Jul 24, 2017

How Playing Super Mario Maker Can Boost Your Escape Room Mentality

I’ve always enjoyed puzzle solving in games. The feeling of adrenaline; the sudden rush of mental stimulation I got from successfully navigating through the nuances of a particular puzzle felt very satisfying and rewarding.

It’s probably more of the science/math nerd in me speaking, sure, but I like to think that my artistic side has a certain appreciation for it as well. After all, I view science is as much an art as art is as much a science.

And what better way to mentally stimulate your brain than by playing a game?

Games actively engage the player(s), challenging them to use information and various skills to accomplish a goal. There may be more than one way to get from point A to point B, but that’s where all the fun comes in. Players are given the freedom to exercise their creativity to make observations and draw connections from those observations.

Now, one might feel that they already know how to approach a certain puzzle, but at times, our mind’s cognitive ability to think will be challenged in ways unfamiliar to our own unique thinking process. While some can feel mentally draining, puzzles incorporated into games are designed for the sole purpose of immersing players in a fun, exciting atmosphere where they can learn and develop their critical thinking skills. At Brainy Actz, we strive to engage our customers through interactive storytelling within our escape games, while utilizing puzzles that are relevant and challenging to encourage communication and teamwork.

One game I highly suggest playing to get in the right escape room mindset is Super Mario Maker.

Other than being a popular side-scrolling platform game, Super Mario Maker allows players to create their own levels in four unique styles (Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3Super Mario World, and New Super Mario Bros. U.) They can utilize traditional Mario elements like Goombas, Koopas, warp pipes, POW blocks, etc. to manipulate the stage in different ways, such as placing spikes along walls to prevent wall-jumping, stacking enemies for creative maneuvering, and hiding hazards in question blocks and warp pipes.

If you think about it, Super Mario Maker is essentially an escape room design platform.

Like escape rooms, Super Mario Maker courses may incorporate multi-step puzzles to really challenge players to think quickly and creatively. The time limit provides a sense of urgency similar to the time frame given in escape rooms and, by implementing a competitive element, players are much more compelled to use their problem-solving skills to solve the room. Since its inception, over 7.2 million courses have been designed in Super Mario Maker with over 600 million play-throughs.

Games, in general, can encourage and strengthen mental development in a fun, learning environment. Super Mario Maker’s creation system gives players the opportunity to continuously challenge themselves in different situations and capacities without being too mundane or cumbersome.

Escape rooms aim to deliver the same quality experience in a live setting. We want people to be engaged through every aspect of the game: the story, the music, the atmosphere and, especially, the puzzles. Every part is complementary to the entire experience and each puzzle is designed to build momentum during the escape game, so that players feel accomplished and satisfied when their adventure comes to an end. By participating in these escape games, you will hone your critical thinking skills and improve your mental capacity to process information and use it for problem solving.

Remember that games are meant to be fun, but they can also be designed for educational purposes. Regardless of its type and nature, they promote a unique, immersive environment that can teach people to be resourceful and think creatively. They can also employ different learning tactics that can benefit players in their respective careers. Through engagement in these types of games, people will be able to obtain and improve the following skills:

·      Think outside the box

·      Come up with different strategies

·      Communicate effectively

·      Pay attention to detail

·      Make accurate deductions

Super Mario Maker’s ability to act as a stand-alone virtual escape room allows players to apply the same problem-solving principles to real-life escape rooms.  Sure, you may not be faced with Lakitus or Hammer bros. chucking countless objects at you or a Boo chasing you across the map, but you will still need to think critically and somehow manipulate your surroundings in order to solve each puzzle. By being quick on your feet and competing against the clock, you will not only improve your mental cognition, but your mind’s ability to make connections faster with less effort and strain. You will be able to perform at a higher mental level and a game like Super Mario Maker allows players to evaluate puzzles from different angles, process information to create different solutions, and finally solve the challenge presented in the course.

Think you have what it takes to solve this Super Mario Maker escape room? Download the stage code here: E8BC-0000-005C-E161


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