When you are looking for something new to do with your friends, it can be very easy to hit a brick wall with ideas. Instead of going for the usual things like bowling and ice skating, consider an escape room. These real-life puzzles put you in a situation to problem-solve, think critically and have a ton of fun – and all in sixty minutes!
Escape rooms are becoming popular all over the world, with over 10,000 escape room scenarios being enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities. Some are easy, some are difficult, and some are downright terrifying. The thing is, they all have one thing in common – they’re excellent! Some people make it a point to visit as many escape rooms as they can, but for it to be a success, this isn’t something that you can do alone. You work together in pairs or a group, and you work your way from puzzle to puzzle. In some cases, you think you’ve solved the puzzles in the room, only to unlock a secret crawl space or an adjoining room with just as many puzzles and no extra time to do them in! Not only are escape rooms entertaining and have you talking for days on end about the adventure you’ve just had, but they’re a great way to bond together with high-fives all round!
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Escape Rooms: What You Need To Know
So, you’ve been told about a local escape room, and you want to get your friends together to have a day of fun, but you know nothing about them. Let’s explore every single thing that you need to know about escape rooms – just don’t forget: they’re all different!
What Is An Escape Room?
Let’s start with an easy question: what is an escape room? Well, it’s like it says on the tin – you and your friends are locked into a place filled with puzzles, and you have to escape the room. Most of the escape rooms out there come with a timer of between thirty and sixty minutes, and that’s the time that you have to solve the puzzle and get out of the room. You find clues, you uncover hidden surprises, and you get the key or code to exit the room in time – or you fail. There are some popular themes out there, from escaping a cave to diffusing a bomb. Other rooms are fairytale in nature, with others embracing more of an Indiana Jones vibe.
Most escape rooms offer themes that match the time of year, and it’s not something you can do alone. Escape rooms encourage you to communicate, to think analytically about the clues, to use your imagination. You’ll find groups of siblings, friends and even corporate teams doing ice-breaking activities. When you put people in a pressured environment, they have to work together to survive but don’t worry – you’re not really locked into the room. You need to be fast, creative and clever to crack the codes and escape the room. Even if you don’t get out within the allotted time, you will have a fantastic time and make incredible memories that you will share forever. Recently, there have been developments in escape rooms that mean individual players can play at home, with products that offer boxes of escape rooms to set up at home.
Escape rooms are popular because they are a fantastic way to experience interactive play. People love to solve puzzles and beat the codes, and when you put adventure in the same space as problem-solving, you can find a new, enjoyable activity that you will want to do again and again. These escape rooms are addictive, and if you love to be scared, you’ll love the horror rooms out there!
Where Did It All Start?
You’ll be interested to know that escape rooms didn’t start out as rooms to escape. Their beginnings started with first-person adventure games online and on video. Players interacted with screens to make choices and solve riddles to beat the game. Crimson Room is just one of those games, and players could work on their environment by pointing and clicking where they wanted to go.
The very first room was created in 2007, with people brought to a themed room where they had to get out in an allotted time. Escape rooms like this aren’t to be confused with Hollywood films of the same name: in those, no one escapes! It started in Japan and spread to China, the rest of Asia and then over to Europe. The very first European escape room was in Hungary, and more and more rooms opened up across Europe and Asia. It wasn’t until 2012 that the first U.S escape room opened up. Escape rooms are now a popular way to spend time with friends and colleagues, and they continue to go from strength to strength in all corners of the world.
But How Do Escape Rooms Work?
Well, for an escape room to be effective and fun, you need a team of players. Most locations have at least two to three escape rooms of differing themes, and they can have anywhere from 2 to 12 players in one team to be a successful escape. You have to choose your team carefully; you don’t want to get stuck arguing with who is right when you could be solving problems together. You need a team who can communicate and talk in turns, not over each other. Don’t forget, these are timed games, and you need to be efficient!
Generally, escape rooms are for around 8 years and over, but some are too scary for even 8-year-olds! The cost varies around the world, and each game has its own mission. Some people love the horror ones, with scary effects and sounds that are designed to put pressure on you when you play. There are also those that are a challenge, designed for you to take something precious and get out before the alarms go off. No matter which one you choose, you are instantly transported to another world, with sound effects, atmospheric happenings and lighting changes. You could be in 1800s France, or you could be in a cabin in the woods. Either way, these are immersive and interactive games that push you to your limits.
Your gamemaster will talk you through the theme before you go inside. They’ll tell you your objective, and you have the chance to ask any questions about the game, how to get out, how long you have, etc. Once you get into the room and the door shuts, your timer begins. Don’t forget; you’re not 100% locked in: it’s just a game. If you need to get out or there’s an emergency, you will be able to get out of the room at any time. Most escape rooms have cameras to keep an eye on your progress, and there are some that will give you a walkie-talkie to buzz and ask for clues. Others just ask you to shout out for a clue, and you can continue if you get stuck.
Each room has objects, furniture, switches, latches, locks, combination locks – you name it, the rooms have it. It’s all designed in a way that helps you to complete your mission!
What Should You Expect?
Before you go into an escape room, you most likely have to sign a waiver to say that you are okay with the mentioned special effects and that if you get hurt, you will not sue. Escape rooms are not always large rooms; they can be small, and if you have claustrophobia, you may not appreciate that. However, these things are all explained before you go into the room, and your instructions will tell you how to get out if you need to and whether you have to crawl through small rooms. If you get out in time, you get to take great photos with the team. If you don’t, the photos are generally different and somewhat sad!
Are Escape Rooms Dangerous?
You are safe in an escape room when you follow the rules. All rooms have switches you shouldn’t touch, and you’ll be directed to which you shouldn’t touch. It wouldn’t be a good idea to be in a smaller space if those kinds of spaces freak you out; it’s easy to be clumsy when you can’t see, or you’re panicked. For the most part, though, escape rooms are not dangerous places to be. They’re fun and engaging, which is precisely what you’re looking for!
Will You Really Be Locked In?
Once upon a time, escape room guides really did lock the door. However, that could be a health and safety issue and people who are panicking or worried or need to get out means that the doors are now closed but not sealed. You are always welcome to leave an escape room when you need to, and you are still allowed to escape if you don’t solve the puzzles in time!
What Should I Bring?
The only thing that you need to bring to an escape room is yourself. You leave your coats and bags in a cloakroom or on a specific hook in the room when you go inside. It’s also a good idea to wear comfortable clothing and flat shoes. There is a chance that you need to crawl through a small space to get to the next room, so comfortable clothes can help you to move better.
Escape rooms give you a chance to get to know new people, build new connections with people and have a little fun. They’re different from other activities that you can do with your friends, and they are the best way that you can spend your time if you really want to do something new. Bring yourself, your friends, your coworkers and a great sense of humor – you won’t regret the time that you spend in the escape room!
Is It Hard?
Escape rooms are designed to be a challenge, so yes, they can be hard. However, escape rooms come in different difficulty levels, so they can be as hard or as easy as you want them to be. Try the easy ones to get a taste for how the whole escape room themes work, and then work your way up to a harder difficulty and have fun with it. The most important thing is to have fun with the escape and the time spent solving problems with your team. You need the right mix of people to ensure that you get out in time and have a lot of fun while doing it. It’s better to work with friends, but there’s nothing wrong with doing an escape room with strangers if you want to!
While you are playing an escape game, you need to watch the clock at all times. For every minute you spend on one puzzle, you lose time elsewhere. This is where the power of communication comes in. If you are all working together, you can ensure that you find it an easy experience as a group!
How To Book
Escape rooms are popping up in every city right now, and they continue to be as popular as anything. They’re easy to find, but booking takes a little research. You can read online reviews and get to know other opinions of rooms you’re interested in booking. Once you’ve done that, you can choose one with the right difficulty level.
At Home Escape Rooms
The alternative is trying out an escape room at home from Epic Escapes. Not quite the traditional escape room, we have escape rooms in a box that you can set up yourself at home! There’s a story, instructions for gameplay and a self-help hint system, too, in case you get stuck. Epic Escapes are the alternative to the traditional escape room, and our games are an excellent way to spend some time when you can’t get out to a place close to you!
Try an escape room today and expand your horizons. You’ll never regret the time you spend with your team!