Next Level Escape was founded by Daniel Thomason and Aaron Hooper, an unstoppable duo with a passion for puzzles and too much nervous energy to remain in their jobs as economists. Allow us to introduce them – here’s Aaron!
Aaron Hooper – cables, cogs and charisma
Every escape room needs an expert tinkerer. Someone who cut their teeth on lego, who was both the bane and the darling of their high school science teachers, whose fingers are constantly itching to fiddle, to disassemble, to improve. For Next Level Escape, Aaron is that expert.
Aaron is a technical wizard whose free time is almost entirely spent flying drones, building electronic gadgets, and finding ways to automate the tea-making, mail fetching, and other routine tasks around his house (the rest of the time he is eating ribs, or thinks about eating ribs). His finest hour as an economist was when he built a skill-test machine for his work team’s Christmas party. (It involved twitch reflexes and needles popping balloons adorned with co-workers’ faces. If you ask politely he might show it to you!) Starting an escape room was inevitable: his love for building machines combined with his enthusiasm for puzzles made an equation that – as his former colleagues could have calculated – only had one solution.
Outside escape rooms, Aaron’s passion is space. His ambition to eventually build a spaceship firmed with his recent visit to the Kennedy Space Centre. Creating puzzles and props for Next Level Escape is the first step towards his dream – from there it’s just a matter of scaling up, right? His favourite cosmological object is Hyperion (one of Saturn’s moons), because it’s also the name of a pretty badass Titan from Greek mythology.
On an average day at the office, Aaron can be found with a hammer/screwdriver/drill/staple gun in hand, constructing the latest contraption to baffle and delight players. He will occasionally put down the tool to dream up some purely intellectual puzzle, too.
You will instantly earn Aaron’s love if you ask about his latest props and offer to test a puzzle or two. Be warned though: there’s a risk that you’ll be so enthralled with his devices that you’ll lose track of time and only emerge hours later!