– For companies which currently combine teams to just stop doing so. In practice, if would-be players see that a slot is partially filled, do they really tack themselves on? How much extra profit do companies really get from such an unfriendly room policy?
– More old-school technology or mechanics, not just flashy electronics. Some of my favourite parts of the European escape rooms I’ve tried were their hands-on mechanical aspects, such as using a typewriter or filling a bottle with water in order to make something float to the top. Closer to home, the now-defunct Mysterious Lab room at Phantom Joker (I keep referring to defunct rooms because I don’t have to worry about giving spoilers) had one puzzle requiring teams to pipette water into a plastic container. That sort of hands-on work feels more real and thus more satisfying, to me, than punching buttons on some digital contraption.
– Fewer scary rooms, or at least not rooms which are so scary that they hamper puzzle-solving. The fact that practically all of Trapped SG’s rooms are marketed specifically as being scary means that I am very unlikely to try them.
– No more reliance on darkness as a cheap way of ramping up the difficulty. It can sometimes have a place (the use of darkness was one highlight of Phantom Joker’s Spooky Forest room), but if it’s not actually relevant to puzzle-solving, then dim lighting should just be atmospheric instead of an obstacle.
– No puzzles that rely simply on tedious execution.
– A greater variety of puzzles, and in particular, fewer of those straightforward matching ones. Yes, yes, I have an issue with matching puzzles. But honestly, in their simplest form they barely even count as puzzles: you’re literally just matching a given set of symbols with a given key. What’s the fun in that? At least hide the key somehow, or give some twists to the formula.