Penn State news by
Penn State's student blog



Drunk, Sober, High: Escape Room

The latest entertainment craze sweeping the nation, Escape Rooms involve locking your team in a room and trying to escape by following a series of clues and solving puzzles. As games of wit and ingenuity, it’s no wonder finding your way out of an escape room is even more interesting with varying levels of inebriation.

We chose three lucky writers to willingly get drunk, high, or stay sober — and then be locked in a room together at Escape Room Inc. in  Calder Alley. Here are their recollections of how they (eventually) got out.


If I told you I helped my team escape in any way, I’d be completely lying. High did pretty well, but if it weren’t for Sober I’d probably still be in that room needing to take a piss, which I did, badly. Incompetence and a full bladder aside, trying the escape room a little (read: extremely) intoxicated was worth it. Personally, I didn’t understand the rules, the plot, or the time limit when we started, but the girl explaining it to us seemed so nice and I didn’t want to offend her by asking again.

I figured out immediately how little help I’d be in the grand scheme of things, so I decided to really focus my attention on one task at a time and look busy. I spent about 10 minutes at the bookshelf flipping through the reading material. There could’ve been all the clues in the world in those pages, but I was thinking about a chicken taco from Yallah because I think about that whenever I’m drunk. The original Yallah, too. Not that new stuff by McLanahan’s. Sober found a clue right around now and a loud bang reminded me that I was in an Escape Room. The clues were hard to pinpoint and it was definitely because I had been drinking.

When we started, Sober and High seemed on the same page. Being high and sober are like two people at a party who each know a different host — they don’t know each other, but neither minds the other being there because they can talk a little. Being drunk in that combination is like the guy no one knows who wanders in. Everything I said was just wrong. I think Sober figured out to ignore me after the first few clues. Once the game got a little more intense, I think High was faking it when agreeing with Sober. Too many blank stares and “oh yeah”s. Thankfully, the staff members at Escape Room offer you a few clues over the walkie-talkie while you’re in the room.

After Sober figured out the next clue, a passage slid open to another room. Apparently in the second room I was staring an important clue in the face right when we walked in, but didn’t understand it. I think it was designed for someone who hadn’t stopped off at the Rathskellar for “just one more drink” before coming. Surprise, surprise, Sober got it and saved the day again. I looked at the clock and we only had two minutes left. Sober did his thing with the paddles he found, while High and I cheered him on and we won the game in the nick of time.

While High and I contributed a little (read: very much) less than Sober, it was a blast (I think? It’s a little blurry). If you want any chance of figuring out this room, definitely bring someone who wouldn’t register up on a breathalyzer.


First of all, you need to know that if this is National Treasure, I’m Nicolas Cage. Drunk and High were the meaningless supporting characters who did nothing the whole movie while Nicolas Cage, i.e. me, single-handedly steals the Declaration of Independence.

I left my apartment feeling relieved to have an opportunity to procrastinate the essay I was supposed to be finishing, but also disappointed in my state of sobriety. At least an escape room is more fun than attending a UPUA meeting sober.

I met High outside of the escape room building where we were quickly joined by Drunk. We made some small talk about escaping rooms and such. I found out now that our most experienced member was also our most inebriated. Needless to say, I did not have high expectations for our group heading into our adventure.

A worker read us our scenario, which mostly went over my head. I can only imagine how much of it registered with my non-sober partners. It was something about finding clues in the office of the chancellor to prove some sort of collusion. She then gave us Walkie-Talkies. Drunk was particularly excited about it. She then offered us one last opportunity to use the bathroom before locking us in the office. Drunk decided to break the seal.

Once finally inside the room, we got to work finding clues. The escape room was really cool because all of its features were automated. I first found this out when a secret compartment dropped open loudly. Overtaken by surprise, I let out an unashamed yelp.

Overall, we did pretty well considering the state of our trio. We made it out with just over a minute to spare, so we weren’t setting any records. Still, a win is a win. I don’t want to take away from Drunk and High’s contributions to the team because they did some good work. I was truly surprised at how well they performed under pressure. If it wasn’t for me, though, they would still be in that room.


As the high person in the escape room, it’s an understatement to say I experienced a plethora of emotions. First of all, it was one of the most entertaining experiences ever. With that being said, I’ve probably never felt more stupid in my life. The hour pretty much consisted of Drunk and me walking around the room, completely useless, while Sober did 99.99% of the work. It’s also worth noting that every single time our team made a new discovery and a new clue was unveiled, it was normally accompanied with a loud noise…which scared the crap out of me every single time.

The plot of the escape room was Penn State themed, which absolutely delighted me. Our mission was to sneak into the President’s office and find all the fraternity charters (There’s definitely much more to this story, but I was honestly too high to remember the entire plot). However, all the nuggets of Penn State information and weird fraternity décor (including paddles) kept my mind extremely entertained, which was necessary since my mind was racing at 100 mph. Much of my time was spent thinking about how ~meta~ the situation was. The fact that we’re attending a university with a recent fraternity scandal and were also inside an escape room investigating a fraternity scandal occupied my mind for a good 15 minutes.

My time in the escape room essentially consisted of me overthinking every possible detail. I probably stared at some pictures on the wall that had absolutely no useful information in them for about 25% of my time in the room. I also spent an inordinate amount of time thinking about how the mechanics of the room worked instead of actually solving the puzzles. How did they know that we got the puzzle pieces in exactly the right spots?!? We later found out that they put sensors in all the puzzle pieces that align with sensors placed in the wall.

At one point Drunk mentioned that a certain feature in the room was similar to something in the critically acclaimed movie National Treasure and as a result I stood there thinking about Nicholas Cage for another 25% of my time in the room. What would Nicholas Cage do if he were here? Can I name Nicholas Cage’s entire filmography? Has Nicholas Cage ever been to an escape room? Was he as nervous as I am right now when he was stealing the Declaration of Independence? It’s also very likely I looked exactly like this during my entire escape room experience:

Your ad blocker is on.

Please choose an option below.

Sign up for our e-mail newsletter:
Support quality journalism:
Purchase a Subscription!

About the Author


Posts from the all-student staff of Onward State.

Dear Old State: A Love Letter: Max Zarbo’s Senior Column

“Throughout the rollercoaster that was our time together, one thing persisted: you always welcomed me with open arms.”

Penn State Alumna Haley McClain Hill Talks Winning Deal On ABC’s ‘Shark Tank’

As CEO of her own company, the Penn State alumna recently made a deal on the popular reality series.

[Photo Story] Paul Johnson Rolls Through Happy Valley In Transcontinental Run

A large group joined alum Paul Johnson on his trek though State College during his run from Los Angeles to New York City.

Follow on Another Platform