Wednesday, January 4

The Crystal Maze Click for more info

I'm usually the first to poo poo "experiences" aimed at us children of the 80s. I'm all for nostalgia, but I refuse to to pay for what essentially amounts to an emotional bullet to the head. But when some friends suggested we participate in The Crystal Maze I was curious - this would actually be quite interactive, and finally I'd have the chance to prove I wasn't as stupid as those contestants I saw on the TV. Don't lie - we all thought it. On the other hand £50 was quite the price to pay, but peer pressure and my own temporal flippancy prevailed and we booked our slot, almost 7 months in advance.

The experience itself was quite good. Now obviously I'm not to go into too much detail (can't have anyone cheating) but I think it's reasonable to discuss things like the quality of what was on offer. As expected it wasn't really a full fat Crystal Maze experience - it was always clear that we were in an office block, and some zones (I'm looking at you Futuristic) were actually quite laughable. Of course there was no Richard O'Brian, but our maze master was adequately fun, encouraging and helpful.

The games themselves were actually rather good, and I felt tested us in the same way contestants on the show were. As it was a team activity we didn't actually get to directly participate often, but as a group it was easy to remain involved. Oh and the whole thing was only 75 minutes which, understandably, flew by.

Oh and yes, we were validated both on personal (I won both my rooms) and group (by our performance in the dome) levels, although really the best advice we were given and can pass on is to really not worry about winning or losing.

So was it worth it? Well I have to say it really was a lot of fun - partly for the nostalgia, but mainly for the group hi-jinks and messing around. After the euphoria faded however I did conclude that at £50 it wasn't actually that great value for money: that much could get you a couple of escape rooms or real-world game that would last much longer than this did. So yes, I guess what I'm saying is that my initial hunch was correct, with this Crystal Maze experience being more about the nostalgia than the team-building or challenge; but that's not necessarily always a bad thing either, even though I can personally think of more enjoyable ways to spend my time and money on.

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