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Escape Rooms: Everything You Need To Know (2024)

What's an escape room? Learn about escape rooms from The Escape Game, creators of the world's best escape rooms.

Jul 9, 202410 min read

Anecia Ascalon
Anecia Ascalon
Team Building Expert

What Is An Escape Room?

An escape room is an immersive, 60-minute, adventure game. Groups attempt to find clues and solve a series of puzzles to escape before time runs out! The best escape games have multiple rooms for exploring, unique themes, and Hollywood-level sets.

Want to know more? We’ve got you covered!

Escape Rooms: Everything You Need To Know

How Escape Rooms Work

1. Select A Theme

First, you decide which themed escape room you want to play. Themes range from exciting and action-packed to silly and light-hearted. Popular themes include bank heists, prison breaks, and pirates. After picking a theme, you can usually reserve a game over the phone, online, or in person. It’s highly recommended to book a game in advance to ensure you can play a game at your preferred time.

2. Meet Your Game Guide

When it’s time for your game, you’ll meet your Game Guide. The Game Guide takes you to your escape room, explains the rules, and answers any questions before you begin your adventure.

3. Discover Your Mission

Usually, before the game starts, you’ll get to watch a fun video. This video often explains what exactly your mission is in the themed escape room. It will explain why you only have 60 minutes on the clock to complete your escape.

Some missions are about escaping the room, like in a prison break room. Other missions might not be centered around escaping, but instead, you might have to complete an art heist or attempt to launch a spaceship.

Here’s an example of the type of mission video that plays at the beginning of a game. This one is from The Escape Game’s The Heist!

The Heist Mission Video - The Escape Game

Once the video ends, your one-hour timer starts counting down! It’s time to get down to business.

4. Escape The Room!

To escape, the first thing you need to do is start searching the room. Look for patterns, objects, and items that seem out of place. Ideally, you’ll make connections between different clues and puzzle pieces to find solutions.

Don’t forget to communicate with your teammates! More heads are better than one and the most fun part of an escape room is working together. The group will solve puzzles, uncover clues, and crack codes to complete an escape!

5. Get A Clue

Don’t forget that you can always ask for a hint when you need help! Your Game Guide is there to make sure you have an awesome experience and help your team escape!

Frequently Asked Questions

Are You Locked In An Escape Room?

Nope! You’re never going to be physically trapped inside a room. If you need to leave at any point during the game, you’re always welcome to step out!

How Do You Escape?

To escape, you’ll need to find clues and puzzle pieces around the room. Those will help you unlock locks and solve puzzles, advancing your team through the room until you escape!

What Happens If You Don’t Finish an Escape Room In Time?

If you don’t escape in time, that’s okay! While it is exciting to successfully complete a mission, escape rooms are still a blast for those who don’t make it out on their first try–it gives you a goal to work towards the next time you come and play!

How Do You Reserve An Escape Room?

To reserve an escape room, book online or on the phone. You can usually find phone numbers and booking information on a company’s website. While walk-ins are usually welcome, escape rooms often book up in advance. To ensure you can play at a specific time, it’s best to make a reservation!

Get more answers to frequently asked escape room questions here!

Escape Room Tips

Completing an escape room successfully requires you to uncover hidden clues, crack tough codes, and solve challenging puzzles. Everything you notice is a potential clue or puzzle waiting to be solved. The catch is that you need to work quickly!

Look At, In, And Under Everything

  • Upon first entry into a new room, examine everything! What opens? What items have objects hidden inside? Time runs quickly, like sand through an hourglass, and these first few objects are clues that will continue to propel you through the game!
  • Don’t forget to look underneath rugs, sift through the books on shelves, and take a closer look at all those paintings on the wall!

Search For Patterns

  • The solution isn’t always obvious. Look closely at clues, objects, and wall printings to find any similarities or irregularities. These could be the key to solving a puzzle!

Utilize Everyone’s Skills

  • Some team members may be great at jigsaw-type puzzles whereas others are good at analyzing a set of patterns. Escaping is a team effort, so help each other shine and work where your skill sets fit!

Keep Track Of Solved Puzzles And Used Clues

  • Once a puzzle is solved or a clue is used, it’s usually not needed again in the game. Keeping items in a discard pile communicates to team members that they’ve been used. This is also important so people aren’t wasting time trying to solve puzzles that have already been completed.

Stay Positive!

  • It can be discouraging watching the minutes tick by and not knowing what to do next. But don’t give up! Working together and having a fun time with the team is what escape rooms are all about.

If you want more tips, check out our Ultimate Guide on How to Beat an Escape Room!

Common Themes

The Heist
Mission: Mars

Escape rooms are a whole new way of experiencing storytelling. By combining social interaction with challenging adventures, each room is designed to immerse you into entirely new worlds that feel like Hollywood blockbusters. No wonder they’re so addicting! Here are the top ten most common escape room themes:

  1. Haunted House
  2. Murder Mystery
  3. Prison Break
  4. Pirate Adventure
  5. Bank Robbery
  6. Cosmic Crisis
  7. Treasure Hunt
  8. Zombie Apocalypse
  9. Secret Agents and Spies
  10. Horror/supernatural

Learn more about the different types of escape rooms here!

In recent years, the production value of escape rooms has also reached a whole new level. Watch the video below to see the trailer for the game Ruins: Forbidden Treasure from The Escape Game which has a treasure hunt theme!

Ruins: Forbidden Treasure Trailer

Escape Room – The Movie

There’s an escape room movie? Sort of! The “Escape Room” psychological horror movie series is a fictionalized account of an escape room adventure.

First released by Sony in 2019, the first film features a group of contestants who compete for a major cash prize in a terrifying series of escape rooms. The sequel “Escape Room: Tournament of Champions” (2021) follows a similar storyline.

While there are real-life, horror-themed escape rooms, most aren’t scary and none involve monetary prizes or life-threatening scenarios. Escape rooms are meant to be fun, not deadly!

What Are Virtual Escape Rooms?

Virtual escape rooms are escape rooms that you can play online. COVID-19 led to a need for online escape rooms and at-home games.

During lockdowns, friends sought out innovative ways to spend time together. Work teams searched for virtual team building activities. Even as lockdowns have become less restrictive, people and organizations are still looking for ways to connect from a distance. Virtual escape rooms tackle those issues.

There are various kinds of virtual escape rooms including point-and-click apps, audio-only narrated games, and live-hosted events. Watch the video below for an example of a virtual escape room experience over Zoom!

How to Play a Virtual Escape Room - TEG Remote Adventures

Want to learn more or play a virtual escape room? Learn more about virtual escape rooms options from The Escape Game here!

The History Of Escape Rooms

Although they’ve only recently gained popularity, escape room games have actually been around for over a decade! The concept of escape rooms began with first-person adventure video games where players interacted with their surroundings by clicking on-screen objects.

Planet Mephius is the earliest example, designed by Eiji Yokoyama and published by T&E Soft in 1983. Initially only available in Japan, this prototype for virtual adventures led to the creation of “escape the room” video games.

The Ruins

Takao Kato from Kyoto created the first real-life escape game in 2007. The popularity of “escape the room” video games and his personal desire for adventure inspired him to try something new.

Originally, guests played in-person games in different Japanese bars and clubs. However, companies constructed more permanent locations throughout Asia and Europe over the next few years.

Escape games finally hit the United States between 2012 and 2014, with several brands gradually gaining traction in San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, New York City, and Nashville. Now, there are over 50,000 epic escape rooms worldwide! They’re used as fun bonding adventures and as corporate team building activities! There are even escape room conferences for fans to learn more about the industry and experience new content.

Learn more about the history of escape rooms here.

National puzzle hunts are another sim activity rising in popularity! Learn more about the most popular puzzle competitions and how you can participate!

Ready To Play an Escape Room?

Now you’re fully equipped to win and book an escape room with The Escape Game!

Fun at The Escape Game

Find more information on escape room blogs and directories, here!