History Mystery Escape

Published: Monday 18th Dec 2017

Original Cottages – Archived Alive! 

It is a surprisingly mild evening as a busy crowd gradually gathers in the centre of Norwich in anticipation of the city’s upcoming Bonfire Night fireworks display.  However, while the majority of the population are enjoying treats from the market or seeking out a better vantage point, the Original Cottages Marketing Team –Team TOCC – are busy in a tense race against time to rescue a trapped local historian. Read on to find out how Original Cottages faired in its adventure at History Mystery Escape and its mind-bending game – Archived Alive! 

Authentic History 

For visitors looking to experience a richness of local history, while enjoying the comforts of a modern metropolitan city, Norwich offers an exclusive blend of traditional culture and contemporary style, making it the ideal location for a historically inspired attraction.  

Captivate Heritage Ltd. is a UK based business, which was formed to bring its first mind-bending puzzle experience, the History Mystery™ game, to the heritage tourism sector during early 2016. Its History Mystery games are based around the real stories of places and people – old cities, historic houses, castles, wartime installations, historic figures and families – and fascinatingly take place in the locations where these thrilling stories first unfolded.

The concept of the escape game first started in Japan, before growing into Continental Europe and is now rapidly taking root across both the UK and North America. History Mystery further builds on this proven premise by adding unique heritage elements to create an exciting, immersive and fully interactive experience. 

Devilish Intrigue 

The team from Original Cottage’s marketing department where kindly invited by History Mystery to match their collective wits against its Archived Alive! game, in which a local city historian, who normally loves to gaze out of his window over Norwich’s magnificent 900-year-old marketplace, has not been seen for several days. It transpires that the poor fellow has locked himself in a secure archive vault, which can only be accessed by code during a set time during the day. 

In a bid to rescue the unfortunate historian, players are ushered into an office crammed full of puzzles, curios, stories and surprises that are all clues to unlocking the vault. The resulting game is an unbridled romp through a thousand years of Norwich’s rich history that is full of colourful characters from throughout the ages. The game itself lasts an hour and will quickly have you counting every second as time rapidly slips away, while you desperately try to match all of the clues and lead the unwittingly archived historian to freedom. It’s a surprisingly frenetic experience and so much fun that everyone in attendance for our game was in no doubt that they’d be visiting again.  

According to our Gamemaster for the evening, the Archived Alive! scenario has a pass rate of just 30%, so we at Team TOCC didn’t feel too bad about not quite beating the clock. We were certainly not dissuaded from wanting another go at a later date, or to experience some of the other games available. As a quick note on the Gamemasters for these events, there is a lot of information and planning that goes into the games and we were informed at every step about what to expect, the history of the venue and of the rules of the game. Gamemasters have a huge amount to remember and the team does an excellent job of guiding visitors through the event, so you can be guaranteed of a remarkable and enjoyable experience. 

Further Mysteries 

Sometimes uncovering the truth quickly leads to further mysteries, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Indeed, even if you do manage to free the trapped historian in Archived Alive!, you can always return to try your hand at solving a murder case that had originally lay unsolved for 18 years. Body of Evidence stems from ghastly discoveries on the streets of Victorian Norwich that spark a frantic murder hunt. In the historic cell block under Norwich’s Guildhall, where the gruesome evidence was collected, players are tasked with identifying the killer – with the added urgency that they are under suspicion for the crime!

The team at History Mystery have recently introduced the world’s first escape game in a working church at Blickling Church, where Anne Boleyn worshipped. In this challenging game players must use all of their guile and cunning to overcome a plethora of obstacles and help Anne to the altar, as the bride of King Henry the Eighth. Once again, several elements are brought together to create an experience that is quite unlike anything you will find anywhere else. 

Original Cottages would like to thank History Mystery for inviting us to attend its Archived Alive! game and for taking such good care of us. After enjoying the game, we were able to step outside into the centre of Norwich, just in time to see the Bonfire Night fireworks begin. For anyone visiting Norwich, History Mystery is a fantastic attraction situated right in the heart of the city and a real treat for inquisitive minds of all ages. 

History Mystery Escape, The Guildhall, Gaol Hill, Norwich, NR2 1JS. 01603 327515

ByAndrew Dann