I love this question so much. There are a couple of layers to it that aren’t immediately evident.
The question “are escape rooms real?” is really asking 2 different questions:
“This is a real thing? I thought it was just a movie?”
And then the immediate followup:
“Wait, it’s real life… and not like a video game?”
Are escape rooms real?
Yes, escape rooms truly exist in real life.
Escape room creators are building games where a group of participants collaboratively discover and solve puzzles, tasks, and challenges to accomplish a goal within a set amount of time. The participants solve the games together, in a physical space, which is usually a themed environment. Sometimes these games are just about escaping a physical space like a prison. More and more often they are about completing a mission like Indiana Jones finding some powerful lost relic.
In fact, they are a global phenomenon existing in every continent except for Antarctica.
As of 2019, there were more than 2,350 escape room facilities in the United States alone. There is a sprawling global community of players who share game recommendations to traveling fans that can be found in the Escape Room Slack and a Facebook Group.
This isn’t a video game or TV Show?
Escape rooms conceptually began as video games and TV shows, but now they are real-life games that you can purchase tickets to.
Game shows like The Crystal Maze (UK) and Legends of the Hidden Temple (US) were certainly proto-escape rooms.
Video games like Myst, The 7th Guest, and even the Zelda series are clear ancestors of modern escape rooms.
We explored the history of escape rooms a while back if that kind of thing interests you.
Finding A Company?
We maintain a directory of all escape room facilities within the United States. To help you find great games near you, we also build recommendations guides; not all escape rooms are created equally.
Now that you know that escape rooms are in fact a real thing, go check one out.
Are Escape Rooms?
This post is part of our on going series, “Are Escape Rooms?…” We’re digging into questions, concerns, and curiosities that are common among new players.
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