It’s finally here. The crowd-funded, immersive version of ’90s TV gameshow The Crystal Maze that you can actually go and take part in with up to seven of your mates is now open at a secret location in London, taking in its first teams on March 15. An NME team was lucky enough to tackle the Maze during press previews (we nailed it, by the way) and were collectively transported back to our childhoods faster than you can shout “To the Industrial Zone”. The maze is largely booked up until November, but tickets are on sale for the period until March next year. Here are five times you’ll want to pinch yourself to make sure it’s not all a dream.
When you put on the Crystal Maze bomber jackets
You and your team mates are each supplied with a Crystal Maze bomber jacket festooned with the show’s logo. They’re not entirely necessary – the Aztec Zone is as hot as hell – but you don’t half feel swish wearing them.
When a giant old telly plays clips of the show
As you’re waiting to enter the maze, a creaky old tube TV displays VHS-quality footage of the original The Crystal Maze, via a quick channel-flick past the Saved By The Bell theme tune. Anybody else get a strange urge to play Pogs?
When you meet the Richard O’Brien type guiding you through the Maze
Ours was a hyperactive Irish man called Dusty, who wore a smoking jacket, played the harmonica, tore around the Maze like a hungry ferret and spoke to “Mumsy” frequently through his earpiece. You could never really replace O’Brien, the show’s iconic host, but Dusty was at least as good as Ed Tudor Pole, who took the reigns for the final two series of the show’s 1990 to 1995 run.
While shouting through the windows at your teammates
Just as in the show, the games, which last one to three minutes each, are played individually. That means one contestant goes in to tackle the challenge while anything up to seven people stand around shouting near-useless instructions at them. This is, of course, deeply frustrating both for the person trying to concentrate while being bombarded with contradictory advice and for the people watching as their teammate bungles a challenge. And it’s a massive part of the fun.
When you hear the words, “Start the fans, please”
Yes, the whole experience culminates at the Crystal Dome, where you’re tasked with collecting as many gold tickets as you can within the amount of time your haul of precious crystals bought you. And as you find yourself haplessly flailing about after bits of foil, you’ll remember all the times you sat scoffing at the telly for the team’s pathetic dome technique and you will feel ashamed.