The 2017 international room escape conference, also known as Up The Game 2017, has successfully ended on May 9th, let’s take a look at all the exciting events happened that day!
First of all, let’s make a quick introduction of Up The Game, it is the first conference ever in room escape industry to be held at an international scale. It started in 2016 in Amsterdam, Netherlands, with more than 400 participants coming from more than 40 countries! The conference was held in Breda this year, in a famous old prison of Netherlands. Although it is an international meeting, but most participants are from Europe, with USA and Canada falling behind, and as for the Asia region, less than a hand count has participated. However, I have had the honor to represent the Asian region, and to introduce the industry overview of Asia.
The night before the official event, there’s a warm up party! It was actually an unofficial event that didn’t have a specific starting or ending time, we could enjoy ourselves at the bar or have social interaction with other people. It was a great opportunity to get to know each other, since there are so much various speeches and meetings the next day, we may not have chance to meet all of the attendees. During this little party, I had the chance to get to know many Room Escape enthuasists from different countries; it was quite a pity not many are from the Asian region, but I still had the opportunity to meet two or three Asians, and we even had a conversation based in Chinese, which made me feel quite like home! Everyone was so full of enthusiasm that day, I was personally exhausted and had to catch some rest by 10pm, but I heard the party was still going till midnight!
The next day I had breakfast with a couple from Australia, Matthew grew up there, and Ye is a Chinese who now lives in Australia. As a fellow non-Europe speaker, we had a small discussion about Asia’s market of Room Escape industries, and were surprised to learn that Matthew will be holding speeches that are related to Patents and Intelligence properties, as he is a law school graduate and has been working for the Australia government for nearly ten years! After breakfast we all hopped on the shuttle bus that was arranged to pick us up to the location of the event!
The site of the conference was extraordinary; it was a real European prison! It is also the place where Real Life Gaming organization held the Prison Escape games.
The conference was separated into Stage and Booth area. There were about 20 booths, including game displays, contents include gadgets, VR games, escape room managements and all sorts of room escape related ideas and services(mostly from the Netherland or European teams).
As for the Stage area, it is separated into four rooms, each holding a different speech at the same time for people to choose. It is really hard to make up my mind for one topic at a time, as most topics are just too appealing to ignore! During the opening, Alexander, one of the event founders, had already mentioned about how making choices will affect your gains of this event, if you choose to listen to all the speeches, you might end up learning nothing at all! But of course all videos have been uploaded afterwards, so I will share my thoughts after I have seen them all!
My topic was to share the overview of industry in Asia, and I have also brought up my opinion upon Asia vs Western countries. I was organized to share this topic with two other speakers who were to introduce Netherland and Europe markets.
There was also a PANEL session we were invited to participate, where we were to join the 5 other speakers from different industries. Professor Scott Nicolson from Canada, Nick Moran from England Time Run, Senior English player Sarah Dodd, Chris Lattner from Germany THE ROOM and Matthew Lee from Australia. The host will give out an statement about Escape Game, and everyone will raise a sign to agree or disagree and to give our opinion towards this statement.
Through this event I have also got to know many representatives from various countries, such as from other Asian countries, Japan’s IGDA president Daisuke Yamakata, though he wasn’t one of the speakers, he did bring a few Japanese riddles for everyone to solve; Bloggers David & Lisa from the United States who share experiences ant thought towards the room escape industries from players point of view, and their Blog Room Escape Artist also lists their idea and observation of this market.
There was a secret easter egg in the conference which is the QR code hidden in every attendees’ name badge! If you can find the other three corners, you will discover a secret room to take salon photos! It was too bad that I was too late to realize this secret!
And of course in the end of the whole event there is after party where we got to dance and party in a Bar! What a fun!