Homecoming 2020: Two alumni create a virtual escape game for the uOttawa community

Posted on Tuesday, October 6, 2020

A tunnel with the shadow of a man cast on the wall.

Eric Marcotte (BScHK ’15, B.Ed. ’17) and Nicolas Marcil (BSocSc ’16, B.Ed. ’18) have known each other forever. They’ve done everything together, from sports to student jobs to teacher training.

In 2016, while these Orléans natives were studying at uOttawa, they co-founded Mobile Escapes. They were both working in a local afterschool program when they came up with the idea of organizing an escape activity in their employer’s offices. Given the event’s unqualified success, they immediately realized that they had stumbled onto something interesting.

Initially, Mobile Escapes was meant to complement their teaching careers, but the concept generated so much enthusiasm that the two alumni quickly decided to dedicate themselves fully to the venture. “We love creating positive reactions and watching the celebration at the end – seeing these groups take pride in their success,” says Eric Marcotte.

Escape rooms are popular the world over, but they are usually held in a fixed location, which is exactly how Mobile Escapes sets itself apart from the competition. The co-founders have found a way to adapt the concept to any environment, whether it’s a private home, a conference room, or an academic setting.

A game especially designed for uOttawa

In light of current COVID restrictions, the dynamic duo shifted to a virtual environment and to creating brain-teasing games tailor-made for their academic and private sector clients. And with this in mind, they designed an online escape experience for the University of Ottawa community to enjoy during uOttawa’s 2020 Homecoming celebrations.

Players are dropped into a deserted, haunted campus; the only way out is to navigate through a series of underground tunnels. And to make their way through this maze, players need to solve, either as a team or solo, 12 puzzles that centre on the University’s faculties, sports teams, and campus trivia. What better way to stir up nostalgia in our alumni!

The Haunted Tunnels of uOttawa will be available for free online from October 24 to 30, 2020, in both French and English. The brave souls who manage to escape will have their names entered in a draw to win one of 100 virtual escape maps courtesy of Mobile Escapes.

Everyone is invited to sign up online. While you’re at it, check out the complete range of Homecoming 2020 activities.

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