Escape room games are real-life puzzle experiences where you are shut in a room and must find clues and solve challenges to escape in the allocated time.
It sounds a little creepy (you are paying someone to lock you in a room, after all) but it is a lot of fun. Great rooms incorporate different elements to add to the experience, including sound effects, costume props, multimedia puzzles and hidden doors and passageways. Above all, solving the riddles and earning your escape is a huge thrill.
Apps and computer games lead the way
The escape room genre originated as point-and-click (or point-and-touch) games where objects have to be collected and codes solved to get out of the room. The Room, Forever Lost and Dooors are just a few of the games that have taken the App Store by storm, amassing millions of downloads and surging to the top of the charts.
Escape rooms are an extension of this concept. Wouldn’t it be fun if you had to search for clues, solve puzzles and use your wit and determination to get out of a physical room? In the same way that Humans vs Zombies become popular on university campuses around the world, escape rooms gives everyday people the chance to do something extraordinarily, wonderfully fun.
Escape rooms become real
Depending on who you ask, real-life escape rooms started in Budapest, Hungary, or in Japan. Either way, the phenomenon has grown since beginning in 2011 (Budapest), with rooms popping up across the world. The craze spread across Europe and Asia, with an explosion of intricately-designed rooms with out-of-this-world themes in an effort to make a point of difference.
The biggest downside of escape rooms also works to its advantage: you can only play the room once. It means that once you’ve finished all the rooms in a venue, that’s it – until they change it or add another room. This makes for a highly competitive market, with other operators springing up seemingly overnight because once someone is hooked, they’ll play every room in the city.
Australia got its taste of an escape room in October 2013 with Mystic Clue opening its doors in the Perth suburb of Cannington. In a short space of time, dozens of venues and even more rooms have sprung up across the country, offering unique and engaging experiences.
As the word spreads about what escape rooms are and as more people try them, demand for new experiences will only increase. We’re really excited to see what the game masters have to offer.