Izabella Venter – Escape Mate

[dropcap type=”circle” color=”#ffffff” background=”#ef7f2c”]T[/dropcap]oday we a chat with Izabella Venter, the Director of EscapeMate and asked her 10 questions about what it takes to build an immersive, escape the room experience.

Izabella Venter Profile Pic

BTT: Why build an escape the room experience here in Wellington?

IV: Wellington needs more indoor activities. And also needs activities that are not physical.

The game only takes an hour to play and the clients don’t have to do any special arrangements and preparations beforehand.

They just rock up and we entertain them.


BTT: What inspired the Escape Mate experience?

IV: Spy movies, conspiracy theories, crime stories, and all the good stuff.


BTT: How difficult was it to come up with the concepts?

IV: Sleepless nights sweat and tears. Jokes 🙂 Lot of teamwork, lot of thinking and brainstorming.
Luckily my team and I were blessed with imagination and a good variety of skills and we are all dreamers and film enthusiasts. We read a lot of crime stories too and rely on our crazy selves to create some “fairy dust”.


BTT: How did you source all of the props and decorations?

IV: We make a lot of the props ourselves, but I keep searching for stuff. My friends think I am a hoard, but I make a good use of nearly everything. I search online and visit shops often, especially love antique and vintage second-hand shops.


BTT: Tell us about the newest room at Escape Mate.

IV: One of our top scientists has been kidnapped by a terrorist organisation and forced into developing a bio-weapon. He was held as hostage in a secret, inter-dimensional lab. Your team have to retrieve the main ingredients and fix up a teleport machine to be able to get back to our current dimension.

It’s a tiny space jammed with puzzles and electronics. Lots of surprises and not only do you have to rely on your vision, but your ears as well. Super immersive and a little bit creepy.


BTT: What kind of people usually come to Escape Mate?

IV: I would say majority of our clients are corporates, tourists, families, and groups of friends. We have many kids playing, as young as 8 years old, and we often see grandparents having a great time too.


BTT: How will you keep people coming back To Escape Mate?

IV: We do our best to provide great games as well as an outstanding customer service.

We keep changing the puzzles, the scenarios and themes and we focus a lot on our customers’ requirements. We are reliable, flexible, easy going, responsible and helpful.

I remember majority of my players and constantly see many familiar faces in here.


BTT: What advice do you have for anyone thinking about coming to Escape Mate?

IV: Bring your brains, your smiles and your reading glasses. Use your precise detective skills and your team work.


BTT:What would you like to do with Escape Mate next, are there any plans to expand or rework the rooms regularly, etc…?
IV: We keep improving and developing the game, and trying to get as much feedback from our players as possible. By monitoring the players we gain a lot of info on our games.When we create a new set of puzzles we keep those features that everyone liked and put some new, unexpected, surprising elements to it.

In the future we would like to develop a hostage game, when you get locked into an office and have to free yourself and your team mates, and my big dream is to do real kidnapping when you get chucked into a black van with tinted windows and get taken to a dark warehouse where you have to escape from.


BTT: Lastly, what does theming mean to you and how important is it?

IV: I reckon theming is the most important part of our job besides creating fun puzzles.

We committed to provide a very immersive and very realistic environment to make people switch off and feel like they are characters of a crime series.

When we get teams started, in our brief we also do our best to get our players into a role play. We speak and act as special agents and make them believe that they are top spies for that one hour.


We will have more information about Escape Mate so stay tuned and check them out at their Facebook page as for more details and some great photos of others who have escaped.