We had the good fortune of connecting with Juliana Moreno Patel & Ariel Rubin and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Juliana Moreno Patel &, what’s something about your industry that outsiders are probably unaware of?
Playtesting! Most people think the core work of game design is, well, designing the game. And, of course, that’s a large part of it. But the secret of game design is that most games are made in playtesting, especially if they are doing something totally new. Anytime we design a game, we build out a working prototype and have a wide variety of people play through the game while we watch. We take notes while we watch, paying attention to what people are saying and doing, their body language, how frustrated they are, what they think they should be doing, and lots of other factors. We redesign based on what we observed, smoothing out frustration points and adding in as much fun and engagement as possible. Then we test again! Playtesting allows designers to ensure that their work is enjoyable by a large portion of their target audience. We are so grateful to all of our fabulous testers who have struggled through rough games to help us get to our final products!  

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.

We are so proud to have built a company whose mission is Finding New Ways To Play. With everything going on these days, the world needs more play: a chance for people to engage with the people around them, relax, and have an experience that allows them to be the hero of their story. We were the first to create an Escape Room In A Box that was playable at home and since then we’ve been delighted to create new twists on social deduction games, food delivery games, and lots more! We love inserting puzzles and games into unexpected places such as marketing or brand activations, music festivals, historic sites and theme parks. Puzzles are such a fantastic way to engage your audience. We recently worked with the Santa Monica Pier to develop an app called Secret Story Tours. This is a complete revamp of their historical tour. Rather than having a tour guide lecture at you, players solve puzzles that have been installed on the pier in order to discover the history for themselves. It’s available on both the app store and the Google Play store and has the added bonus of being Covid friendly in that it is done outdoors and you’re only interacting with the people in your pod. We’re excited to see what the future brings and to continue to develop new ways to play!

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
To make this exercise more fun… let’s assume it’s not in the middle of the Covid Pandemic! LA is home to some of the best immersive entertainment in the country! First, we’d take them to some of the stellar escape rooms around the city (a few favorites are Stash House, Hatch, Mayan temple at Escape Room LA, and Magic Kingdom at Maze rooms). Then we’d check No Proscenium to learn about what kind of awesome immersive theater was happening so we could get tickets for that. For food, we’d visit some of our favorite restaurants in the city: Margot, Bestia, Maude – as well as some truly unique to LA places like Inn of the Seventh Ray and Vespertine. Don’t forget dessert – Zooies Cookies, Susiecakes, and Sweet Lady Jane would all be on the itinerary too. Beyond that, we’d cram in a sunset hike or two, picnics on the beach, and cocktails at some of LA’s great bars!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
We want to shout out Joe Lefavi of Genuine Entertainment! In addition to running one of the coolest companies around, he is always ready to lend a hand or offer advice. His wisdom and guidance has truly shaped our company’s trajectory, and we are so grateful to have had his support as we launched our company from a Kickstarter success into an award winning interactive entertainment company.

Website: www.wildoptimists.com

Instagram: instagram.com/thewildoptimists

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/juliana-moreno-patel-4315a81b3/

Twitter: twitter.com/escaperoominbox

Facebook: facebook.com/wildoptimists

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.