Hackney escape rooms reopen following a 'challenging' year of lockdowns

A team uncovers a clue in a Modern Fables's escape room. 

A team uncovers a clue in a Modern Fables's escape room. - Credit: Lesley Flower Harris

Escape rooms in Hackney have started back up again from May 17, but financial pressures following Covid lockdowns mean they are off to an "anxious" start. 

Jay Harris, founder of Independent Hackney escape room venue Modern Fables near Broadway Market says the Covid lockdowns have meant his business is 80 per cent down on profits compared to last year. 

Modern Fables was open 'whenever rules allowed' he explained, adding: "I’m quite anxious about reopening as we just don’t know how things are going to go and the financial pressures are still very challenging.  

"Things have started much better than the other reopenings but are still far away from what we need."

The founder says he has spent the time updating the venue's website and making tweaks to the games, which involve a team of people discovering clues and solving puzzles to break out of a themed room in a limited amount of time. 

A Modern Fables game called Hypersomnia.

A Modern Fables game called Hypersomnia. - Credit: Jay Harris

Jay added: "At least I know we’ve done everything in our power to get through whatever comes."

Customers can expect rigorous Covid precautions which include all spaces and props being cleaned after every game and the offering of masks, gloves and hand sanitiser. 

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The additional cleaning means the number of games a day has been decreased but, Jay says: "Luckily, [the precautions' have minimal effect on the fun as it’s mostly behind the scenes."

The lockdown also gave Modern Fables a chance to create digital games playable through Zoom. 

One of the games, called Medogan, is a modern twist on 'old-school' that allows you to choose your own adventure stories and text adventures popular in the 1980s. 

"These are a part of the same story world as all our physical escape rooms [with] similar retro vibes and the oodles of atmosphere our customers expect from us," Jay said. 

All Modern Fables' games are designed and built-in house and Modern Fables' latest online offering is Nexusurf, a game where you get to bring down an evil corporation using a time-travelling website.  

Jay added: "As a message to our customers, I want to thank them from the bottom of our collective hearts for all the support and encouragement over the past year."

Find out more at Modern-Fables.com

Modern Fables reopened on May 17 following a year of lockdowns. 

Modern Fables reopened on May 17 following a year of lockdowns. - Credit: Jay Harris


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