There is no cause for alarm. We have detected a minor variance in the well-being of your social unit. Your presence is requested by the Ministry of Public Harmony for a gentle calibration scan and adjustment. The procedure is quick and harmless, and we’ll return you to your scheduled tasks after only one hour. Please proceed to the nearest Utopia facility. Your happiness is guaranteed.
— Ministry of Public Harmony
Utopia Room is an escape-the-room style experience set in a dystopian future where happiness is federally mandated. It was installed in April 2017 at the Northeast, Minneapolis Riddle Room location. The room was designed and implemented by Jerry Belich and David Pisa with an emphasis on narrative, teamwork, and a complex but reliable combination of mechanical and custom electronic components.
It received a Golden Lock-in Award in 2017, an achievement only a few out of the hundreds of rooms played internationally receive! You can read their full Utopia Room review here. It has continuously received 5 star reviews from numerous platforms, including Google, Yelp, and Tripadvisor. From the award summary:
Utopia was an illusion. When we first entered the gamespace, we worried we’d hate it. Behind its deceptively simple facade we discovered brilliant physical and digital puzzles that carried a narrative and challenged our assumptions of what escape rooms could or should be.
When designing this room we explored what we had found most exciting and disappointing in the location based games we had played. Reducing it all down, we loved discovery and hated red-herrings and sifting through piles of useful information. That became the philosophy of Utopia. David and my skills complement each other greatly. Both with theatrical and storytelling backgrounds, he with an emphasis on puzzle design, me on game design. David has continued to work in theatre for years, including set design and construction, and I have handled all aspects of the electronics and software required to make them work.
If you’d like to learn more about the design process, please take a look at the Utopia Room Design Report - Warning: 105 MB PDF.
- Jerry Belich - Game Designer, Software, Electronics
- David Pisa - Game Designer, Puzzle Designer, Set Designer