By John Lauritsen

EDINA, Minn. (WCCO) — There’s a place in the Twin Cities where you can be Indiana Jones, Sherlock Holmes, or Lara Croft for a day.

Missing Pieces Escape Games in Edina is one of about a dozen escape rooms in the Twin Cities.

“Now it looks like a normal room, but there are puzzles and clues hidden all over the place,” said Matt Steinman.

With escape rooms, there’s always more than meets the eye. You win the game by using your mind…. if you don’t lose it first.

“We have things in here that are purely decorational and we have players get hung up on it- saying it HAS to mean something,” said Matt.

Matt and his family grew up playing all kinds of different games. So when escape rooms began popping up in the U.S., the ideas began popping up in family meetings.

“For Christmas that year, my mom made a home-made simple escape room game that we played at the house,” said Matt.

That’s where the ideas evolved for “Missing Pieces.” Matt’s in charge of marketing and operations, but his parents, his 3 siblings and even their spouses all have a role. Together they are engineers, teachers, writers, programmers, problem solvers and now creators of a giant puzzle.

“I thought after we had played a couple, I think we can do this. I think we can manage it,” said mom Sheryl Steinman.

“There’s a lot of texting late at night, could we do this? Have you thought of this? What do you think of this? It’s fun,” said dad Dave Steinman.

They designed Diamond Dilemma, and there hope is to eventually have three or four rooms open. That includes Ruined Raiders, which will open in March. The Missing Pieces in all of this are really the people.

“It’s a blast. It’s an absolute blast. I love it,” said Amy O’Malley.

Amy is an escape room addict. On this day, she and her co-workers ventured into the Diamond Dilemma for some cell phone-free team-building. It’s fun for them to solve clues, and just as much fun for the Steinman’s to watch their progress.

“We’ve seen people get a little heated in there and then we’ve seen the best communication come from family and friends,” said Matt.

“Time goes a lot slower when you are watching them on camera, than when you are in them,” said Anthony.

Here, you get one hour to put the pieces together before time expires. There are real-life challenges.

“Everything is an ‘A-ha’ moment. Even just a padlock if you can get it open- it just excites everybody,” said Sheryl.

Fifty percent of the groups that go in find the diamond.

“When they solve one of these, every room is buzzing,” said Dave.

Lucky for Amy and her crew, they fell into the successful 50 percent.

“There are clues everywhere that you don’t think about and then it just becomes an adrenaline rush and it’s the fastest 60 minutes you can have. It was awesome,” said Amy.

That’s exactly what the Steinman’s want to hear. They’re hoping the game is talked about long after the missing pieces have been found.

“They are still talking as they go out the door- what if we did this? How did we miss that? That was a real a-ha moment,” said Dave.

The Steinman’s say there are a lot of great escape rooms in the Twin Cities and around the country.

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