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Photograph: Courtesy Anthony Smith

Looking for a distraction? Try this at-home escape room made with Google Docs

By
Shaye Weaver
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What most of us want right now is an escape—so Williamsburg resident Anthony Smith created one.

It's not your run-of-the-mill escape room with social distancing underway. It's online, using Google Docs in a completely different manner.

Once you're past the title page, you're taken to the prologue, which is a cryptic, stream-of-consciousness passage that leads you into the game. You wake up in a cozy cabin but something's wrong.

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You're given a series of actions–checking under the pillows, opening the window, turning the door knob–but only one action gets you out. It's up to you to find out which one.

Being stuck indoors while the coronavirus pandemic plays out has us a bit stir crazy, which is why the escape room serves as a welcome distraction.

Smith says he created it out of "quarantine anxiety, mostly."

"The irony of being so disconnected from all my friends and family is that nobody’s alone in how they’re feeling right now, but because we’re literally isolated, we have to be twice as clever about connecting with one another," he says. "There are so many incredible artists doing incredible things right now, and it inspired me to try my hand at doing the same.

"I don't know how to, like, design a video game proper, but I definitely know how to have 15 Google Docs open at once, so that seemed like a good place to start here," the 30-year-old journalist and Dungeons and Dragons dungeon master adds.

This kind of escape room offers more than just a group chat if you're looking to do it with your friends–it gets you to work together to crack codes, find keys, solve puzzles and eventually escape the room, which can deepen appreciation for one another, Smith says.

I just did one with my sister, and I’ve never felt closer to her," he adds.

He'll be creating more "rooms" in the escape game, too, so there will be even more puzzles to solve coming up.

Check the game out here.

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