The world of a secret agent

TEXT: EDDI FIEGEL | PHOTOS © KOEZIO

James Bond is alive and well, and living in Brussels. Or at least, that is true of his alias – John K.

Just ten minutes from the centre of Brussels, at Koezio – the vast, 007-inspired adventure centre at the Docks Bruxsel, special agent John K has developed a secret agent centre with a difference – a live adventure game where you can become a special agent yourself.

Open to small groups of up to five friends, families or couples, each team of agents begins their two-hour mission with a briefing from the Bond-style special agent John K. The agents then have to navigate their way through four physical and intellectual stages, taking in an obstacle course, a mystery maze, cracking secret codes, finding clues and solving mysteries, in order to become a Koezio Elite Team.

It is an intense two hours during which participants experience a range of riveting sensations, whether it is climbing up giant frames or swinging in mid-air as they work their way through the ingeniously devised physical course. Along the way they encounter 007-style set designs with theatrical coloured lights as they battle enigmas and codes. Throughout it all they must do their best to remain focused, confronting searching questions and mustering up courage when faced with the unknown.

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You do not need to be particularly sporty or academic as each member of the team has their own individual role to play and what matters most is working together with the others in your group and building a team spirit, so that each group can succeed.
At the end of the two-hour course, there is a short ‘debriefing’ session where agents can learn vital lessons about their strengths and weaknesses. They can then relax with a drink or if they are feeling hungry, tuck into pizza or raclette in the centre’s café/restaurant.

The Koezio centre in Brussels opened in 2006 and the aim was to create active games where participants have fun whilst learning about themselves. “The idea was an adventure game in teams but where there were no guns, no weapons and where nobody was fighting each other. A fun game with positive values,” explains founder and creator Bertrand Delgrange, also known as special agent John K.

“James Bond was definitely part of the inspiration,” Delgrange continues. “But it was also very important to us that the game we created was based around human values. What’s most important is not the individual but the team, the cohesion of the team, their different qualities and capabilities. Very often games are based around weapons or with video games you’re sitting alone in a room with a screen and with headphones on, so my idea was to do something that involved real emotions and real human interaction within a group. That’s the most important part of the formula and the most innovative aspect. It’s team building not just for businesses but for the general public – for friends and families too.”

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This positive attitude has made Koezio a great success with both businesses and schools who value the important team building values emphasised throughout the missions.

In every game or mission, explains Delgrange, there are questions and enigmas to solve. “We can tailor those specifically for teachers. That way children come for two hours and they learn about team spirit, but at the same time they can be working on questions based on the school’s programme and curriculum. This way it’s really ‘edutainment’, combining education and entertainment.”

Koezio is open to children who are at least one metre 40 or taller (usually around age nine or ten) and the centres are also hugely popular for family outings, birthday parties, Halloween and themed party nights. Prices range between 15 – 28 euros depending on your chosen package.

Businesses likewise flock to the centre for team building sessions and there are Premium conference rooms and tailored services available for seminars and special events. The centres also have the capacity for large groups of up to 300.

Since the first Koezio centre opened in Brussels in 2006, two further centres have opened in Sénart (south of Paris) and Cergy (north of Paris) and there are currently plans to open new venues in the Netherlands, Britain, Spain and Germany.

With 130,000 visitors a year to each park, special agent John K is clearly on a mission to succeed.

For information and reservations, visit koezio.co

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