Myself, Ashleigh, Shannon & Wayne from the 30ish.me team all have a secret yearning to be Sherlock Holmes, so we shunned the usual post-work drinks and headed down to the HintHunt HQ. For 60 minutes, we were going to be locked into a room and try to escape using only our detective skills.*
Having left feeling exhilarated and happy, HintHunt was such an exciting concept that I wanted to know more. So I turned the tables on one of the co-founders, Atti Nagy, and fed him cheap Chinese take-away until he talked. This is what he had to say:
How many puzzles in each room are there to solve?
“To tell the truth we never counted them one by one and maybe there is no definite number at all. While the game is all based on logic and rationale, as a whole it is still, rather a piece of art where the effect is much more important than the black & white details in it.”
Why do you think HintHunt will be successful?
“Success is a funny word, it can be misleading and it is always relative. If HintHunt has anything in common with success it is because it’s something new and people are always hungry for new things.”
How long did it take to get HintHunt from idea to reality?
“We started with a simple “proof of concept” phase. We designed and built one mystery room to test our assumptions and the initial reactions. It happened during the spring and took around 2 months of building, testing & improving. Then we moved to a new venue, where we tried to get to a next level and built 3 proper rooms with a reception area during the summer. All in all it took around 5 months to get to the point where we are now. But it is a constant evolution of an idea, it is never really finished I guess.”
What kind of person is best to solve this?
“As I mentioned before, we’d like to concentrate on the effect of the game and enjoy how it reveals your inner child, no matter what your background or profession is. Certainly there is a competition element in it, ie. who is going to solve things faster. But I’ve seen amazing people from very different walks of life – let it be families, supersmart IT guys or private investigators.”
What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen in a HintHunt game?
“It’s not a secret that we laugh a lot during the games and have some favourite bits, but it’d be difficult to talk about these without spoilers.”
If you don’t take your dreams seriously, no one ever will do it for you. It is not an easy ride, but definitely worth trying.
Who are the people behind HintHunt?
“We are very different thinkers and personalities and I think it is this diversity that helps us with creating things like this. The initial team consisted of a teacher, an engineer, an artist and an analyst – then a businessman joined as well. But I’d say we are all dreamers and any other label is unnecessary.”
What’s the quickest time someone’s completed a game in?
“53 minutes : ) ”
Describe HintHunt in 3 words.
“Free your mind!”
What’s the inspiration behind HintHunt?
“Giving a 60 minute sample of what it feels like to be the hero. Giving an opportunity for active entertainment, where you’re not just sitting and eating popcorn. Giving the joy of discovery. Waking up the childlike curiosity in you. I think I could mention more and there are many and different things that inspire us behind HintHunt.”
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt from setting up HintHunt?
“If you don’t take your dreams seriously, no one ever will do it for you. It is not an easy ride, but definitely worth trying.”
Have you ever not given any hints in a game?
“It is impossible to solve everything without clues. It is designed into the game. There was a team who asked us not to help them, but they ended up not even solving the half of the puzzles.”
Who is HintHunt aimed at?
“Anyone with a pulse, from 9 to 99!”
Costs from £18 per person
Visit www.hinthunt.co.uk for more details or tweet @HintHuntLondon
You can also email them at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’re after unusual things to do in London, then definitely book time at HintHunt.
*People that don’t manage to escape end up as taxidermied coat stands and sold for millions. Just kidding.