Sitting in a room smaller than the typical living room, decorated in black, white, red and gray, the thought of trying to escape such a place is somewhat underwhelming. How hard could it be? It’s disarming to think that one could be trapped in a room with three windows and a television. The only signs that this is not a typical room are the video camera in one corner and the very small, laminated sign between a set of pictures that says “Hint: These do not need to be removed from wall.”
But when talking to Daniel Dittmeyer, the enthusiasm he has for his new Omaha venture is contagious. It suddenly becomes easy to imagine why people are willing to pay to be trapped in a room for an hour.
Real life escape games are popping up everywhere. A trend that first became popular in Asia, it is quickly spreading across the U.S. Now, thanks to Dittmeyer, Omaha finally has its own version.
Inspired by video games, the concept is pretty simple. You and your friends, or maybe some random strangers, are trapped in a room and you have one hour to “escape” from it. The rooms have different themes and story lines. And, of course, different clues.
Although he was skeptical of the concept at first, Dittmeyer said he was hooked after he went to his first one, down in Nashville, Tennessee.
Dittmeyer started out doing the puzzles for Escape Chambers in Des Moines, where he currently lives. Though they were successful, even opening a second location in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, he eventually decided to go off on his own. He chose Omaha because it was close and no one else was doing it here.
Starting any new venture will have its ups and downs, but Dittmeyer said it was surprising how well things have worked out. Things seemed to fall into place for him here in Omaha.
“So, I mean, was it hard? It should have been. But, I just got lucky in a lot of ways.”
Dittmeyer said he had a friend help him out with leasing the space and they were able to get the first room up and running in just under a month and a half. He said he’d looked at a lot of places online before finding the perfect place for his endeavor. And he said the owner of the building was more than okay with the idea.
“He kind of just, forced me to come here because he liked the idea so much, you know? He really loved the idea!”
And he’s not the only one. So far, the reviews for Entrap Games have been plentiful and overwhelmingly positive. Dittmeyer said he’s been pleasantly surprised by the responses. He said that so far, he’s had a lot of people come in just because the reviews were so good.
“Omaha’s responding a lot better than Des Moines was, especially with reviews.”
But that doesn’t mean Dittmeyer thinks he’s invincible.
“I’m just waiting for that one-star review, so I can cry.”
If I were him, I wouldn’t worry too much. It would seem that Omaha is loving trying to escape.
*While “The Heist” room is currently the only one available, there are more in the works. Look for the new “Off Limits” room, which he said should be up and running in a week or two.
Book a visit from their website or stop by at 7905 L St. to check them out.