Who would have thought that being locked in a room with a bunch of people could be so fun?
If you have traveled to Budapest or Asia in the past couple of years, chances are you have heard about the latest craze captivating thrill-seekers around the world. “Escape room games”, as they are called are based on video games in which the player must find hidden objects and clues, solve puzzles, and use their brains to escape an intense situation. These popular new attractions challenge the mind, titillate the senses, and by demanding careful communications between team members, they encourage team-building and bond strengthening.
The basic idea sees you and your family (or a group of friends) locked in a realistically-decorated, themed room with the objective of escaping from said room in an allotted amount of time (usually about one hour). Just like the video games, your team must find hidden objects, unearth clues, and solve puzzles and riddles to make it out. According to CNBC, few actually complete the mission, with business owners claiming a success rate of only about 20%.
The report explained that the first escape room game was established in Japan in 2007, by Takao Kato – and has since spread throughout Asia, Europe, and are now popping up all over the US and Canada. BBC says the games have become a real hit in Budapest, Hungary, with numerous companies offering several different themes and locales. The Strait Times recently reported on a number of escape room games in Singapore, and even a few escape room events. Overall, the costs to play seem to be around $20-$40 per person, or between $100 and $200 per team.
It seems Los Angeles may have some of the most interesting themes out there. The LAist recently reviewed several of them, including “The Basement” which reportedly has some kind of cannibalistic, serial killer background story and offers a surge of adrenaline for any who dare to enter. Another one involves a being stuck in a room with a zombie. These and some others employ the use of actors who, apparently, channel the characters they are hired to play quite well. There are others in San Francisco, Las Vegas, Pittsburgh, Nashville, and more are emerging. The Pitt News reports there are now about 88 escape room games to choose from around the world.
However, not all of the escape room games have such an intense element of fear and are actually more family- and kid-friendly. These one seem to be more focused on the puzzle-aspect and are more about fun and adventure, without all the horror and gore. We have not tried any escape room games ourselves – yet. But if you have, we would love to get your feedback! Please share your experiences with us (but be sure not to give away any secrets of the rooms you have tried).