Locked in an office? For charity?! (A Chat with Chris Gissing)

Who would have thought that locking people in a room could raise money for charity?

Chris Gissing, for a start! He’s one of the brilliant people creating an activity for Race for Science. Chris is a Director at Citrix, but he’s also an avid escape room fan. I’ll talk more about Citrix’s sponsorship in a future post, but for now here’s my interview with Chris about escape rooms, charity events, and Race for Science.

Jess: How did you get into escape rooms? What do you like about them?

Chris: Like most people who love Escape Rooms, I got “into” them by playing a local one. In this case Secret of the Tomb at Cambridge Escape Rooms. Our team of 5 smashed into the top 10 on our first ever escape, and that was that! I’ve since gone onto play over 80 different rooms, and designed multiple escape room experiences and puzzles. I particularly love playtesting and providing feedback on how rooms flow. I love the different ways designers think, and getting into someone else’s mindset to solve their rooms. It’s also a whole hour where you don’t feel the temptation to look at your phone 🙂

Jess: What was Ominous Office? Tell us about the experience of developing Ominous Office:

Chris: The Ominous Office was a charity room based around the theme of a rogue AI. Hosted at the Citrix R&D offices in the Cambridge Science Park, we took over a meeting room and created a dystopian escape room centred on AI and IOT.

Jess: What inspired you to create the pop-up?

Chris: The local Children’s Charity Week was looking for local businesses to support their campaign to raise funds for micro-charities across our local area, focused on helping kids and their families who are in need of some extra support. A great cause, and a hyper-local charity in terms of where Citrix is based in Cambridge.

Jess: How did it go?

Chris: We raised over ÂŁ8000 for CCCW, and managed to encourage dozens of teams to try our escape room experience. We had some very competitive teams, all trying to make the leaderboard as well as beating their colleagues.

Jess: What made you want to get involved with Race for Science?

Chris: The Race for Science is obviously a great idea, and it’s a charity I am very happy to support at a personal level. We feel that lending our expertise to help make the event a success and a regular activity in Cambridge has a lot of appeal.

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