The Ultimate Escape

Imagine being handcuffed to a stranger and having to escape from jail only using clues from a bed sheet with holes, a few dollar bills hidden under the bed, and walls covered with numbers and messages written with blood by the previous insane prisoners. The timer is counting down, and all the other prisoners are running around to find clues. Once the exit is found, it leads to another room, an office, and everyone realizes that the jail was only the beginning of the adventure.

An escape room is a game where team players discover clues, solve puzzles, and finish tasks to go through different rooms to achieve a final goal within a certain amount of time. There are various types of rooms with different themes. Each room has its own storyline. For instance, attempting to get out of jail and solving murders are the most common stories. Typically, they range from two to ten players, and most of them last for around an hour. If the escape room is public, people can be grouped with other players whom they may not know. However, there are also private escape rooms where a specific group could book the room for themselves.

An escape room in Boston typically costs around $30. The customers are locked in a room, but there is always a button on the wall that players can press to get help from the staff. When the players get stuck on a puzzle that they cannot solve, they can get clues from the staff. There are usually around three rooms in total for an escape room, and each room has puzzles and clues that open the key to the next room. When the players solve the final puzzle in the last room, they have succeeded in solving the game.

Trapology and Boxaroo are two of the best escape rooms in Boston. They both cost around $35 per person, and they are mostly public, meaning that there could be strangers sharing an escape room. These two companies provide a wide range of themes, from haunted camps for friend gatherings to cute fairy tales for family bonding. They also have different difficulty levels to satisfy the desires of both beginners and experienced players. Most of these rooms have a limit of at least two people and can have as many as ten people. Tickets for these escape rooms are available on their official website.

Escape rooms originated from escape room video games. The first escape room video game was named “Crimson Room” created in 2004 by Toshimitsu Takagi, which is the origin of the term, Takagim, used to refer to these styles of games. The first live escape room was created by a Japanese company named SCRAP in Kyoto, Japan, because the founder, Takao Kato, wants players to be immersed in the game, where they would get to physically play in a themed room and solve mysteries within a limited time. The game used to be for five to six players in a single room, but now SCRAP has expanded into a real escape game event that can host up to thousands of players in a shared space.

Skye Huang ‘21 has been to escape rooms in both China and America. She loves escape rooms because it is the “ultimate chance to bond with someone.” She started going to escape rooms when she was younger because it was a popular way of having fun with friends and classmates in China. Her favorite theme is horror because even though she is scared, getting scared is part of the fun. She recommends anyone who has never tried an escape room to go because it is a unique experience to make and make new friends.

Skye expresses that the difficulty in escape rooms in both China and America are similar. Both of them require people to think outside the box to solve the puzzles. However, the escape rooms in China  have more interesting themes, can be more challenging, and require more physical movement. For instance, she had been to an escape room where she had to stay in a coffin for twenty minutes to activate the next puzzle. She remembers once she was blindfolded in an escape room, and real people were acting as ghosts, which came out to scare her by grabbing her ankle.  

Daniele Musni ‘21 is a beginner to escape rooms and thinks that they are interesting.  Because her first experience of an escape room required her to be handcuffed to another person, it was frustrating due to the inconvenience, but she thought it was more fun and challenging. Daniele believes that escape rooms are a unique bonding event recommends others to try because people have “think outside the box” and use communication to solve the clues. 

Escape rooms started to expand into other parts of Asia before arriving in Europe. The first city in Europe with an escape room was Budapest, Hungary. Without knowing that escape rooms already existed in Asia, Attila Gyurkovics had the idea of opening a live escape room, with the purpose of team building. Escape rooms are now found globally, and even Boston has a wide range of escape rooms that are fun and exciting.

Photo credits: VectorStock and Unit 9.

For further reading: “History and Origin of Escape Games” and “A Little History—How Did Escape Room Scenarios Originate?

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