Imagine yourself trapped inside a new world that stretches far beyond your lived reality, into the depths of the unknown and strange. There are several hidden clues yet to unearth and many intriguing puzzles to make your way through…Do you think you are ready to step into this immersive world of challenges and hurdles?
We are talking about mystery room games for those who haven’t guessed it yet! Though it is only relatively recently that these immersive and innovative games have paved their way to popularity, these aren’t exactly that new. With its inception back in Japan, these games have now popped up worldwide, with several new and exciting escape games, like the escape room Breakout, for instance.
Now, in this article, we will dive deep inside this new generation of entertainment that has sought to bring an intriguing, mysterious challenge to your door. So, sit tight and read on:
Unboxing the history of escape games
Looking back into the history of the earliest ever available video games, you will find that they usually relied on text-based commands used to control the game. Ever since those times, science and technology have gradually improved, and game makers have started to shift their reliance on visual cues instead.
Video games experienced a massive boom in the 1970s, and advanced technology in these games made it even more exciting for players to try them out! Given the enormous popularity of video games, gaming companies started to think of and devise new and intriguing ways to bring together players and allow them to interact.
Slowly, video game companies started to build what was called “point-and-click adventure games.” One may even recognize these kinds of games as the forefather of the escape room games they find today. In point-and-click adventure games, players use the computer’s cursor to interact with different in-game elements/objects.
One of the earliest known games of this kind was Planet Memphis, which hit the markets in 1983. Even though the first point-and-click adventure game was only available in Japan, its prototype for virtual adventure spread like wildfire. Over time it led to the development and emergence of the escape room games of today.
The Early Escape Room Adventure
In 1988, John Wilson came up with his text-based game “Behind Closed Doors.” It was one of the earliest known forms of escape room games that the world ever witnessed. The game had players trapped inside a room, much like the escape games of today. Gradually as the concept spread far and wide, in the next fifteen years, ”escape the room ” became a viable concept that several video games started to adopt.
With the release of Crimson Room by the Japanese creator Toshimitsu Takagi, these “escape the room” styled games started to grow even more in popularity. Much like Crimson Room, other games that came up in this new genre also featured a short text introduction and worked from a 1st-person perspective.
In these games, players had to move their cursors across their computer screens and click on different objects, to seek what they needed to find. The ultimate goal of these games was nevertheless the same: escape the room!
Following the growing popularity of these games worldwide, the present-day real-life escape room adventures started to pop up.
The Thirst for Escape Games in the millennium
Most of the escape games you will come across today weave their narratives either on a historical backdrop or in our reality. There are endless ways in which game developers may hide the clues and riddles inside the games, stretching from real historical ones to even the simplest ones. The concept of escape games draws from the decade-old tradition of Alternate Reality Games (ARG) and presents the same before players with a twist.
Blending real-world phone calls, emails, and internet scavenger hunt into the game, EA launched its ARG back in 2001, titled “Majestic.” Though this X-Files-inspired conspiracy-themed game remained much of a flop during its own time, the game’s concept became quite trendy.
A few years later, one could find Microsoft hitting the markets with its ARG titled “I Love Bees.” The game successfully drew approximately three million players under its influence. At the same time, different video gaming companies also started to toy with the concept of ARG.
The present state of the escape room industry
In 2020, the Covid-19 outbreak made it difficult for escape room ventures to hold on to their positions. At this juncture, the virtual escape room adventures received a massive boost, as game creators and developers also started to work from home. Covid-19, however, also brought a great advantage to the escape rooms. Given that people were forcibly shut inside their homes, the hike for playing online escape rooms shot up to unimaginable levels in no time.
Since players could not visit the escape rooms, game developers devised new and exciting ways of bringing the games to the players’ homes. Escape game creator Nick Moran and his team started working on Spectre and Vox – a 3D model haunted house.
It is approximately three feet long on each side and fits easily on your dining table. The game also features immersive and authentic audio and visual effects that make the experience come alive before your eyes!
The global pandemic offered Moran the necessary scope and space to bring home intriguing, mysterious puzzles to players. He aims to provide live gaming experiences to players through his in-home escape room games.
Though the idea of keeping the immersive nature of escape rooms alive in these in-home products was daunting, Moran and his team succeeded nevertheless. Through Spectre and Vox, he aimed to provide players with an engaging, realistic, and immersive in-home escape room experience.
The world of escape rooms is diverse and ever-changing. From live games to small adventures, escape room creators have always tried their best to devise new and exciting games for players in every possible way. Now, given the perpetually growing interests of players for this game, you can rest assured that these games are not going away any time soon!