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Storefront: Escape room opens in downtown Roanoke

Storefront: Escape room opens in downtown Roanoke

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Brandon Ford (left) and Benjamin Shaw outside their 2,000-square-foot space on South Jefferson Street, the new home of Deciphered Roanoke.

The first highly anticipated escape room in downtown Roanoke opened on Thursday. 

Deciphered Roanoke has been under construction since its owners signed a lease last month to go into a former office building at 15 S. Jefferson St. next to the Wells Fargo tower. Two recent Roanoke College graduates, Brandon Ford and Benjamin Shaw, created the business after visits to other escape rooms inspired them. 

Escape rooms are one the latest trends in the "experience economy." An escape room works much like a real-life video game. Groups of people pay to get trapped in a room and are given challenges to find their way out in a certain amount of time.

Deciphered Roanoke now has two rooms: Our Last Breath and A Few Morsels. 

Our Last Breath plays on a space explorer theme where participants must discover an oxygen leak in order to survive. A Few Morsels requires players to take food from a cabin before the owner returns. The themes focus on objectives for players to save themselves as opposed to just breaking out of the room like many escape rooms. 

Deciphered Roanoke is already taking bookings and planned to host the first group at 4 p.m. Thursday. The experience will cost $20 per person or $100 to book the entire room. The game is for ages 10 and up.

Read the initial story about Deciphered Roanoke coming downtown here. 

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