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People love solving riddles and playing detective, said Brendon Pendley, owner of Enigma Escape Experience in Albany, the city’s first escape room business.

“There’s some kind of thrill that people get from cracking the code or figuring out how the puzzle goes together,” Pendley said.

“It’s like playing a video game, but in real life,” he added.

Family and friends often collaborate to defeat the challenges. Corporate groups on team-building exercises also have been regular customers since Enigma Escape Experience opened in August 2017.

So far, the business has two rooms, the “Hex Room” and the “Tomb of Atahualpa.” Each has a time limit of about an hour for participants to solve the puzzles. Those two rooms are designed for groups of four to 10 people.

A third murder mystery room, modeled after the popular board game Clue, will be opening soon, Pendley said. That experience will have a half-hour time limit only two to four participants are needed.

Pendley said that, so far, the success rate at Enigma Escape Experience is about 80 percent.

He’ll give helpful hints to younger groups, such as teens there for a birthday party or a recent group of Girl Scouts. “I just want to see them enjoy themselves,” Pendley said.

Older residents also have solved the puzzles at Enigma Escape Experience.

Pendley is originally from Salt Lake City, but moved to Oregon three years ago. His business is a franchise of Enigma Escape Experience, which was founded by one of his friends from Utah.

“I was looking for some kind of business. I thought this was something that would go good here in Albany,” Pendley said.

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Kyle Odegard can be reached at kyle.odegard@lee.net, 541-812-6077 or via Twitter @KyleOdegard.

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Business Reporter