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Ilustration of Sydney Opera House sails as part of a golden key against a night sky
Photograph: Supplied/Sydney Opera House

Escape from the underbelly of the Sydney Opera House with this virtual escape room

Play this free online game to discover hidden nooks of a Sydney landmark

Alannah Le Cross
Written by
Alannah Le Cross

You’ve just seen a spectacular show at the Sydney Opera House. As you’re filing out of the auditorium with the throng of other audience members, you spot a door with a sparkling stained glass window. It's ajar, revealing a glimpse of a room that would not usually be accessible to the public. You can’t help yourself: compelled by curiosity, you enter – and the door swiftly closes behind you. You’re trapped. Next to a baby grand piano you spot an old-timey telephone. Suddenly, it starts ringing madly.

Want to know what happens next? Well, you don’t need to physically head for the white sails of Sydney's (and let's be honest, the world's) most iconic building to find out. While auditoriums have sat empty during lockdown restrictions, the Sydney Opera House team got busy developing a virtual escape room designed to transport you into the hidden labyrinth of backstage rooms underneath the venue – without you ever leaving your home. 

The Trials of Wisdom is a free online game that engages your problem-solving skills to solve riddles and puzzles in order to free yourself. Taking inspiration from Mozart’s fantastical opera The Magic Flute, this game has plenty of hidden Easter eggs to tickle the interests of classical music aficionados and theatrical fanatics, but prior knowledge is not a prerequisite to give these puzzles a crack, which involve decoding ballerinas’ dance positions and deciphering meaning from the ramblings of a frustrated orchestra player.

This experimental digital game was developed with Dani Siller, the creator of Escape this Podcast, a show that can count Neil Patrick Harris amongst its guests and fans. The Trials of Wisdom takes a narrative storytelling approach, evoking the style of roleplaying games like Dungeons and Dragons to create the world. 

If the surplus of time spent within your own four walls this year has you hungry to get out of your head and get lost in solving puzzles that have nothing to do with face masks and hand sanitiser, this virtual escape can provide you with somewhere to channel your frustrations. And considering it's free to play, you have nothing to lose (but your temper). 

Head over here to play the Trials of Wisdom on the Sydney Opera House website.

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