The Escape Room Boom

Escape Rooms are a world-wide phenomenon. It’s a widely held belief that these live action experiences began life in Eastern Europe, but the roots of this ever-growing experience lie even further to the East.

It goes without saying that the origins of Escape Rooms lie in computer games and, to a certain extent, Choose Your Own Adventure books. Games have allowed us to explore new and mysterious worlds and piece together puzzles for the past forty years or so, in one way or another. In the early noughties, Escape The Room games became popular. These, as the name suggests, would place you into a room and task you with puzzling your way out to virtual freedom. But for some, this wasn’t enough. They craved a live-action version of what could be experienced on screen.

Wikipedia will tell you that the first Escape Room was created in 2006 by Silicon Valley analysts. The game was apparently based around the works of Agatha Christie. There is, however, a complete lack of any evidence to back up these claims.

Most people favour the story that the Escape Room came into being in 2007. The Real Life Escape Game was the brainchild of a thirty-five year old Japanese man called Takao Kato. He, along with his publishing company SCRAP, set up the game in Kyoto. It soon became a massively popular tourist attraction. This led to the spread of Escape Rooms throughout the rest of Japan and Southeast Asia.

It was around 2010-2011 that Parapark opened in Budapest. This opened the floodgates, and there are over 100 different games within the city limits. It is this which has led Hungary – and Budapest in particular – to be widely known as the birthplace of Escape Rooms. Interestingly, the creative minds behind Parapark claim to have had no prior knowledge of The Real Life Escape Game in Kyoto.

The rest, as they say, is history. The Escape Room craze has spread outwards from Hungary, across Europe and the rest of the world. Almost every city boasts at least one Escape Room, and new ones are opening all the time.

So grab your team, and get started. There’s a lot of playing to be done.

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