Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Find the way out, if you can.
Find the way out, if you can.
Image: Buda Mendes (Getty Images)

Self-isolation is inspiring a very specific kind of creativity in people. Some are doing extended livestreams on Instagram, some are churning out quarantine-themed TikTok videos, and still others are creating virtual escape rooms that play out over a series of Google Docs. OK, well, only one guy is doing that last one.

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Anthony Smith, current VP of published content at grassroots-focused digital media company NationSwell, shared his unique creation on social media recently and dozens have already tried their hand at escaping this creepy, dreamy, digital space. Given the limitations of the Google Docs interface, the game’s aesthetic and mechanics are fairly barebones. “All you have to do is escape the room before you die,” reads the instructions page. “Don’t overthink it. Don’t underthink it, either.”

Illustration for article titled Escape your boredom with this at-home escape room made with Google Docs
Screenshot: Escape: A Game by Anthony Smith (Google Docs)

Because you’re not really physically trapped in a room, the game plays out much more like a Choose Your Own Adventure novel, with the player being presented with a handful of actions they can take, each of which opens a new tab with more information and further actions. Sometimes, however, your choice will lead you somewhere unexpected, like an obscure YouTube video about “the illusory nature of physical reality.”

In these isolating times, it’s also important to remember that you’re not alone in this. Click on the “Turn off the little lamp” action and you’ll find yourself in the game’s virtual guestbook where any player can write their own little message. But beware, spoilers abound.

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Contributor, The A.V. Club. Pay me to write for you, you coward.

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