Escape room birthday present

August 8 2023

How I made a mini-escape room as a birthday gift.

As my girlfriend loves escape rooms, I decided to make an escape-room-inspired puzzle for her birthday.

1. Cmdle

Step 1
Screenshot of 'cmdle' output post-correct-guess.

We both really enjoy playing Wordle together, so a while back I had started coding up a command-line version while on a flight. This morphed into the first phase of the puzzle, whereby finding the answer would give the next clue.

The word was ‘SUSHI’, which upon being entered would be colored in a very non-Wordle-correct way.

The source is available on GitHub.

2. Sushi Go Cards

Step 2
Using the colors of the word 'SUSHI' on screen, the idea was to create a Sushi Go hand.

The foreground and background colors of each character in ‘SUSHI’ roughly match these cards. The game was left on my desk directly under the monitor.

As the wasabi is a multiplier for the next nigiri, this generates the four-digit code ‘1332’.

3. Quixo Arrow

Step 3
Searching the room, one would find Quixo. The next move as O would form an arrow.

I assumed that this game would stand out as it had not been on my shelf previously. Following the rules of Quixo, if one were to play as O they could easily win in a single move. This would be to take the cube with the O facing down and to the right in the picture, slide the remaining four cubes in that row down and replace the taken cube in the empty spot with O face up.

This forms an arrow out of O’s, pointing towards my closet.

4. Padlocked Suitcase

Step 4
The arrow points to this suitcase in the closet, and the code to the padlock is from the cards.

Once the padlocked suitcase was found, all that was left was to enter the code ‘1332’ from the Sushi Go hand. This unlocked the suitcase and the birthday gift (comprising of multiple board games, including the open Quixo).