Local Escape Room is Building a Space Station
Proxima Command Pandemic Good News Story
Amidst news of closures across the food and entertainment industries, this small business in Seaton Village, Toronto, has opted to double in size. Traditionally a starship bridge simulator and escape room, Proxima Command will be reopening in the fall offering a new space station-themed experience.
‘Escape from Space Station X (SSX) is an escape room with a retro SciFi look and feel, reminiscent of Flash Gordon and Star Trek: the original series. Escape artists familiar with Proxima Command will notice that instead of touch screens and display monitors, the new room is filled with switches, buttons, dials, keys, flashing lights and other physical interfaces.
“Players are surrounded by custom-designed metal control panels, each with a specific function. For example, one is a locked safe that requires a key and careful lockpicking to open. Another is part of a pair of panels that are used to prep the escape ship. One of my favourites is the panel that literally balances the power in the room. Too much or too little and the entire puzzle system resets. So, players need to be cognizant of how many puzzle panels are being accessed at a time,” explained Proxima Command cofounder Bob Papadopoulos.
Teams ranging in size from 2 to 8 work together to escape their doomed space station before the self-destruct countdown reaches zero. SSX is played independently from the starship bridge simulator, the SS Odysseus, although both rooms are closely connected in the “story-verse” of Proxima Command.
“The second room is intended to solve a business problem,” said the other Proxima Command cofounder, Michael Chapman. “In the Beforetimes, we had to turn away large groups and very small groups, as the SS Odysseus (our original room) is designed for crews of 5 to 7. Now we will be able to accommodate groups as small as 2 and as large as 28.”
“We decided to try crowdfunding as an exercise to engage our customers, let them know in no uncertain terms that we were still around, and to provide them with great deals on tickets for our reopening in the fall,” said Chapman. “We’re planning to run the crowdfunding campaign in July and August to raise a modest $5,000 to fund the final phase of construction of our space station escape room. The campaign is set to begin July 20th, and supporters can sign in via our website or Instagram account to get a notification email as a reminder. We are planning to reopen both rooms in September. As campaign rewards for supporters, we’re offering prepaid passes to our business, and the resulting discounts will be up to 50% off the regular admission. We have a $10 level for those who don’t plan to visit the room soon or just want to support our ongoing efforts to create cool SciFi stuff.”
“We did seriously discuss closing the business in the initial shock of the pandemic,” continued Chapman. “We talked about it and looked at our finances and monthly overhead very carefully. But we couldn’t do it. We believe in our long-term vision, and the federal and provincial governments were there for us.”
“Michael and I are passionate about the business and our customers. Our starship bridge brings a lot of wonder and joy to our clients, and that means a lot to us,” explained Papadopoulos. “And then there is the Big Dream. We’re in it for that. That’s what keeps us going when the going gets tough.”
“We started this business to learn, so we could eventually construct a SciFi Resort,” said Chapman. “Every project we take on is with that long-term goal in mind. It’s that simple. Bob designed the bridge. He has plans to build it back to an entire spaceship with corridors, engineering spaces, sleeping quarters, you name it. Not only that, but imagine these ships arranged in a circle, and in the middle, in the hub of the wheel so to speak, would be a multileveled space station where all the ships’ crews can mingle. It’s a hotel, an adult playground, a restaurant, a walkthrough experience, a tv show…all under one roof.”
“We take it one step at a time,” noted Papadopoulos. “We started this expansion two years ago, by contracting George Brown College to build our integrated puzzle system. We really got our money’s worth: there are almost a million lines of code running the starship simulator, and at one point there were almost 25 people working on the implementation. The pandemic really slowed things down, but George Brown was a fantastic partner and pushed ahead. We are installing the
systems and building out the decor and extras as we speak.” “And if things get out of hand, meaning we far exceed our crowdfunding goal, we have a plan
for that: further expansion!” Proxima Command is a SciFi Toronto escape room company located at 253 Christie Street. They opened for business in 2018. Its premiere experience, the SS Odysseus starship bridge simulator + escape room, has garnered a rating of 4.9/ 5 stars on over 200 Google reviews.
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253 Christie Street