Ever since the rise in popularity of escape rooms, Room Theft emerged as an activity seemingly inspired by Room Escape, yet with its own perks. The greatest difference between escape rooms and Room Theft is that instead of escaping, the main purpose of the latter is to rob a room of its valuables within 60 minutes. Players aim to earn as much cash as they can from their robbery and flee the themed room before the police barge in.
Once you step into the brightly lit store of 480th Street, one of the only two Room Theft cafés in Seoul, you are greeted with a variety of different-themed doors. 480th Street includes numerous intriguing themes, such as the New York Bank, a bank frequented by members of the Mafia, and the Secret Defense Intelligence Agency (S.D.I.A), which requires players to break into government headquarters. The theme I chose to play was Emerald City, in which players break into an empty apartment, risking the owner walking in on your burglary.
The specific objective of each robbery varies based on the theme of the room: for Emerald City, my job was to steal jewels and bundles of cash. Before starting the activity, one of the workers provided me with some basic information about how to work my way through the theft. She informed me that I, being the burglar, had to pick locks once I was inside the apartment, since I would not have any keys available. The worker walked me through different methods of opening locks and gave me some time to familiarize myself with the process. Lock picking was my favorite bit of Room Theft because it added immensely to the building-up of suspense.
Another interesting aspect of Room Theft is that there is some role play involved. 480th Street’s workers participate in the game with the customers and act out scripted scenes, necessitating collaboration between the two parties. It was a little embarrassing at first to interact with complete strangers, but this element was a distinctive feature of Room Theft that allowed deeper immersion into the game.
Room Theft is a highly interactive activity that requires agility, quick thinking, and a little acting skill. As an avid escape room user, I found Room Theft particularly enjoyable because it also incorporates components of room escape. One can expect to encounter secret rooms and hidden vaults during his or her Room Theft venture while also experiencing the thrill of pretending to be a robber. If you happen to be wandering around Gangnam in search of something new to do, Room Theft is definitely worth your time.