The brains of the future

Courtesy of Red Bull Newsroom

arah Dodd of Team United Kingdom tries to solve the escape room during semi finals of the first-ever Red Bull Mind Gamers Escape Room World Championship in Budapest, Hungary on 23 March, 2017. –
Photographer Credit:
Predrag Vuckovic/Red Bull Content Pool

Who are the people helping shape one of the world’s fastest growing sports?

We may not know it just yet, but the 96 competitors at Red Bull Mind Gamers may be game changers. Literally.
Dr Scott Nicholson commented after Slovenia’s victory in the first ever Escape Room World Championships that he hoped the event would “help others realize they can change the world through games.”
There is no doubt Escape Rooms are here to stay, popping up all over the world and attracting famous faces like former US President Barack Obama to their doors.

Members of Team United States Jason Lee, Shuai Chen, Tammy McLeod and Richard Chiburis watch the finals of the first-ever Red Bull Mind Gamers Escape Room World Championship in Budapest, Hungary on 25 March, 2017. –
Photographer Credit:
Mark Somay / Red Bull Content Pool

At Mission: Unlock Enoch in Budapest, many of the sharpest minds on the planet took on the challenges presented to them, and they all had a story to tell.
Meet Sarah Dodd, a double black belt martial arts enthusiast who combines her love of puzzles with saving lives working as a hospital doctor. Luckily for Sarah, her passion is growing in her home country of the UK, where they now boast more than 600 escape room after having only one at the beginning of 2013.
Also with a story, Karolis Misevicius from Lithuania, a world championship contesting underwater rugby player alongside his industrial technology management studies.
The mixture of talents, skills and backgrounds were on show for all to see but despite the most represented age group of the 9000 qualifiers being between 25 and 34, the World Final featured many young brains under the age of 22.
In fact, more than 50% of the 96 competitors were students reading subjects including industrial chemistry, geology, archeology, aerospace engineering, and mechanical engineering.
Alongside them the field featured among others, IT specialists, engineers, a doctor, a DJ and a scientist. Only a handful actually worked in the gaming industry, which cements the theory that there is no real formula to creating a successful team.

(L-R) Members of Team United Kingdom Mark Greenhalgh, Sarah Dodd, Sharan Gill and Ken Ferguson pose for a photograph during the first-ever Red Bull Mind Gamers Escape Room World Championship in Budapest, Hungary on 23 March, 2017. –
Photographer Credit:
Mark Somay / Red Bull Content Pool

The UK had played more than 1000 escape rooms between them prior to the final, while eventual winners Slovenia only met during qualification and had never played one together before.
For virtually everyone though, it was the first time they had represented their country, the pride clear to see on their faces from the 40 night-vision cameras hidden in the rooms which joint together, where bigger than a professional basketball field.
To change the world takes time, but some of the best young minds in the world proved in the Hungarian capital they have what it takes if they continue the journey.
As Erno Rubik, creator of the world famous Rubik’s cube, said from the audience: “Creativity is very strong in young people; what is important is to keep it alive.”

Members of Team Ukraine and members of Team Slovenia try to solve the escape room together during the finals of the first-ever Red Bull Mind Gamers Escape Room World Championship in Budapest, Hungary on 25 March, 2017. –
Photographer Credit:
Predrag Vuckovic/Red Bull Content Pool

What did they say? A selection of quotes from the countries:

Domantas Povilas Kirsnys, Lithuania – “Wow! It’s the first time I’m representing Lithuania and I hope it’s not the last.”

Mats Mikkor, Estonia – “The scale was really big. We are very proud of the chance to represent our country. We hope to be back when the sport is even bigger.“

Tammy McLeod, USA – “I’m very honored to be representing the United States, and it’s very exciting to meet people from around the world who share my interest in Escape Rooms.”

Megan Kish, Canada – “I have never travelled outside of North America or been to one of these before, and I’m the only Canadian, which is great and humbling.”
Jung Wonyoung, South Korea – “We are so passionate – it feels very good to represent Korea! We are so happy.”

Niclas Bassili, Sweden – “I feel like a rock star. It’s been a big honor to represent Sweden, and also a lot of pressure – we have to live up to a lot of expectations. We were always working and trying to solve things, always moving forward.”

 

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