Contrary to popular belief or the movie “Saw,” escape room games have little to nothing to do with being locked in a room or a life or death scenario. In fact, they are actually quite family-friendly and make for a fun team-building opportunity for you and your co-workers to let loose. The upcoming addition to the lineup at Skellington Manor will have you reliving one of downtown Rock Island’s more raucous times.

A ccording to Skellington Manor owner Penni Steen, this type of entertainment started overseas in the early 2000’s and has started to gain popularity here in the Midwest within the last few years. She and her husband Mike, the other owner and co-conspirator of the madness, played escape games in various cities in Iowa and learned more about them as the years went by.

“We got in at the beginning,” mentions Penni. As a venue that also operates a haunted house attraction in season, this added another source of fun and creativity.

“We make it fun,” she says. “It’s nothing at all like the movie ‘Saw.’ No one gets locked in or anything, and there’s really nothing scary about the games.” In essence, an escape game is much like a board game come to life. Actors play roles of different characters pertaining to a carefully curated storyline and help guide teams of players as they solve clues and puzzles in order to figure out a mystery.

In case you’re not a master of mystery, the actors, who are more like entertainers, assist you in making sure you don’t get stuck along the way.

The next two games in the latest installment of Skellington Manor fun are a John Looney themed game and another set in the Prohibition era.

Why Looney?

“The fact that the downtown history is rich with John Looney folklore that has somewhat been forgotten these days, we thought it’d be fun to bring that to life again in a building that dates back to an era when both he and Prohibition were in full swing,” says Penni.

Although the Argus Building stands in the shadows of Skellington Manor, it isn’t the same facility as the one which caused Looney so much angst – but can still be part of a play on history.

In the end, she mentions, “the takeaway is that we overcame corruption and Prohibition ended. Rock Island has a great story to tell and we hope that people have a little fun while we tell it.”

Be on the lookout this summer – the legend of John Looney lives on and you never know where you’ll start seeing signs of him!

More about the games:

Looney: In this 60-minute thriller, the Feds are closing in on Looney and local authorities have asked you to find secret documents he has hidden in one of his local gaming parlors. You have 60 minutes to get the evidence to throw the book at Looney once and for all before he frames you! Be on the lookout, you don’t want to get caught. The boss doesn’t like stoolies!

Prohibition: You’ve been invited to one of the last remaining Speakeasy joints left in Rock Island. We don’t want the fuzz interfering with our drinking pleasure, so please keep the location a secret. Some of the joints have been getting raided and the boss wants to find out who the snitch is. With your help, we can find this rat and get on with the business of drinking, gambling, and socializing. We got the word the fuzz is on our tail! You’ve got 2 hours to get to the bottom of this and find the snitch before the 420 Club gets shut down!

Skellington Manor
420 18th Street