Does the thought of paying money to be locked in a room, given a time limit, and forced to escape the room by solving a series of puzzles as a team sound less than appealing? Perhaps it shouldn’t. Over the past few years, escape rooms have become incredibly popular.
An escape room in Frankfurt, Germany.
The real world escape game idea first emerged in Japan in the mid-2000s and was inspired by video games of the same premise. Since then, escape rooms have popped up all over the world like the U.S., Japan, Taiwan, China, Canada, Hungary, Brazil and Israel.
Escape room games require teamwork.
What is unique about the escape room game is that it combines storytelling, puzzle solving, and social interactions in the 45 minutes to an hour that participants are locked inside a room. The game is focused on teamwork, whether it’s between friends, co-workers, or a room full of strangers. Rooms are set up for groups of 5 to 12. Sometimes small groups are merged together as a larger team to escape. Each escape room has a different story and theme to it.
We chose to play with zombies in our first escape room experience.
Our first escape room experience was in Seattle at the Trapped In A Room With A Zombie game. The story was that a doctor accidentally caught a virus that turned her into a zombie. She had chained herself in a locked room as a safety precaution (yes, there was an actual person dressed up as a zombie!). Our goal was to find the key to unlock the door to escape, all while the zombie tried to eat us. The kicker was that every 5 minutes the zombie’s chain got longer!
An escape room with an alchemist theme.
Fear not! Not all rooms have a real live actors trying to eat or kill the players. Escape rooms are all very different from one another in backstory, design, décor, props, and how clues are found. Some rooms are great to play around Halloween with blood, zombies, and other gory props. Other rooms have military, ninja, medieval, or pirate themes. The possibilities are endless.
Clues are scattered throughout escape rooms in various shapes and forms. Some of the puzzles can be solved linearly where once one puzzle is solved the next clue is given. Other times the clues don’t have any obvious connection to one another until all of a sudden when they do. No room can be escaped if participants only work on their own – the games are designed to be solved as a team. Once the time clock starts ticking, everyone will franticly rummage through contents of the room while yelling out loud clues and thoughts. Be prepared to be hoarse the next day.
It’s difficult to choose an escape room from the hundreds established across the country. Website like Room Escape Artist and Yelp really help narrow down the search because they offer in-depth reviews and comparisons of rooms. Or this will make a great road trip idea if you want to check them all out!