Lia Beck
April 22, 2020 11:10 am
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Wild guess: You’re looking for something new to do. Perhaps because you’ve been quarantined inside your home for weeks on end thanks to a pandemic? Thought so. Sure, there are a million movies out there on a million different streaming services, but if you need something different, might I offer you a Harry Potter escape room? Bet you haven’t kept boredom at bay with that yet.

The Harry Potter-themed digital escape room comes to us thanks to the Peters Township Public Library in McMurray, Pennsylvania. It was created by Sydney Krawiec, the youth services librarian, according to Apartment Therapy. (Way to go, Sydney!) She decided to create the virtual escape room after the library closed down due to coronavirus. The library had previously held real-life Harry Potter escape rooms, and Krawiec “really wanted to be able to offer an online alternative that families and friends could still work on together from their homes,” according to the library’s site.

The setup of the game is that you’re a first-year student at Hogwarts. We’re excited already.

As part of a bonding experience with the other new students, your house prefect “tells you about a new Muggle trend where they lock themselves in rooms and have to answer puzzles to get out—no magic at all!”

After this, you have to click through different scenarios that mimic an actual escape room. For instance, making the connection between text messages about books and a poster with numbers on it, or balancing a Gringotts scale with sickles, knuts, and galleons.

While you might be picturing a video game where you can digitally explore a room with your avatar, that’s not what you’ll get. This thing is really bare-bones and exists on Google Docs. It’s kind of refreshingly old-school. (Think: Oregon Trail.) It also involves some simple math, so you might come out of this feeling like you really accomplished something. (Or that might be enough to keep you away. No need to force yourself to do math right now if you don’t want to.) The game takes about 15 minutes to complete, according to the library, and is suitable for all ages.

In addition to the game, Krawiec made a YouTube video that teaches people how to make their own Google Docs escape room, if you want to make your own.

Maybe you can’t go to an actual escape room with your friends right now, but this is a solid—and very different—way to pass the time until you can.