New Direction for escape rooms?

The COVID-19 pandemic smashed the escape room market forcing the owners to close their venues. The majority of the countries in the world take excessive measures to stop the virus and put regulations to close all the places where people can meet and infected. In the countries without such a regulation the escape rooms are still struggling as the people don’t want to go to a closed place where they have to touch every single item without knowing how many people touched it before them. This crash in the market brought new solution to the market, the love online escape rooms or better know as remote escape rooms.

Escape room history

The history of the escape rooms is rooted to a computer game titled Mystery house., published in 1980. This point and click game took you int a Victorian house with the aim to find some jewellery, but soon you found a dead body and the mystery begin. The game soon became extremely popular which made it the best-selling computer game.

The first real life escape games came more than two decades after the computer games. The title of the first real life escape room is still under argument, as two escape rooms was built around the same time probably not knowing about each other. One was built in Japan in 2007 inspired by the computer games, the other one as made in San Francisco in 2006 based on the ideas form Agatha Christi novels.

The Great Escape Boom

While the first escape rooms were born on the two sides of the world, the big escape room boom was originated form Budapest, Hungary. In 2011 Parapark has opened its gates and quickly became a famous tourist attraction. From Budapest the idea has spread, and escape rooms were emerging all over the world.

The first rooms used code locks and mechanic puzzles, soon the rooms become more sophisticated with electric puzzles operated with a bunch of sensors. One thing remained the same, the players have to be in the room to able to play.

New direction: Remote Escape room

The live online escape rooms changed this principle, the players can play from home, through an online video feed. The concept is very simple, while the players are sitting at home, or anywhere in the world where they are able the connect the internet, the game master goes into the room, and acts as their eye and hand, or as their avatar if you like. The players instruct the game master to where and what to look for and how to solve the puzzles while they are watching the game on a video stream. The game flow remained the same as in the case of regular escape rooms, but the game experience became dependent on the technology. Even the best designed room is unenjoyable if the quality of the video is not sufficient whether because it lacks proper lightning or just the software decreases the picture quality in peak times as it happens often with the widely known video conferencing apps.

While the worldwide quarantine brought it into life, the remote escape rooms will most probably stay with us, as they are excellent as a team building opportunity for remote teams or to have fun with the friends who lives abroad.  Some sites are already providing a huge collection of remote escape rooms to choose from.