Carley Tauchert

Sep 12, 2017

With The Crystal Maze open for you to have a go in London and Manchester, we took on the challenge. Start the fans…

Open now in both Manchester and London is your chance to take on The Crystal Maze. It’s the kind of opportunity that almost seems to taunt those of us who sat and watched the show on its original run – and/or its current revival – and reckoned we could do better. But could we? Well, bluff called. And with a new batch of tickets going on sale today if you’re looking to try the Crystal Maze yourself, Carley went to have a look at what was in store.

There probably isn’t much in the way of TV game shows that I’ve sat and watched and thought you know what, I really fancy doing that (bar The Movie Game, Fun House or Pointless). But if you take a step back in time to the early 90s, 9-year-old me really, really wanted to do the assault course on The Krypton Factor and to do basically everything on The Crystal Maze. Except, you know, for the giant plug game. Who on earth finds changing a fuse fun, after all?

Now I’ll never commando crawl through mud under a giant fishing net, which knocked The Krypton Factor out. But when it was announced The Crystal Maze was opening its doors again and this time to the public then destiny called.

Destiny called in this instance, actually, not too long after I’d given birth to a child. As such, this was not the closet to physical fitness I have been. Mr Kiplings I can help you with, though. You don’t get a crystal for those, of course.

Anyway: I became part of Team Geek’s assault on The Crystal Maze at its London venue.

Now I’ll point off straight off the bat, Team Geek did not go into this to win. We went in to have some fun and live out youthful whimsy, and deliver quality digital content at the end. This strategy was in no way informed by the fact that our competition were, er, ‘on the competitive side’. Rest assured, we gave it our best shot.

After a quick safety briefing and even quicker wearing of official bomber jackets we were scurried off into a room to be reminded why we were there by watching old clips of The Crystal Maze. We were then introduced to our maze master who was beautifully kooky and loud and then the fun and games began.

It was a hoot.

I do need to say huge props to the people behind this. The zones were fantastically re-created to be as faithful to the TV series as they possibly could be. You can see the effort and detail and love of the show running through the entire experience. The games have also been re-created to a similar high standard and you will come across at least one or two of your personal favourite as you hop through the zones.

Although games are played individually you really do get the sense of it being a team effort – as with the game show there are little windows to shout instructions, give encouragement or just shout get out really, really loudly.  The latter, it turns out, is as much a key strategy in person as it ever was on the TV show.

Time flew when we were playing the games. If you can overlook – and it’s easy to do – the sight of crew members occasionally resetting challenges, it’s not hard to immerse yourself in the Maze. And on the off chance there was any doubt as to how real it all felt, there’s the end game. The Crystal Dome itself. Stepping inside there? Well, it was the highlight. Once you hear the shout of ‘start the fans please’ and start chasing after little bits of golden tin foil a part of your soul just gets a little warmer.

Team Geek, I should say, did not disgrace itself in the end. No, we didn’t win, but it’s not always about winning. When you don’t win, it’s important to remind yourself that it’s about taking part. We were fine with the result.

We lost by ten tickets. Ten sodding tickets. To a team that had more time in the Dome. Not an issue, just furnishing you with the correct information. We do, though, have an amazing time. We suspect you might, too.

A new batch of tickets for The Crystal Maze: Live Experience is on sale from today, for both London and Manchester. Find details right here.