How Did Escape Room Games Begin, And What Have They Evolved Into?
Escape rooms have existed for almost two decades now, but the concept is relatively new. The first major one was created in Japan in the early 2000s, and they’ve evolved since then into a popular and growing gaming niche. Escape rooms are puzzles that challenge groups of players to solve clues and hack codes to escape from a locked room within a set time limit. They have their roots in simulated detective work where participants are tasked with finding hidden clues and working together as a team to crack the case. The Escape Room Industry has also grown significantly since its inception. Today, there are thousands of different rooms available all over the world. Many of them offer theme-specific challenges while others offer an ever-growing variety of themes. Let’s explore how Escape Room Games began, what they’ve evolved into today, and some of the biggest names in the industry.
How Escape Room Games Began
While escape rooms are a relatively new concept, they can trace their roots back to the 1980s. In the 1980s, a company called Brainbox began creating an experience called “Bunker,” where groups of unwitting participants were locked in a room and tasked with finding clues and solving puzzles to escape within a set time limit. Another company in Japan, SCRAP, began offering similar experiences around the same time. Since then, the concept has evolved into a growing gaming niche that’s seen rapid growth. In fact, the escape room industry was valued at just over $300 million in 2017.
There are a few ways to explain how escape rooms have grown so quickly as a popular gaming niche. One is that people are more likely to try new and unique experiences nowadays. The other is that the overall popularity of theme parks and immersive experiences, like VR and AR, has led to more people looking for more challenging and realistic experiences.
The Evolution of Escape Room Games
The escape room concept has evolved significantly over the years. Early rooms had similar challenges, but they were more focused on puzzle solving and creativity. Now, however, escape rooms are experiencing a shift in the types of challenges they present. While puzzles still play a large role, they’re increasingly being replaced by riddles and general story telling.
One of the biggest changes to the evolution of escape rooms has been the focus on social experiences. For example, The Penrose Room in New York offers an escape room experience that revolves around a particular historical event. Participants travel back in time to learn about the event, assist historical figures in their quest for freedom, and even help to solve the mystery of the event itself.
Popular Types of Escape Rooms
Escape rooms have evolved significantly since their early days when they were more focused on puzzles and challenge. Nowadays, they’re found in all sorts of different forms, genres, settings, and themes, such as:
Escape Rooms That Use Historical Themes - These are often quite immersive, especially when they revolve around historical events and figures. One of the most popular themes in this category is a prison escape, followed closely by a murder mystery.
Escape Rooms That Challenge Players on Creativity and Problem Solving - As the name suggests, creativity and problem solving are often the key to unlocking puzzles in these rooms. One of the most popular types of creativity-based rooms is a room where players are tasked with drawing clues and solving puzzles.
Escape Rooms Where Players are Tied Together by a Story Line - Many escape rooms now use a story line to tie players together and create a social experience. That story line can be anything from a superhero adventure to a sci-fi story.
The Big Players in the Industry
There are a number of companies that specialize in creating and publishing escape rooms. Some of the most well-known names in the industry are listed below:
Escape Hunt Games - Escape Hunt Games is probably the oldest major escape room game publisher in the world. They were founded in 2003, and they host more than 750 different rooms.
eXtend Interactive - eXtend Interactive is an independent games developer based in Vancouver, British Columbia. They were founded in 2016 and they host hundreds of different escape rooms.
The Escape Room Company - The Escape Room Company is a publisher based in Chicago. They were founded in 2015, and they host more than 800 different rooms.
New Developments for the Future of Escape Rooms
Many leading escape room companies are experimenting with new technologies to keep the escape room experience fresh and new. One of the most popular trends is the inclusion of VR or AR experiences. VR has been around for decades, but it’s only recently started to gain traction in the escape room industry. AR, meanwhile, has been around for a few years now, and it’s also just starting to gain traction in escape rooms.
One of the biggest trends in the future of escape rooms is the use of AI and machine learning. This is because it will allow game designers to create ever-more-challenging puzzles and challenge participants to work harder and more creatively in order to solve them.
The story behind the creation of escape rooms is fascinating and exciting, especially for people who love puzzles and challenges. The concept of putting players in a room and challenging them to work together as a team to solve puzzles and find clues to escape from a locked room is a challenging feat in itself. Today, there are thousands of different rooms available all over the world, and they’re experiencing a huge spike in popularity. They’re available in a variety of different formats and genres, and they’re often focused on a particular theme or challenge.