New Cyber-themed Escape Center Has a Little Bit of Everything
Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis raised an ax in the air and hurled it at a target on the wall. Onlookers packed into the Broad Ax Throwing Room at downtown’s new Source Code Escape Games cheered. Davis tried it a few more times.
Minutes earlier, Davis had used the ax to instead cut a ribbon, signifying the official opening of a new 7,900-square-foot escape room series on Broad Street, next to Sole.
“We chose this location very deliberately…just so we could bring some excitement and entertainment to downtown Augusta,” said Vinnie Ingallinera, the escape room’s owner.
After retiring from Fort Gordon, Ingallinera was looking for a way to apply his cyber skills elsewhere. He decided on a series of cyber-themed escape rooms after designing and building them at his Augusta-based business Puzzle Props Inc.
As cyber becomes an increasingly well-known Augusta industry, Ingallinera wanted to infuse his knowledge of of things like network hacking into Augusta entertainment.
“I thought, ‘I’ve got to do this as a room, that’s how Hacker’s Headquarter’s got started,” Ingallinera said.
But Source Code has more than just cyber-themed games. Posters that read “Hacker’s Headquarters” and “Subject X: Abduction” line a hallway that leads to games ranging from five-minute escapes like “The Ringmaster’s Dressing Room” to the latest in virtual reality escape games. There, players can tackle a series of puzzles in space or face their fears in a horror room.
Of course, if you get stumped, don’t worry. You can take out your frustrations in the four-lane ax-throwing room right down the hall.
“Our rooms are more of an adventure than just an escape,” said Liz Bellman, who works at Source Code Escape Games as an assistant to Ingallinera.
Bellman had been a stay-at-home mom for nearly three decades and was looking for a car on Craiglist when she came across an advertisement that Ingallinera was looking to create a team.
“It has shown me a creative side of myself that I didn’t know I had,” she said.
Deaudis Dixon, another employee at Source Code, sits in a back room with two computer monitors, watching the movements of players in “The Ringmaster’s Dressing Room.”
“It’s interesting to see how people interact,” Dixon said. “You get an insight into most people.”
That’s one reason Ingallinera is marketing the venue for corporate groups that want to evaluate and strengthen their teams’ skills. While escape rooms have become a common destination for businesses throughout the country, virtual reality escape games are still new territory for most.
A self-proclaimed gamer, Dixon couldn’t get enough of it, so he bought a virtual reality headset himself. At Source Code, players can choose virtual escapes from a sci-fi abduction, a pharaoh’s tomb or a haunted mansion.
In total, Source Code includes three virtual reality games escape games, the ax throw and three full escape rooms (two large and one 5-minute escape), with another set to open soon.
Source Code Escape games is open on Wednesday and Thursday from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday from 3-11 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.