When the Head of People and Culture at the company I work for said the entire team was packing up at 2pm and heading to Melbourne Central to run around the city solving riddles, I thought she was an idiot.
I had a to-do list that went across three pages and I had more emails to respond to than Oprah Winfrey.
I didn’t leave my desk until seconds before I got on the train, and even then, I thought there were better things I could be using my brain for than Sudoku.
That all changed when I met Sergiy Zubaryev, the Ukranian mastermind behind Urban Quest Real Life Games.
His personality and passion were infectious and all of a sudden, I was rolling my sleeves up, tying my hair back, and sprinting across Swanston Street looking for clues.
All inhibitions were lost as I ducked into laneways, pieced together puzzles and brazenly walked up to strangers looking for the next time-tapped code.
I was so intellectually stimulated by this live-gaming experience that I decided I should share it with you all.
What is Urban Quest?
On selected Saturdays, the city of Melbourne turns into a virtual playground with teams of four to six competing in an “Amazing Race” inspired competition.
Guided by cryptic tasks on a smart phone, players are immersed in a fun, exciting and interactive experience that requires real time engagement with apps including Instagram, and Periscope.
From baristas to unsuspecting bystanders, the whole city is in on the secret and you have no idea who is holding the envelope with your next clue.
The company I work for is growing rapidly. We have three or four staff members joining the team every week, and as a result, I had never spoken more than two words to any of the people in my group. They’re developers and I work in marketing so aside from a bit of tea-room banter, we’d never had an opportunity to collaborate.
Working together on this sweaty project was a bonding experience like no other.
I realised that quiet Ed was competitive, Clarke was Speedy and Chad knew Melbourne like the back of his hand. We’ve been parading our trophy on our desks all week and are still laughing about how ridiculous we looked running around the city like a pack of wild-dogs.
In hindsight, an afternoon out of the office wasn’t a waste of time at all. It was the adrenalin pumping outlet I needed to reduce the stress I’d been feeling all week, and when I walked into the office at 7:30am the next day, I felt happy, motivated and ready to innovate.
Urban Quest Real Life Games aren’t just for team building.
Sergiy and the skilled actors behind his company can provide experiential entertainment for any personal milestone including birthday parties and hens’ nights. They even hold public events for those interested.
It all begins at the Lion Hotel located on Level 3 of Melbourne Central and takes approximately two hours.The entire challenge costs $40 per person, and all you need to get started is a fully charged smartphone with mobile data.
Watch this video to see what it’s all about.