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An Escape Room is an interactive game where your team is trapped in a room (or series of rooms) until you can solve a number of puzzles. Typical Escape Rooms have a time limit of around 60 minutes.
They may involve live actors, but often there are multimedia elements, as well as lighting & sound effects and a vast array of props which act as clues (or containers for clues).
They have a great deal in common with immersive theatrical experiences, and are wildly popular world-wide. Rather than just a room full of puzzles to solve, the best (and most engaging) escape rooms have a strong story element, which helps to explain and justify the puzzles.
Designing an Escape Room
- What is the story / environment?
- Clues should make sense within the story / environment / style of the room.
- Frustration is inevitable, but that should not be caused by bad design. Ensure clues are not deliberately obscure. Everyone should be able to solve them, without needing specific knowledge.
- Puzzles should be revealed in order, and should make sense within the story / environment.
- Each element should have a usage which is clear when the puzzle is solved, and should not just be a case of random luck (e.g. try the key in a number of locks until you find the one that works).
- The puzzle / elements in the room should be able to withstand reasonable abuse by players.
- Ensure safety is built-in. If there’s a problem in the room, the players must be able to alert someone, who should be paying attention throughout their game.
- Have a clear plan for resetting the room correctly between games, and ensure that anything that could be broken is available as a spare (and is costed into the business model) OR that it’s securely fixed and cannot be moved.
- The Basement Los Angeles
- Escape Hunt Paris
- Team Escape Hamburg
- Mr X Puzzle House Shanghai
- RoomEscape Stockholm
- Sherlock: The Game Is Now (London, UK)
- Sherlocked Amsterdam
- The Panic Room (UK)
- Trapped in a Room With A Zombie
- 5 Wits (USA)
- Claustrophobia Escape Rooms (Russia)
- Clockwork Dog
- Fox in a Box (Serbia / Europe)
- Room Escape Adventures (USA)
- The Escape Game (USA)