people team up to solve the puzzle to "escape" from a room in The Lost Ghost Ship. (China Daily)

The flickering light and mysterious music create a tense atmosphere. Each cryptic clue - including a steering wheel, a fishing net and every little detail in the room - appears to indicate a way out of the sealed chamber.

This is not a bad dream but a new craze in town, a role-playing game in a room set up to look like a scene from a computer game. Participants are locked in the room and they have to solve puzzles using the clues provided within a specified time frame.

Zheng Rui and his team members are "trapped" in a locked room in The Lost Ghost Ship that opened last September in Beijing.

One of their tasks is to assemble an old-school candlestick with pieces collected from undetectable corners. To do that, they have to decode a password hidden in a fragment of music score, to open a case. Hints are delivered into the room through a drawer.

They are given only one hour to solve the puzzle and only when they have completed the task, can they "escape" from the room.

Zheng's team was trying to crack the last clue when the door suddenly opened and someone announced that they have failed in their mission.

"Although we failed, it is the best room game I've ever played," says Zheng, 26, face flushed with excitement.

Zheng had tried almost all the best-rated room game studios in his hometown in Chengdu, Sichuan province, before traveling to Beijing to try out new secret chamber outlets.

"Such games feel real as if you are really trapped and they require a lot of brainwork. They also provide great pleasure working as a team, unlike computer games which involve single players," he says.

The Lost Ghost Ship is owned by Tang Yuhong and An Yanpeng, a young couple who designed the room theme and all the clues themselves.

They have invested more than 100,000 yuan ($15,900) into the project.

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