Escape rooms, also commonly referred to as escape games, puzzle rooms and adventure games, are a real life adaption of the popular online point and click adventure games. These real life physical adventure games have players collect clues to solve a series of puzzles and riddles in order to escape the room. This usually involves a specific theme, task you need to complete and a time limit.
These types of games originally became popularized in 2004 with the release of “Crimson Room” an online point and click adventure game created by Toshimitsu Takagi (Japan). Crimson Room has since spread throughout the internet and can be found on many gaming websites. The first real-life escape room was released in Japan by Real Escape Game (REG) in 2007. In 2012 REG brought the first escape room to the United States, un-surprisingly located in San Francisco’s Japantown. In 2013 the first American based escape room company, Puzzle Break, opened its doors in Seattle. By 2015 there were more than 2,800 escape rooms world wide.
Although escape games and their structures vary from company to company, here are some typical elements you will find across the board:
Themes/Storyline: Most escape rooms have a theme that the game is based around. Common themes include zombies, treasure hunts, science laboratories and kidnapping scenarios. Many escape room companies offer multiple rooms with different themes to choose from. The storyline and objective are generally based off of the theme and the rooms are usually decorated to fit that theme.
Your game master will may start you off with a short introduction about the game, giving you its storyline about how you, the player, have ended up in this situation and what you must do to escape. For example, in a kidnapping scenario game, you may find yourself in a dim room, with dilapidated walls and furniture, maybe handcuffed to the wall. You must find the key to your handcuff and the door to escape from your kidnapper. In most games, players have very little contact with the game masters, making the game as immersive as possible.
Teams: Many games are designed to be played by groups of 2-10 players. There are some exceptions to these group sizes, but it depends on the game. You must all work together to complete the objective.
Time Limit: The average length of an escape room is 60 minutes, with some games lasting as long as 120 minutes. Success rates (number of groups that escape) can vary from 2% – 60% depending on the difficulty of the game.
Puzzles/Clues: Your group will be given a series of puzzles within the game that you must solve. The clues you find around the room will help you solve the puzzles. Many games have a linear game play, meaning that you must solve one puzzle before moving on to the next one. This doesn’t mean that you will only find clues that will help solve that specific puzzle. You may be collecting clues that will be useful later on in the game.
These are some typical physical components you will find in escape rooms:
Locked doors: You may come across a number of doors that will be locked. You must find the key in order to move forward into the next room.
Locks and keys: This may not be your typical lock and key. Some locks may be number or letter based and you must solve the puzzle or riddle to find the correct combination. There are also locks that require magnets to unlock them, or even a series of actions that must be completed to unlock the lock.
Multiple Rooms: The room you are first put in may not be the only room you need to escape from. You may need to unlock multiple doors in order to complete your escape, which leads to the next component…
Hidden Doors: Some escape rooms may contain hidden doors. These passageways may be hidden behind bookshelves, wall decorations or even just blend right into the wall itself.
Live Action Escapes, located in downtown Worcester MA, currently offers games with themes such as a crime scene reenactment, a sci-fi space flight, an end of the world scenario and more. We design, build and create the entire game from theme and storyline to props and puzzles. You will not find another game exactly like ours anywhere!