History of Escape Rooms

Escape rooms did not emerge as an idea from a single person. They are rather a progression of “escape the room” flash games, where you get locked inside a room and have to crack a series of puzzles to escape. This form of entertainment is closely linked with other games like scavenger hunts and haunted houses. 

‘Escape the room’ games

Escape games gained worldwide popularity with British television shows such as The Adventure Games in 1980 and The Crystal Maze in 1990. The latter even opened to the public as a real escape game. Even though The Crystal Maze particular game is called “silly” and “fun”, not all escape rooms are like that. You can choose a number of situations to be stuck in. People particularly love escaping a zombie apocalypse or running from a crazed scientist.   

The first and best-known flash escape game is Crimson Room, conceptualized and created by Toshimitsu Takagi in 2004. The concept of the game was simple- you were virtually locked in a crimson room and had to solve 23 puzzles to escape. This genre of gaming took off instantly, spawning some classic flash escape games such as The Submachine Series and The Doors. Even today, you can find many flash escape games available for free on the internet. 

The advent of escape room games

Jeff Martin developed the first live-action escape room game called True Dungeon, which premiered in 2003. The concept of the game was simple – a group of players would enter a physical space, solve puzzles, and try to escape within a stipulated time. 

Four years later, in 2007, Takao Kato of SCRAP Co. introduced Real Escape Game to Japan. Over time, live-action escape games popped up all over Australia, Singapore, and Europe. 

Attila Gyurkovics founded Live Escape Games in Europe in 2011. Surprisingly, he was not aware that they were already a rage in Asia. He founded the first edition of Hint Hunt in Hungary. The game found worldwide popularity and opened in many places across Europe, finally expanding worldwide as  Hint Hunt started in Canada in 2013.  

Real Escape Game was brought to the United States of America by Kazuya Iwata. In 2013, Puzzle Break was founded by Nate Martin. It became the first all-American escape game, and brought over the craze of these simulators to the western world. While Japanese escape room puzzles focus on logical reasoning, American versions of the simulator are better described as a scavenger hunt. 

The earliest versions of escape games were a set of puzzles that required solving through pen and paper. As time went on, technology improved, and so did the difficulty of the games. Lock-and-key scenarios replaced pen and paper. In today’s age, escape games focus on automated technology, AI, immersive storylines, and atmospheric experiences. 

The spread of escape games

Escape rooms had spread all over the world by late 2013. As of December 2019, there are approximately 14,000 escape rooms in the world, with new ones constantly opening up.

Humans and puzzle games

Today, you can find escape rooms in almost every major city in the world. Here is a link to our highly reviewed Las Vegas location! But how did this craze actually begin? No one has a clue. The earliest example of what could be called a puzzle game was found in south-east Turkey, where archaeologists found 49 gaming pieces in a burial mound dated 3000 BCE.  Royals across Europe would build elaborate maze-like structures, and try to escape as a way of testing their wit and intelligence. Most famously, evidence of a maze-like room was found in France. The structure was built after the orders of King Loius XIV, who wanted to build a maze for his son and heir Dauphin. 

Taken in this context, the popularity of live-action escape room games should not raise any questions. This phenomenon is a natural progression for a species that loves to wrack its brain and find easy solutions for problems.

Solving puzzles to pass one’s time is not a new sensation. Escape rooms have brought about a new dimension to puzzle games, by placing interested candidates in eclectic positions, forcing them to use their skill to escape. Humanity has been entertaining themselves with different forms of puzzles throughout the years and escape rooms are simply a testimony to the fast growth and popularity of them.

Trapped! Escape Room Las Vegas, 4760 Polaris Ave, Las Vegas, NV 89103, (702) 907-8078