The Original Escape Rooms – When Did It Begin
Everything has a history, even escape rooms. This is a brief look into the original escape rooms. Technically a massive brain teaser, playing escape games means you to follow a series of clues to solve a puzzle so you can eventually escape regardless of the scenario. The theme of an escape room can range from anything from escaping an Egyptian tomb to a regular living room with no specific theme other than finding the clues to solve the puzzles and escape the room you are in.
Origins of the Game
The concept of Escape Rooms or Escape Games initially were adapted from video games where players have to solve mysteries by interacting with other players around them in order to breakout from the room and go to the next level. The first Escape Game video game was created in 2004 by Toshimitsu Takagi with the game title of Crimson Room. This invented the term Takagism which is now used to refer to this type of game.
The closest of these pioneering concepts to contemporary escape games is 5 Wits which was founded in 2003 and first opened in Boston in 2004. It combined the elements of interactive theater, theme parks, and the kind of puzzle solving game play common in escape rooms. Nevertheless, even 5 Wits do not consider themselves as an escape room.
In 2007, then 35-year-old Takao Kato of SCRAP Co., a Kyoto publishing company, founded Real Escape Game. Outside Japan, Captivate Escape Rooms were established in Australia and Singapore from 2011 and by 2015, the market has grown to more than 60 games. A friend of Takao Kato, Kazuya Iwata, brought Real Escape Game in 2012 to San Francisco. The next year, Puzzle Break, a Seattle-based company founded by Nate Martin was the first American-based escape room company. Japanese games were mostly composed of logical enigmas and conundrums, such as color-coding or mathematical sequences, just like the video games that inspired it.
Evolution of the Game
Some of the original escape rooms were mainly made up of logical puzzles that were solved using a paper and pencil. As Escape Rooms progressed and technology were integrated into the game, physical locks were included that could only be opened by discovering hidden keys, combinations, and codes using different objects typically found in the rooms to make the game more immersive. These concepts have advanced with the use of automation technology and immersive decorations while integrating an elaborate storylines. These significant changes in escape rooms have enhanced the visitor’s game play experience and made puzzles more interactive.