Monday, 24 October 2016 00:00

Escape Rooms: Bringing Gaming to Life?

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What if PC games were brought to life? What if your boss came into your office to task you with something but instead you could click “go here” and send him back to his own office? Or build a room around him and trap him without doors and windows like I know you did with the pizza deliver man in SIMS. Donald Trump could easily build his notorious wall if Civilization was brought to life and international issues would be solved much easier with games like Call of Duty. While we can’t do any of this (yet…), there is one game that has already been brought to life:

Escape the Room.

When I was in high school, I spent a week straight playing the Escape the Room games after I came across them online. I had to escape from creepy Saw themed rooms, a booby-trapped car, and for some reason, a telephone booth. I was obsessed with these puzzle-solving games so when live escape rooms began popping up around the US, I was more than eager to try. What I found… was another obsession.

The best games are those that completely submerge you in the story and the characters.

It inspires you and truly makes you believe you simply jumped into another world. This is exactly what the live escape rooms accomplish. Trapped in a room with 60 minutes and a clock that constantly reminds you that time is not on your side, you frantically run around collecting clues that may or may not lead to your freedom. The rooms, for the most part, are so elegantly decorated, and all the furniture and clues tie directly into the theme. You begin to believe the story. In the past year, I have become an archeologist, a CIA agent, a prisoner, a robber, and my worst nightmare: a dentist. Sometimes you become so immersed in the story that you forget you’re not going to explode when the bomb goes off, or get killed when the murderous, serial killer dentist returns to the office you’re trapped in. This feeling is the ultimate goal of any game, and escape rooms have successfully followed suit.

Started in 2010 in Japan, live escape rooms have become an international sensation, with over 2,800 rooms from Algeria to Iran to Ukraine. The idea arrived in the United States in 2012 and according to the Escape Room Directory, has boomed to over 500 rooms across the country. Amusement parks are creating live escape rooms to augment thrill rides, and the Science Channel has even created an escape room television game show called Race to Escape, which debuted in 2015. While the concept is the same throughout the games, the story that is built by each room allows you to enter multiple different worlds, and the thrill of controlling your own fate brings these original point-and-click computer games to life.

If you haven’t paid $30 to lock yourself in a room, you should try it out. It’ll bring your love of gaming to life.

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Jessica Andrews

Whether it's dancing on the streets of Paris or swimming with the dolphins in the Dominican Republic, you can find Jessica anywhere in the world at any given moment. While she is an avid traveler, she calls Washington, DC her home and spends most of her days working as an analytic writer for a tech firm. Growing up in a Japanese household, gaming was always a part of her life. Video games brought her family together and she has kept the tradition alive ever since. In her free time, she also enjoys photography, traveling, running, dancing, and Krav Maga.