Budapest (Hungary) – “There were surprises I’ve never seen before and secrets everywhere!” That was the reaction of Team Russia’s Egor Fomin after emerging from the Red Bull Mind Gamers Escape Room Semi-Finals in Budapest, Hungary on Friday. Over two days, 24 teams representing 25 countries have taken on the mysteries of the larger-than-life Escape Room. But the suspense isn’t over yet. The teams will have one more sleepless night until the Finalists are announced to the world on Saturday and – after a showdown of the best gaming minds on the planet – the first-ever Escape Room World Champions are crowned.
In Friday’s action, it was the turn of the Russians and champion teams from Azerbaijan, Oman, Romania, Singapore, South Korea, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine and the USA to complete their rounds. Also making their debut were two multinational Wildcard teams who had been brought together after participation in individual online qualifiers. Budapest is the cradle of Escape Room gaming, and the Wildcards – like many of the national champions – had taken the opportunity to train in the city before the Semis began. (In fact, the World Championship’s participants have been breaking records in traditional Escape Rooms across Budapest.)
Huseynov Valeh of Team Azerbaijan explained, “What excites us about escape rooms is that they are like real life – with challenges and problems to solve.“
Based on how challenges to various intelligences were solved throughout the Semi-Finals, an ultimate Dream Team pulled from the full two days might include talent from Australia, Canada, France, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey and the USA. But to make the Finals on Saturday night, teams must have combined all those diverse mind skills within their own four teammates, and any one of the 24 contenders could be announced as a Finalist.
“This is new, it’s fantastic, and I’m hoping it will lead to more serious Mind Games in the future,” said Fallah Hassan Alsiyabi of Oman. “It means a lot that we are representing our country in something that’s happening for the first time.”
See the Finalists announced – LIVE from Budapest – and then watch them play in the climax of the Red Bull Mind Gamers Escape Room World Championship at 8pm CET on Saturday, March 25, 2017 on Red Bull TV.