A few weeks ago I time travelled. I popped to a futuristic world, a medieval castle, an Aztec desert and the industrial revolution all within the comfort of a nondescript office building in North London. Ok, so I didn’t stumble across a Tardis, instead I took part in the Crystal Maze.
The show’s comeback was confirmed early in 2015 after a Crowdfunding campaign, to raise money for the London-based maze, hit its target of £500,000 in just 8 days. Luckily my friend was one of those funders and while not televised it promised to be exactly as it was in the good old days!
The reason it’s taken me a while to write about it is purely because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who is going to take part in the future. Picking the right words can be time consuming. I’m not going to say what the challenges were but I will say, without hesitation, that they are perfect replicas of the ones in the show. To such an extent that when we watched a few old episodes the night before on YouTube to revise, I saw a challenge and immediately said I would love to do it. Roll on the Aztec Zone and I ask for a physical (not that kind, get your head out of the gutter) and find myself in the exact task, safe to say I wasted about a third of the time just cheering and laughing before I got my head down on the task ahead of me. My biggest fear before we started was that I would be useless, not get any crystals or worse get locked in the room (which happens if you over stay the time limit). Luckily I was gifted two tasks that I would consider easier than most, mainly because they involved brute force and not much thinking.
We were guided through the maze by a brilliantly bonkers maze master who would have given Richard O’Brien a run for his money in the crazy stakes.
But why write about it if I’m not going to tell you anything about it? Well, lately it seems that nostalgia just isn’t what it used to be and I walked into the maze suspecting that I wouldn’t feel much. I thought I would enjoy the day but feared a hipster conspiracy, a maze that was a shoddy shadow of its former self, like all these tv and movie reboots that fall far far short. The feeling I felt as we ran to our first zone, with the theme music playing, banished all that. It cannot be described, only seen, so if you can get tickets to go, go. It’s worth it for the goosebumps alone, when they shout “WILL YOU START THE FANS PLEASE” and you grab giddily at the tokens floating around you in the dome.
I have to admit it was one of the funnest, sweaty, competitive and in some cases fear-inducing experiences I’ve ever had, a sentiment that was echoed by my friends who took part with me. Was it the fact that we got the most crystals that our maze master had ever seen? Maybe. Was it that we beat the other three teams we were playing against by a single token in the dome? More than likely. Was it that for two hours we forgot everything else and were in the crystal maze? Definitely.
Three Song Playlist
The Japanese House – Still
The 1975 – Somebody Else
Corinne Bailey Rae – Stop Where You Are