What Is An Escape Room? (2021)

Playing an escape room
Posted: Tuesday, Feb 23 2021

You may be wondering what in the world is an escape room? Are you really trapped in a room? Escape rooms are comically hard to explain (see the video below for proof), but don’t worry, we’ve got answers for you here.

So, what is an escape room? (Updated in 2021 to include Virtual Escape Rooms)

An escape room is an immersive 60-minute real-life adventure game.

But what does that really man? Let’s go deeper! You and your team will assemble in a themed room and will have one hour to complete your mission and “escape” the room. That mission might be actually escaping something like a prison cell. In other cases, the “escape” is completing your mission which may be finding lost gold, launching a martian spacecraft or completing an art heist. A successful escape will require you to uncover hidden clues, crack codes and solve challenging puzzles. Each “aha” moment will bring you closer to completing your mission. So take a look underneath the rug, sift through the books on the shelves, and take a closer look at all those paintings on the wall. Look for patterns, interesting similarities or something that just doesn’t fit. For example, you may find a string of numbers under the rug and those numbers turn out to be what’s needed to open a combination lock. Everywhere you look is a potential clue and a riddle waiting to be solved. But hurry, the clock starts ticking the moment you enter the escape room!

Prison Break - Escape Room   Gold Rush - Escape Room

Special Ops - Escape Room   Mars - Escape Room

Beating an escape room requires teamwork, speed, creativity, and patience. Escape rooms are perfect for family vacations, corporate team-building, or just having fun with your friends. It’s always a bonding experience. In fact, The Escape Game recently surveyed some of their corporate clients and found that 10/10 companies reported improved morale following the escape room event and 9/10 reported improved communication. Even if you don’t actually get out of the room, the whole team will have a blast and make memories that you will share for a long time. It’s great to bring a large group to an escape game, but you can also have a wonderful time by yourself! You can be put in any escape game location with strangers who will quickly become teammates. Some people even make friends for life with strangers in escape rooms!

What makes the best escape games so popular? Escape rooms are a whole new way of experiencing storytelling. By combining a social activity with interactive adventures and challenging puzzles, escape game players are immersed in an entirely different world with storylines that feel like Hollywood blockbusters. No wonder they’re so addicting.

What about virtual escape rooms? (added 2021)

COVID lockdowns led to an explosion of online escape rooms and games that can be played from home. During lockdowns, friends were looking for new ways to connect. Work teams started searching for virtual team building activities. Escape rooms were looking for ways to keep their businesses going. All of these factors led to an explosion of virtual escapes. There are many kinds of virtual escape rooms from point-and-click apps, to audio-only narrated games, to live and hosted events. Watch the video below to see how The Escape Game’s Remote Adventures work. In these games, your Game Guide is in an actual escape room streaming live. You and your group direct the Game Guide through the adventure over Zoom!

Now you know what a virtual escape room is, but are they fun? Watch Chris Ramsay, YouTube’s Puzzle Master, take on a virtual art heist!

If you’re looking for something to play right now and on your own, we recommend trying out Unlocked. These at-home mystery games are challenging and immersive and players can start, stop, save and pick back up whenever they’re ready!

Virtual escape rooms show no sign of slowing down and it’s clear they will be around long after COVID restrictions are lifted.


What is an Escape Room Infographic


Each escape game room has its own unique mission. You get to choose your own adventure by selecting the mission you want to challenge yourself to complete. Maybe you are trying to steal a piece of priceless art from a museum, or planning an escape from prison, or trying to repair a spaceship on Mars. Once you step into the escape room, you will be instantly transported into a different world, as your surroundings match the theme of your mission. Perhaps you find yourself standing in a fancy art gallery, or behind bars in your very own prison cell, or at the command module of a spaceship complete with high-tech screens and controls. These immersive worlds help you feel like you’re actually living out the story of your mission. Once you step into the escape game room, your Game Guide, the escape room staff member who will help you throughout the game, will make sure that you are clear on what is an escape room, the rules and answer any initial questions you have. Then, you will watch a video that explains your mission in full. Once the video ends, your one-hour timer starts counting down! From then on, you’ll be directly interacting with the objects and props in the room to uncover all the clues to get out of an escape room you can find.

Don’t worry, you won’t be left totally alone in the escape room! You and your team will be helped through your mission by your Game Guide, who will be monitoring your game through cameras and microphones in the room. If you want to use one of your three clues, your Game Guide is the one who will give it to you. Your Game Guide also may volunteer a few extra tips to escape the room throughout your adventure. Escape rooms are meant to be challenging, yet fun and crackable.


We know what you’re thinking because we get asked this all the time: Are you really locked in a room? If you need to leave the room at any point during the game, you’re always welcome to step out. What happens if you don’t escape in time? If you don’t escape in time, that’s okay! Whether you complete your mission in time or not, your Game Guide will meet you at the end of the game and open the room if you haven’t escaped yet. While it is exciting to be able to successfully escape, escape rooms are still lots of fun for groups who don’t manage to make it out during their first attempt–it gives them a goal to work towards the next time they come and play!


There are now close to five thousand escape rooms worldwide! You can play an escape room in such far-flung places as England, Thailand, and Korea. While the proliferation of escape rooms makes finding one near you very easy, not all escape rooms are made equally. Escape rooms differ in overall quality and presentation. 

The Escape Game is the top escape room company in the US on TripAdvisor, with 8 out of the top 10 “Room Escape Games” in the country. Each location is also rated #1 of “Fun and Games” in its city. We believe this is because of the quality of the design and construction of our games. The Escape Game designs their games to be “epic for everyone” and after 3 million players they have a good sense of what makes a great escape experience. 


Our escape rooms offer a variety of puzzles, clues, and riddles ranging from digital and tactile to geometric and pattern-based. All of the escape games are challenging, fun, and safe for children and adults alike. We’re a team of thinkers and builders who love to create the most immersive escape rooms out there. Check out our video to see what sets us apart from other escape room locations!


We have locations across the country! Choose your location, learn more about The Escape Game, and book your game HERE.



The concept of escape rooms began with first-person adventure video games where players interacted with their surroundings by clicking on-screen objects. Video games like Myst and Crimson Room allowed players to control their environment with just a mouse and a few simple commands. Certain elements of these point-and-click adventure games–interacting with hidden elements in your surroundings, solving puzzles, goal-oriented plotlines–became key features in what later became known as “escape rooms.”

The first documented escape room was created by a Japanese company called SCRAP in 2007. Players were ushered into a themed room where in order to escape, they had to solve a series of puzzles and riddles in a set period of time. Before long, escape rooms became popular, permanent fixtures in Japan and spread to China and the rest of Asia. Around this time, the first escape room in Europe opened in Hungary. Throughout the next five years, more and more permanent escape rooms populated Europe and Asia.

Escape rooms were introduced in the United States around 2012. The Escape Game–that’s us!–began building their first escape room in 2013. The founders of The Escape Game sought to create more impressive escape room locations than the ones currently in the United States, which were often lackluster rooms filled with just boxes, furniture, and puzzles on pieces of paper. They envisioned building high-caliber live escape rooms that could rival even the best ones in Asia and Europe. They opened up their first escape room location in Nashville, Tennessee in 2014 and have since become the #1-ranked escape room on TripAdvisor in every city they’re in – find an escape game location near you! To this day, The Escape Game aims to create, design, and build the most challenging and immersive escape rooms out there.

If you liked this blog, check out our Ultimate Guide on How to Beat an Escape Room!