Start the fans, please!
I’ve always been a big fan of the Crystal Maze. I loved Richard O’Brien as the host and all of the running around trying to solve the puzzles and laughing at contestants that got locked in or fell into the water. I remember watching a special episode where they’d got children in the Maze instead of adults and was really jealous of the children and remember thinking to myself, “One day, I’ll be on the Crystal Maze” (I was only young, #dontjudgeme)
So, when they announced they were bringing the Crystal Maze back via Crowdfunder, I jumped at the chance to do something. First thing was trying to get a team together. I sent a text to the usual suspects to say that if I could get 7 other people interested on a first come first served basis, then I’d send money for a team off to Crowdfunder. My partner was in the room when I sent the text out, and was the 5th person to reply. I’d got a full team of 8 together, plus 2 reserves. Money went off to Crowdfunder, and we waited.
It seemed like forever before they confirmed that they were ready to take bookings. And once they announced available dates, I had to try and find a day that everyone could do. Not an easy task! We settled on a date, and I booked us in. I did have problems booking but after several phone calls and a bit of hassle, we finally had the booking sorted.
Cue more waiting. People that we knew went to the Maze and came back saying it was amazing, which I think got us even more excited. The week before we went I was worried that it might not live up to my expectations (which were pretty high). Finally the day arrived, and the team members set off down to London. We’d been pre-warned that the venue wasn’t well signposted, but managed to find it pretty easily.
The initial entrance wasn’t very Crystal Maze-y. There isn’t a sign outside to let you know you’re in the right place or anything, but there were a couple of people in the reception area wearing t-shirts with crystals on which gave it away!
We went in, put all of our belongings away and had the chance to don the fabled jackets. We were the green team so our jackets were a lovely forest green. We waited around our green table, in our green jackets, very excited for games to begin. It was a really warm day so we were told we wouldn’t be able to take the jackets in with us as it would be too hot (it really would have been!)
After a quick brief from one of the team members about safety, we were taken to our start room – ours was in the Medieval Zone – and we were left to watch a video before our Maze Master appeared. Our Maze Master was full of energy, which was really good as there isn’t much time to rest while in the Maze! It’s pretty full on. When you’re not in a room doing an activity you’re probably cheering on a team mate, providing “helpful” advice or trying to think of who’s doing the next room and what type of room it’ll be. There are 4 room types, Physical, Skill, Logic and Mystery.
I won’t say much about the individual rooms, but I’m pretty sure they are all rooms based on the TV show. So, if you’re planning to go, watching some reruns would be useful! Going as a full team of people was a definite advantage as we knew who was going to be better at some of the types of games and who would be a disaster. I also loved how the Maze Master didn’t try to be a copy of Richard O’Brien but instead had his own style. I don’t think it would have worked otherwise!
The zones were incredible, and felt true to the show. The Aztec zone was full of sand (trust me, I accidentally bought a shoe-ful of it back), the Medieval zone was dark and gloomy, the Futuristic zone was clean and crisp and the Industrial zone was really well done. My only criticism is that it was hard to see through the windows of the Futuristic Zone rooms. All of the other viewing windows were really good in the other zones.
After the games, it was off to the fabled Crystal Dome to try and collect as many gold tokens as we could (no silver ones in this version of the game!) We were the last team to go, so tried to pick up hints from the teams before us. Sadly, all of those teams cheated but weren’t called up on it until the end – so we collected tokens using techniques the other teams had used… and were told that our scores wouldn’t be counted as all of the teams cheated! We did get chance to get a photo of the team in front of the dome though.
All in all, we had a fantastic time. We hung around in the bar around the dome afterwards and had a drink, talking about our favourite games. Everyone on our team had managed to get a crystal and played at least two games, so there was lots to talk about. We were warm and sweaty after running about in the Maze but no one cared as we’d had so much fun. I’d definitely recommend doing it if you get a chance. There’s also chance to buy any souvenirs after the games, a few of us bought crystals (you can’t do the Crystal Maze and not get a crystal in my mind!).