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What were the First Escape Games and How Did Escape Rooms Start?

January 23, 2019

When were the first escape rooms?

 

Escape rooms have gained a lot of traction in the last 3-5 years, and have started spreading out of major world cities and into the suburbs. More and more people are getting to experience escape rooms for themselves now, and knowledge of them has moved out of the niche market and gained mass appeal. But where exactly did escape rooms come from, and when? How did es

 

cape rooms start?

The consensus is that the origin of escape rooms in the modern sense that we’ve come to understand was from a company called Real Escape Game in Tokyo, Japan in 2007. From there, escape room history travels to Singapore, Australia, and elsewhere, with the first escape room in North America being Real Escape Game’s room they opened in San Francisco in 2012. Another early founder was a company called Puzzle Break in Seattle. From 2014 to 2018, escape rooms in North America have surged from 22 to over 2000, including Escapeocity, which opened in 2016!

 

How have escape rooms changed?

These first escape games took inspiration from things like haunted houses, scavenger hunts, interactive theater, and adventure and puzzle video games like Myst. As described by Escape Room Supplier, escape rooms have gone through many different iterations and evolved to keep players’ interest over the years. The early rooms are described as “Generation I” rooms. They relied mostly on locks and keys, combination locks, magnets, and simple mechanisms to challenge their players. This was all well and good to start, but escape games have come a long way since then. “Generation II” started to dabble with electronic triggers and unique set pieces to engross players in a story and a setting. Rather than being a series of generic locks and keys, room designers started building bespoke props and elaborate contraptions to make each room unique and memorable. Finally, there’s “Generation III.” This is the generation escape rooms are currently in, and the generation our rooms at Escapeocity are a part of. Escape Room Supplier describes this distinction as the use of computers and “smarter” props that know what part of the room the players are at, and control the state of the puzzles and props. Generation III rooms are also typically separated into multiple “phases,” in which different puzzles are available to the players, sometimes taking the form of completely separate rooms or areas. What will Generation IV hold for escape rooms? It’s likely that they’ll keep moving in the high-tech, high-budget direction and become even more unique and impressive over the next few years.

 

What’s next for escape rooms?

 


Escape rooms are a worldwide phenomenon, and a great activity to try out when you travel! Many escape rooms internationally are marketed towards tourists, and have English versions available. Escape rooms are here to stay, and will no doubt keep iterating and growing as the industry matures. I can’t wait to see what comes next, and I hope you’re all excited for what we do next as well!

 

To book one of our escape rooms online, go to www.escapeocity.com. Please direct any comments or questions to admin@escapeocity.com!

 

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