Escape games.

Escape games or escape rooms have become a hit in recent years. Modern escape games have been around for almost 15 years and are played around the world. Where did they come from, and what inspired them?

Escape rooms are ideal entertainment for those who like puzzles and dream of becoming the main character of their own video game, book or thrilling movie. These are immersive games that are typically played by multiple players. They are “closed” together in the game room with a single task: escape! Players solve puzzles that are found throughout the room, looking for hints and clues to complete their mission and get out within the allotted time limit. There are several different escape rooms at present – scenarios operating on espionage are popular, and a haunted house or an escape from an ancient Egyptian tomb is also famous. What were the escape rooms born from, and what inspired them?

Inspiration and influences.

Escape rooms were inspired by their procedures and mechanisms in computer games, specifically in games that fall into the adventure genre. In these games, players solve various puzzles using a combination of found items, information found and clues obtained. Initially, these games were created as text games, where the player controlled the character/game environment through text commands; later, fully graphical games, most often controlled with the mouse, began to emerge. In 1988, the text adventure Behind Closed Doors was created, which is generally considered to be the first game where the game character is trapped in a room, and its goal is to escape. This concept was adopted, and over the next fifteen years, “escape the room” video games began to adopt not only the concept of an escape room but also the mentioned style of point-and-click interaction.

The title Crimson Room, created in 2004 by Japanese filmmaker Toshimitsu Takagi, became a significant achievement in the field of “escape the room” games. The game is still online and has become one of the most famous representatives of the “escape the room” adventure subgenre.

Another source of inspiration for escape rooms is live-action role-playing or LARPing, a type of “experience” where players play the roles of characters from games or historical events. Other influences from which escape rooms draw include the traditional treasure hunt and interactive theatre.

Behind Closed Doors

The first PC game where the game character is trapped in a room and the goal is to escape.

Crimson Room

One of the most important “escape the room” adventure games.

Live Action Role Playing (LARP)

When players play the roles of characters from games or historical events.

Escape rooms live.

It is perhaps no surprise that escape rooms, as we know them today, were born into the gaming power of Japan. The first escape players played in various Japanese bars and clubs. One of the first modern escape rooms was created by SCRAP in Kyoto, Japan, in July 2007. Takao Kato is considered to be one of the first designers of this type of game. After the success in Japan, companies all over Asia and Europe began to build their rooms. From 2012 to 2014, escape games finally reached the United States. Today, escape rooms are an international phenomenon for those who love puzzles and can be found in more than 60 countries around the world. Escapes have become a popular leisure pastime, but they are also used as an attractive teambuilding activity.

In the middle and at the end of 2014, there was literally a flood of escape games, but many entities providing these experiences soon disappeared due to lack of invention and non-originality. Those who survived are a guarantee of quality entertainment. One of the theories behind the popularity of escape games is, in addition to their undeniable amusement, an increase in the demand for “experiences”. People no longer just want to sit and watch. They want to spend their free time actively and develop their hobbies. Escape rooms fit in perfectly with this type of entertainment, as they bring immersive experiences and force participants to take an active part in the event. Thanks to escape games, instead of just watching the characters and the story on the screen, players are the main characters that influence the action. Players become the heroes of their own adventures, solving puzzles, puzzles, cooperating with each other and helping to create a comprehensive experience. Escape rooms can provide their players with experiences and situations, such as escaping from prison, participating in sophisticated and precisely executed thefts, searching for hidden treasure, saving the world from destruction and much more.

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Types of escape rooms.

Each escape room is unique and offers a unique experience and original challenges. Some focus more on collaboration, others on puzzles, and others attack participants’ senses.

Simply put, we encounter two main characteristics of escape rooms: forms and types of puzzles. The form of the escape room generally determines how players have to solve puzzles, in what order and how difficult the process is to reach the goal. In general, we have two primary forms: linear and non-linear.

Linear escape room.

In linear escape rooms, the puzzles are usually solved one after the other, with each providing clues to help move on to the next. These escape rooms are more straightforward and require fewer people to solve. They are great for beginning escapers. They are also an ideal form for those who are building their first escape room.

Non-linear escape room.

Non-linear escape rooms require players to solve multiple puzzles simultaneously, often within a time limit. They are ideal for large groups divided into smaller teams focusing on individual tasks or small groups that dare for more demanding puzzles. Tasks in non-linear escape rooms often consist of several linear challenges that come together in one big puzzle. Non-linear escape rooms are ideal for more experienced players.

The impact of the COVID-19 disease pandemic on the emergence of outdoor escape games.

The pandemic has affected all sectors – not excluding escape rooms. However, this unfortunate situation has offered an opportunity to adapt and innovate the world of virtual entertainment and expand escape room concepts beyond limited spaces. Digital escape rooms are the result, and outdoor escape rooms are a promising innovation.

Although escape games face challenges that bring various limitations, this type of entertainment will certainly be around for a while. Escape rooms are part of modern culture and provide hours of stimulating and engaging entertainment for families, groups of friends and work teams.

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