Steve Stone

Developer. Designer. Youth Worker. Nerd.

Escape the North Pole

Escape the North Pole Escape the North Pole Escape the North Pole


During the pandemic of 2020, youth groups all around the world were shut down. We wanted to create a product that would be fun and be able to be played collaboratively across Zoom. We brainstormed and decided a Digital Escape Room was the perfect idea.

In this escape room you look for clues that will give you the key to enter the next page. We encouraged youth groups to run their own events using Zoom's breakouts so can communicate openly without giving away hints to other teams. Groups that need help can go back to the main room for clues. When you get to the last room, there is a secret phrase you have to tell the game host in the main room. Hundreds of youth groups ended up playing this and it was a huge success for these youth leaders and students who had felt alone for months got a taste of relief.

Unlike other escape rooms, there's no "collecting items", because the idea is individuals will collaborate over a Zoom and if someone discovers a key and unlocks a room, anyone can share the URL to catch their team up.

Behind the Scenes

In all, there are 6 rooms, over 50 routes with clues and red-herrings, images, codes, Youtube embeds, and Spotify playlists. This meant I needed to create a design style and organization system to manage all of this content. I ended up building custom numeric keypad, piano, glyph-pad, username/password, memory game, and sudoku game components from scratch. It had to be responsive to work on any device, because we didn't want to exclude any students from being able to play. Oh, and we had just over two weeks from approval to product launch.

To this day, it's one of my favorite programming projects because it was collaborative, fast-paced and such a huge win for youth workers! I loved playing a part in the entire process, from getting to help with writing the gameplay and story, to working with the designers, to then doing all of the development and deployment.