August 2021 Links Roundup

Book Club Posts

This month, we read:

Articles, Posts, and News

No Proscenium’s Leah Davis writes about Evermore Park, and whether its ambitions are able to match its reality.

Cory Doctorow has kicked off a multi-part essay series about crowd control and load-balancing in theme parks. The first, “Are We Having Fun Yet?” talks about the origins of the Disney parks as an escape for Walt Disney:

“Seen in this light, Disneyland isn’t just an ambitious built environment — it’s a tangible expression of the misery of an ambitious, sorrowing, restless, creative, and deeply flawed man’s desire to outrun the calcified structure of his life.”

Jamie at Armchair Escapist writes about a (fictional?) 200-year-old treasure hunt that’s playing out over TikTok.

The 2021 Thea Awards program by the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) is viewable online or available for purchase. The Nest (Los Angeles) won the Thea Award for Outstanding Achievement, Connected/Immersive Storytelling”:

The future of themed entertainment is intimately linked to the evolution in demand for a more immersive, entertainment and authentic dialogue between storyteller and guest; a dialogue that can sometimes be experienced in a multitude of ways, that empowers the guest with an entry point that feels autonomous, intimate and that pushes the boundary between a “choose your own mystery adventure” and theater of the mind.


Dr. Richard Bartle is giving away his essential book about online world design, DESIGNING VIRTUAL WORLDS, for free. Download a copy here.

The Psychology of Design: 101 Cognitive Biases & Principles That Affect Your UX. Neat site with helpful examples.


No Proscenium interviews John Krizanc, creator of 1980s immersive play Tamara, on the latest episode of their podcast. The book is available in print; this thread from Kathryn Yu provides additional context.

The new episode of Reality Escape Pod discusses the behind-the-scenes of RECON, the upcoming escape room convention. Its first year, 2020, had to pivot to become a digital event; now, it is designed to be digital from the start.


The website is seeking submissions to help catalog games from all over the world.


September 17: Meow Wolf Denver/Convergence Station is scheduled to open in Denver, Colorado

August 22-23: RECON (Reality Escape Convention), online conference, free tickets available for Basic Access

Fun Stuff

The Meow Wolf Denver sign is lit:

Source: Vince Kadlubek

Meow Wolf Denver/Convergence Station is scheduled to open on September 17.

The United States Postal Service (USPS) is selling a set of “Mystery Message” forever stamps for $11 a sheet:

Self-promotion zone! My book, PLANNING YOUR ESCAPE: STRATEGY SECRETS TO MAKE YOU AN ESCAPE ROOM SUPERSTAR was released on August 3. If you’re in the US, you can get a copy for yourself or a friend here. (UK residents will have to wait til September for print copies.) If you’re an escape room wanting to stock copies at your venue, please contact and we’ll put you in touch with the right folks.

Book: User Friendly by Cliff Kuang with Robert Fabricant

USER FRIENDLY by Cliff Kuang and Robert Fabricant is a fun, easy-to-read overview of the history of industrial design and the field of user experience (UX) design.

The book argues that good design can be literally life or death. It opens by describing how the Three Mile Island nuclear accident was fundamentally an error of design, with a control room full of non-intuitive buttons and confusing on/off indicator lights.

Continue reading “Book: User Friendly by Cliff Kuang with Robert Fabricant”