No, I’m not talking about ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway?’
Ushered into a room, you have one hour to complete your mission.
But, you know what?
The points really don’t matter.
What matters is taking part in the experience.
Getting together with family and friends.
Putting your out-of-the-box thinking and team skills to the test.
Welcome to the world of escape rooms.
What is an escape room?
An escape room is both a game and an experience, a shared experience between the members of your team.
Inside the escape room, a dramatic situation is simulated.
- It could be the scene of a crime.
- It could be a prison.
- It could be a military base.
Your task, were you to choose to take part in an escape room game, would be to bring about some kind of resolution.
From the previous examples, you could be asked to
- Investigate the crime/mystery.
- Escape the prison.
- Stop a bomb from going off at the base.
How is this done?
It’s like with a movie set.
- From painting the walls;
- To bringing in (sometimes specially acquired) props;
- And arranging special costumes for the players.
A lot of such work goes into the creation of an escape room.
What about the ‘mission’? How is that designed?
The room will have clues lying around, giving you hints as to the way forward.
You’ll have to find the clues, and figure out what they mean.
There will be puzzles lying in your way, and tasks as well, which will need to be solved and accomplished to allow you to move forward.
On a blog, this business of clues and puzzles may seem rather mundane, but in the real experience, once you start getting down and dirty, it’s an enthralling experience.
Down and dirty?
A key feature of escape rooms is that there’s no phones allowed.
Everything you do is with your own two hands, touching things, manipulating them, and working out how to proceed.
It’s as real as can be, without becoming too physically demanding, or endangering you in any way at all.
Teams’ progress inside the room is monitored by a game master via a live audio/video feed.
The game masters are trained to guide teams through any emergency that may arise.
An immersive experience
A lot of professional planning goes into the creation of an escape room.
The point is to create a highly immersive experience.
Once you’re inside the room, and the clock starts ticking, you will lose yourself in the escape room world, leaving reality behind at the door.
Clock starts ticking?
Yes, typically, escape rooms will have a time limit, usually one hour, within which you must complete your chosen mission.
A lot of escape rooms maintain leaderboards containing the name of the leading teams – that is, who finished their rooms the fastest.
Are there any benefits one might expect from an escape room?
An exciting experience
First of all is the fact that it’s an exciting experience.
A chance for people to break away from their day to day lives, and be part of an exhilarating event – whether it’s investigating a murder, escaping a serial killer, or stopping a nuclear weapons launch.
Experience as a service, people paying money to take part in an experience, rather than a product, is a popular trend.
And an escape room is part of that trend.
Real interactions with people
Like I mentioned earlier, an escape room is a ‘real’ experience, in that you’re not allowed to surround yourself in your digital bubble of YouTube videos and social media updates.
Rather, you have to engage in a real interaction with the members of your team, communicating with them constantly, debating the way forward.
It’s a great way for families and friends to connect with each other. Some escape rooms, like this Chicago escape room, offer private-only bookings, which means you and your family and friends have exclusive use of your room.
Real world skills
Some skills that you will need in the real world are put to the test in escape rooms.
- Problem solving.
- Not wilting under time pressure.
- Communication with your team.
- Team building skills.
- Out of the box thinking.
Are all tested in a typical escape room experience.
Team building programs
An escape room is a shared experience.
You can’t finish an escape room on your own.
You must work with your team, coordinating and communicating with each other effectively, to find your way out within 60 minutes.
As noted by this Orange County escape room, companies frequently organize team building events at escape rooms, as a way of instilling team skills in their employees through an exciting event that people will want to take part in.
In short, an escape room is a way for you to
- Escape your day to day life for your dream experience.
- Reconnect with family and friends via a real experience.
- Boost real world skills, such as problem solving, communication, and team skills.