At the end of October our family did something virtually unheard of these days — we spent time together.
Yes, between the football practices and soccer games, work and volunteer activities, my husband and I managed to get our three teenagers together in the same place at same time, grab dinner at Vongs, AND spend an hour, or should I say 46.16 minutes at the relatively new Get Out on East Street in Pittsfield.
Opened in May of this year, Get Out: Mindgames, is the premier escape and live-action adventure facility in the Berkshires, and the place to go if you really want to get to know someone, especially your teenage children. Imagine being trapped in a room for one hour with a 15 year old, twin 17 year olds, and your spouse. Five family members with very different styles for problem solving. We have the “I can do it myself-er”; the “I’m going to find all the clues, let you figure out what they mean, and take all the credit” thinker; the “I need a quiet place to think and this chaotic chatter is overwhelming” mother; the “When we get out of here, I have something else to better to do” child; and the “I’m going to figure this one clue out even if it takes the entire hour to do it so just leave me over here alone while I work” father —forced to spend time together in an approximate 10-foot by 10-foot room
Now imagine this same group of people are tasked with finding the serum that will save all of their lives from a toxin just released into the air within the hour by following the clues throughout said room, or they will all perish.
That is Get Out Mindgames! And that was us.
Basically, you are given the situation stated above via the flatscreen television in the room and then left staring at the white walls around you. It wasn’t until my daughter, who had visited one of these in Albany, said, Just start looking everywhere for a clue,” that we even knew what to do. And that is the gist of it. You find a clue, and try to make sense of it. And let me tell you, sometimes these clues make absolutely no sense at all (especially if someone else found the other clue that would make it make sense, but didn’t tell you about). Note to participants: Share, share, and share some more, otherwise you will perish within the hour.
Needless to say, our family found that our very different styles of problem-solving make it very difficult to work as a team, and we’ve got a lot of work to do if we are ever going back to Get Out Mindgames. But we have some time to perfect our communication as Mindgames is in the process of opening its second experience — the horror room.
I do have to say though, we did have fun and our experience two months later is still a much-talked about topic of conversation. Especially the part where I yelled out in moment of frustration, “Our family sucks.” I meant they suck at problem solving together (which we kind of did) because without a few clues on our flatscreen from owner Justin Clairmont, I’m not sure we would have made it out in under the hour time-limit allowed, but my kids still insist I think they suck, so it seems, I will never live that one down.
A few fun facts about Get Out Mindgames:
- It was started by Berkshire resident Justin Clairmont in May of 2016.
- Clairmont was inspired to open the business after visiting a similar Illinois-based business run by a friend — “I got a chance to check (my friend’s business) out, and my first thought was ‘Wow, there is nothing like this in Pittsfield.’”
- It’s a great family-friendly indoor activity, and there just isn’t anything around (The Berkshires) like it.
- Get Out is the process of opening up a Horror Room. “Mostly as an experiment to see how it is received and what the level of interest is compared to our other rooms,” Clairmont says.
- There were always be at least one non-horror room running. “I want to stress that family-friendly, non-scary rooms are our specialty,” said Clairmont.
- And lastly, according to Clairmont, “These games are super fun, and if you’ve never tried an escape room, you definitely should! People often assume these are like video games or traditional puzzle games. One of the comments I get from customers all the time is that the games are ‘nothing like what they expected.’ Understandable, because they are a bit hard to describe. These are complex games in a physical facility (not on a screen) that require thought and teamwork.”
I would probably recommend Get Out Mindgames for children ages 12 and up with an adult, though children ages 10 and 11 could possibly join the family. It is challenging, but I think sometimes younger kids will look at things with a very different eye than teenagers and adults will, and for this challenge that could definitely work in a team’s favor.
Get Out Mindgames is located at 1450 East Street. Customers should book their appointment ahead of time, and can do so by calling or texting (413 )822-8482 or going online to getoutmindgames.com.