Smile Politely

BEST Creative Design of the decade: Champaign Urbana Adventures in Time and Space

From our BEST Arts of the decade feature:

I’ve done my fair share of gushing about Champaign-Urbana Adventures in Time and Space here on Smile Politely, and that is not without merit. In my experience with local “escape” rooms — which is a bit of misnomer…you aren’t trying to escape anything at CU Adventures, you’re solving puzzles — there really is no comparison in terms of design.

A portion of the Smile Politely crew took on The Cabin, one of their original games at the original location, and the attention to detail was astounding. As a longtime fan of the horror genre, they had it nailed from creepy clowns to the overall “something is definitely off here” nature of the inside of this roadside cabin we were supposed to be navigating. Beyond the physical design of the space they created, I was blown away by the intricacy of the clues, and how the innovative minds of Anne and Chris Lukeman and their team were able to string them together into a wholly immersive adventure.

The move to their current location has expanded their ability to flex their creative muscles; it’s a bigger space that can accommodate even more elaborate sets, designed with the help of Joe Taylor, co-founder of Taylor Studios in Rantoul. Heck, even the lobby of the new space is something to behold. 

40 North felt CU Adventures was worthy of an ACE Award back in 2017, and we feel they are worthy of a distinction in BEST Arts of the Decade. (Julie McClure)

Photo by Anna Longworth

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