What’s An Escape Room?

The most common question that we receive at Themed Nation when we tell them that we are escape room enthusiasts is one that seems so simple - “What’s an escape room?”

Up until a few years ago we had this same question until we participated in one. My first reaction when my friends asked me to play was “No thanks-it sounds like it will give me a headache.” The unfortunate fact regarding the industry is that it is plagued with a name that makes it sound more like a torturous event than an enjoyable afternoon with your friends and family. This could not be more incorrect.

If you have never participated in an escape room before do not be put off by the name. Escape rooms are small scale (typically 1-3 room facilities) that are more in line with theme parks and arcades than any kind of physical challenge. While some rooms will pride themselves on scares and/or physical puzzles the vast majority of escape rooms are mental brain teasers that challenge your wits as opposed to your strength. In all the rooms that we have played there has never been an occasion where we were unable to finish a room due to a physical task. Trust us when we say that you do not need to be a top performing athlete to complete these rooms!

The game concept is simple. Usually 4-6 players will be given a task (i.e.-escape the space ship, steal the jewel, get out “alive”, etc.), and placed into a room with a given time frame to complete a series of tasks that require you to escape.

Once you start you will be faced with a series of brainteasers and challenges that will unlock additional puzzles and opportunities all located in the room.  Although we cannot speak to every escape room there are some general themes that apply.  There is no need to dig, dismantle, or destroy any of the props or the room itself.  You must always keep in mind that your escape is based off patterns and wit, not brute strength.

Typically speaking you will have approximately 1 hour to beat the game. This means you must complete all the puzzles and tasks in the room before your clock strikes zero.  If you do not accomplish the task, a staff member will likely enter the room and inform you of your defeat.  If you do complete the puzzles and “escape” you will likely finish by opening up one last door that brings you back into the real world!

The escape rooms that our team enjoys most are the rooms that are heavily themed and truly transport you to another dimension or setting that you might see in a movie or in your imagination. The really fun part about the escape room industry is that it has given individuals the opportunity to create imaginary lands that were previously found only in theme parks. Due to their small scale they do not cost a fortune to make and respectively owners are able to run wild with their imagination and transport you around the world and through time!

If you have never done an escape room before, we recommend to try one with a friend that has.  This will make your first experience much more enjoyable than trying to figure everything out on your own.  Don’t be upset if you don’t escape!  It took our team many attempts before we escaped our first room, and we continue to fail today-It’s OK-that’s the challenge!  Whatever you do, don’t give up-Once you get into the games you’ll likely find a new passion that you never even knew existed!