Are you feeling clever?  In the mood to prove it?

For four days, benefitting the new-as-your-next-breath 2017 Ford Escape SUV, New York was home to the world’s largest ... and first-ever driveable ... Escape The Room experience.

What? You aren’t familiar with an “Escape The Room experience?” You said you were clever!

Live action puzzle

Conceived by master puzzle-maker Victor Blake to make us all feel clever—or not—Escape the Room is a live-action experiential puzzle game. The goal is for you and your two teammates to read the clues hidden inside a locked room, literally, to “escape the room!” Fun. But as the fiendish Blake goes about it, challenging, too—a bit like doing your own taxes. 

Ford, however, had a better idea: Why not make Escape-the-Room bigger? Make it several rooms, in fact, and maybe a locked hall. Add a driving errand to an espresso kiosk. Devise a puzzle in a fully furnished office with computers and desks and chairs. Present a beachside drive-in movie, with real sand and a friendly sun-bather—and add a crowded beach parking lot ... and along the way, have the 2017 Escape’s standard SYNC AppLink, SYNC 3, FordPass, hands-free liftgate, active park assist, and other systems do some problem-solving of their own?

Did we mention “Escape NYC” was a sales initiative?

Game on—indoors

The event was staged in a cavernous 36,000 square foot indoor parking site in the U.S. Postal Service’s enormous Moynihan Station, near Madison Square Garden. And if you and we had no clue what an Escape-the-Room experience was ... New York’s millennials knew all about it. Within 24 hours, it was sold out, over 1,000 players reserving space—and Ford created extra spots for walk-ons.

Escape NYC began with an orientation to the 2017 Escape’s innovative electronics—strong attractions for young buyers who let cunning circuitry do new and surprising tasks. Among these many features were digital music and streaming radio from iHeartRadio, voice-to-text capability, remote start and lock via FordPass, premium Sony audio, a rearview camera, seven-color ambient lighting, the aforementioned hands-free foot-activated liftgate, adaptive cruise control, collision warning with brake support, and enhanced active park assist, which now adds back-in parking to its parallel-park ability.

Time counts

After orientation, each team of three was launched into the maelstrom. In order to participate, we swore a blood oath to absolute secrecy about the intricacies of the various puzzles and clues. But trust us. They require instinct, free-association, and a high degree of creative cleverness—all of it on the clock. The team completing the puzzles and escapes in the shortest time wins some grand prize or other, almost certainly wondrous.

We can’t tell you our time ... but we were in the running.

Escape NYC was Ford’s first run at an Escape-the-Room event. Putting on these events in other cities, the Ford people said, depends on its results in New York. All we can say is, we hope EtR comes to your town. Thanks to the utter brilliance of my two teammates, I can’t ever remember having more fun being “sold” anything.


 

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