Cult-like Craze in Budapest Comes to Melbourne

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By Athena Yenko | June 17, 2014 4:49 PM EST

Psychology doctors Owen Spear and Ali Cheetham bring a cult-like craze from Budapest to Melbourne's hipster inner-north after being addicted to the amusement themselves.

The pair now dubbed the amusement as Escape Room Melbourne.

Essentially, the participants will be locked in a themed room. They need to solve the puzzles to get out of the themed room.

"Escape Room Melbourne is a live puzzle game, designed for 2-4 people. You have 70 minutes to unravel the mystery of a hidden room, working together to solve a variety of quirky and inventive puzzles to escape," according to the game's Web site.

Escape Room Melbourne is the first of its kind across Australia.

Participants must be 16 years old or over to participate.

"You're in the living of Robert, which is in a 1950s theme. You're going to be locked in a room and in order to get out, you have to solve a series of puzzles. The room's been set up by a crazy genius, but you don't know what he's discovered, " Cheetham told ABC News.

To create the cult-like vibes, the escape room is furnished with dusty couches and old wardrobe, bookshelf and paintings.

Cheetham and Spear clarified that the amusement is not meant to be a psychological experiment. However, as participants came up with different strategies, behaviours and attitudes while inside the room, different personality types were revealed.

"I have found it interesting. Teams will walk in and focus on one thing only that can't be solved yet. I think it just taps into something everyone likes, puzzles, " Cheetham said.

"I used to create things called ant mazes. I used shaving foam  and would draw a maze for ants. I was basically building my own puzzle room, but for ants, when I was a child," spear shared.

The tandem is considering cutting back with their respective day jobs as Escape Room Melbourne is sweeping the region by storm.

Cheetham and Spear are already designing a second room to accommodate more people. They are planning a mining theme for the second room.

At first they only target five bookings a week, but now the amusement receives 24 bookings in a week. Saturdays and Sundays are always jampacked and bookings are full until November.

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