Monday, September 7, 2015

Locked Up Abroad

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I recently participated in a game where I was “incarcerated” in a 19th century prison with the goal of escaping within (3) hours.  The prison, Noordsingle, is one of the oldest prisons in the Netherlands.  It is also the largest prison and one of two prisons in the “American Style” with a cellular device.  Upon arrival, you’re automatically split up from anyone you know.  This really messed up my game plan, as I don’t speak or read Dutch.  My friend was the first to go in the prison.  As he left, he wished me luck not knowing if we would see each other on the inside or not. 

I then patiently waited for my inmate number and name to be called out in Dutch.  After what seemed like forever, I hear my name and inmate number.  I checked in, entered the prison and that is when things “got real” real fast.  As I entered the gates, there was a guard who yelled out commands to me in Dutch.  Noticing the person in front of me was stopped and at attention, I followed suit.  Then that person moved on and I moved up.  After I moved up the guard barked out an order.  I walked forward and then stopped.  Then the next command came, which I assumed meant go but I was wrong.  I went and then he yelled at me so I stopped.  Then he repeated the command and I just stood there.  Again he yelled at me and then I moved on (assuming that is what I was supposed to do). 

I then found myself in the “yard”.  Everyone was lined up in a single file line.  There was an inmate named “Saurus” doing push-ups while a guard put their foot in his back.  I lined up like everyone else and then the Warden came around.  He walked up and down every aisle and eyed everyone up and down.  Not wanting to draw attention to myself, I just looked straight ahead and didn’t blink.  Then the Warden gave a long speech.  The only words I understood were “Shawshank Redemption”, “Escape from Alcatraz” and “Prison Break”.  Then I heard something about push-ups and everyone dropped to the ground and started to do 10 push-ups (including myself).  After that we went inside and had our pictures taken and we were assigned to our cells. 

L: My intake photo. Top: to Bottom: The exterior wall, the main gate, they second prison yard.

That is where I made mistake number two.  As I walked in, the guard read off my inmate number A0002 and told me in Dutch “Twee”.  I then marched to cell #3 and joined my cell mates.  It was (2) girls and they started to speak Dutch to me right away.   I explained that I only spoke English and then we started to make a plan.  However; the guard came by and stared to yell at me.  She was pointing at me, so I was sure it me.  Then she yelled out my inmate number again and said in Dutch cell “Twee”.  I realized my mistake; I went to cell drie (three) because I heard twee and thought three.  Twee means two, so I had to make my way into cell #2. 

While in cell #2, I met my new cell mate and explained I only speak English.  The doors closed and it sounded like it does in the movies.  We started to look for clues and tried to figure out what we needed to do.  After a little while the doors opened and we could walk around.  I was able to locate my friend and we were able to make a plan.  We quickly made our way to the “yard” and started to find drugs hidden everywhere.  We knew we could use these later to get information or bribe people.  After circling the yard looking for ways to escape (while other inmates smoked, played football and fossball) we realized this is not the way to get out.  Without giving away the game, (3) hours came and went fast.

In the end, we were able to use the drugs to escape the prison while some people got involved in a riot and escaped that way.  Not everyone escaped.  I was later able to find my cell mate once I was on the outside and she did not escape.  This was an Escape Room x 1,000 with a Shawshank theme.  I would recommend this to anyone who likes interactive, realistic games.  Check out their website Prison Escape.