3-4 keys on a wooden table coonected to the chain with the text "escape room"

Escape Room – The what, how and the history?

An escape room is a team building game full of quests and riddles. You have to solve the problems in order to get out of the room. To succeed it is necessary to use logic, creativity and team work as well as completing physical tasks.

One thing we know about mankind is that we have always been found of games and entertainment. Some of the earliest known modern games originated in Egypt about 5000 years ago. And while the human race sought to reach further and further into the sky with taller and more advanced buildings, they never ignored their fascination for games. Today games are more advance than ever.

Thanks to technology and the inventive mind of us humans, we can now enjoy the best game ever designed:

ESCAPE ROOM

In the very beginning of this blog post you will find our short definition of an escape room. Since you are reading this, the chance is that you already had an escape room experience. First of all, let me pin-point in greater detail exactly what I mean by an “escape room”.

In this blog entry I want to focus on escape rooms that take place in real life, and where there is some sort of mechanic at work. There are many names to these kinds of games. Some are “escape quest, adventure escape, quest room, escape game” and more

The escape rooms that I describe are the ones where you have to use strategy and intellect to solve puzzles. Often times there will appear to be some kind of “magic”, supported by technology. It can reveal a mystery or open a passage to get out of a room… Or the technology, such as a flat screen, can be out in the open where you have to use it to solve problems.

Most of the time these quests will be solved in a team effort and has a timeframe. 60 minutes is the most common. Sophisticated escape rooms use a mix between technology and mechanic constructions.

The escape room can also consist of more than just one single room, and most games do. 2-3 rooms in an escape game is the most common.

If the escape room is constructed in good way, it will challenge different kinds of intelligence. Examples can be lateral, linguistic, logical, visual, and social intelligence. In addition to this you will get to use your body for different physical tasks. This makes escape room the ultimate challenge wrapped into a neat package.

Example of an escape room

So, what does an escape room look like? I will give one example from the escape room called “In the magic world”.This is an establishment in Oslo with theme from the Harry Potter universe. Take a look at the video.

As you can see there will be riddles following each other. A riddle can be one simple quest or a series of riddles connected together. In the event that they are connected the answer to one problem must be used to solve another task.

The origin of the escape room industry

How did it all start? As many other genres within the gaming industry it all started in Japan. The year was 2007. The game REG (real escape game) was launched by a Japanese publishing company called SCRAP co. Prior to this escape game, there were family entertainment centers in the USA, such as 5 wits.

During the first few years the Japanese escape games mainly consisted of logical puzzles similar to the escape rooms that could be found in form of computer games. If you like to orient yourself through videos, you can take a look at this independent viewpoint on the background history of escape rooms.

The escape game industry today

Once the escape room experience had been introduced to the public there was no turning back, and during the next ten years or so it went from being strictly underground to have the mainstream appeal we see today. As of August 2018 there were over 5000 escape rooms throughout the world.

In most of the world’s largest cities escape games are one of the biggest attractions. In the larger perspective one might wonder whether they are going to be a flop, or if the escape room industry is here to remain at the top. What do you think? It is not easy to say, but time will probably tell.

Considering the fact that escape rooms led to several other kinds of related games, it may yet stay for a while. Today you can enjoy escape box games, a closely related game, in most of the largest cities throughout the world. Yet another entertainment option that has popped up as a result of escape rooms, are the escape room board games. This is an easy accessible form of entertainment that you can play at home with your family.

Escape rooms versus Live-action role-playing games

Some might argue that live action role-playing games starting in the 70s had an influence on the escape games of today.  In these games you play a character within a plot, often set in advance. You will make your own choices according to your character, the plot that is set, and in accordance with the other players’ actions.

However, this kind of role-playing game is freer than the set up in an escape room. One huge difference is that the characters and pre-written plot is central in the role-playing game, while this is true for very little of the escape rooms that are around.

Conclusion

Escape room had its introduction in Japan, 2007. Since then it has gained a lot of popularity, and there are over 5000 of them around today. The object of the game is to get out of a room by using logic and completing physical tasks. By engaging in the game, the players get to put many different kinds of intelligence to the test. Usually the room has a theme (such as Harry Potter in our example). Other newer games are spin-offs of the original escape room game. Examples are escape box and escape room board games.

Do you want to play escape room now?

 

LITTERATURE:

Bookboon blog: So what is lateral thinking anyway?

Lateralaction.com:The 8 Types of Creative Intelligence

ILocked: A Look at the History & Origin of Escape Room Games

Buyescapegames.com: Escape Room Listing: how many rooms are there worldwide?