A group of American system programmers created Origin, the first escape room in Silicon Valley. The mysteries and challenges in the game were inspired by the works of Agatha Christie and became a popular tourist attraction.
The very first escape the room games were online games and date as early as 2000. MOTAS (Mystery of Time and Space), a popular online graphic adventure game with 20 levels of varying length, some consisting of a single room and others consisting a large network of rooms was an early influential example of the escape the room genre.
The player interacts with the environment within the game by pointing at and clicking the elements: padlocks, screwdrivers, puzzles, codes, door locks, books and so on. Retrieved items can then be used to interact with elements within the environment to solve puzzles. For example, the player discovers several elements throughout the game’s environment that suggest the player is a clone or that the action is taking place in an alternate dimension. MOTAS features a plot that changes and evolves as the player advances through the course of the game taking him closer to solving the final puzzle.
Soon more and more online adventure games were created “Viridian Room”, “Droom”, “Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors” or “Crimson Room”.
Crimson Room is another influential concept for the escape the room genre. To escape the small crimson room you have to use hidden objects to unlock the door. The game soon became very popular and was the starting point for a large number of similar games.
Real Escape Game (REG) in Japan was developed by 35-year-old Takao Kato, after seeing a colegue playing an escape the room game online. His first real room had 6000 visitors in its frst year since it opened.
The rooms created by Takao were visited by many curious tourists, eager to spend their free time in a fun new way. So Takao locked over 10.000 players in bars, cathedrals, baseball stadiums or werewolf villages in just two years since he opened his first real escape venue.
2011 – present
Escape games expanded quickly all over the world using various subjects for inspiration like old movies, villains or local urban legends.
In just a few years, escape rooms expanded in almost every country like Argentina, Anglia, Australia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Brasilia, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Switzerland, Egypt, Estonia, United Arab Emirates, Finland, France, Philippine, Germania, Greece, Hungary, Island, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italia, Japan, Korea, Kuwait, Leonia, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Holland, New Zeeland, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Romania, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Africa , Spain, Sweden, the US, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, Vietnam. At this moment there are over 3000 escape rooms located in 450 cities from 60 countries.
Budapest, Singapore and Tokyo are the top 3 cities competing for highest number of active escape rooms.
Shortly after this expansion a large number of people start traveling to various destinations in search of the perfect escape rooms creating “escape room tourism”.
2013 – escape room in Romania
In Romania the first real room escape are opened in Cluj-Napoca and Oradea. On the 2nd of January 2014 the creators of Chambers Real Escape Rooms were playing “The Dungeon” in Cluj, opened just 2 months prior.
In Cluj two more escape rooms open, one of them part of an international escape room chain.
Romanian players are searching for ever changing experiences. Significant increase in demand for escape room games lead to new venues opening up all over the country.
2014 – Chambers opens in Bucharest
In May 2014, Chambers is opened, the first real escape room to be marketed as such. Chambers uses innovating and original puzzles in their rooms. All the puzzles are created by team Chambers.
People are still grasping at the idea of being locked in a mystery room so it takes time and advertisement through flyers, presentations and free passes for things to start moving.
In two weeks from its opening the first real players show up. Our room, build from scratch in just 4 months, proves to be a real success. The room is fully booked and this new type of fun is getting more and more attention from the public.
Chambers is an inspiration for other entrepreneurs and thus other escape venues start to open in cities like Bucharest, Iasi or Constanta.
The press is also interested in this new type of leisure so it becomes famous.
Over 1000 players come to play our first room at Chambers by the end of the year.
10 more escape rooms open by the end of the same year.
2014, May – Davewriter escape room
Chambers’ first escape room was a detective themed room. Everything is built from scratch, the room the gameplay, even the name, Davewriter, is 100% original.
During its first year the room goes through a lot of changes, evolving and adapting to the players’ needs.
It is known in the gaming community as a room that has everything it needs, and by this we mean a large variety of puzzles: mechanical, optical, electronic, linguistic and logical.
Our players describe the room as having “the most balanced game” they’ve solved. Aside from the perfect hint system based on a compensatory formula (depending on the number of players in a team), the variety of puzzles make the room accessible to all sorts of combination teams: girls and boys, artists and programmers, kids and adults.
The increasing number of detective themed rooms in Bucharest force us to take the next step and create something innovating in the room-escape community. We choose to sacrifice Davewriter and create a whole new room with a different gameplay and so BOMB ROOM sets the bar for a new type of Real Action Game.
2015 – Bomb Room
Chambers opens BOMB ROOM, a new challenge, thus forcing the evolution of the escape the rooms type of games. The purpose of the game is no longer finding the key that unlocks the door but defusing a BOMB! Behold, a new concept is created by Chambers: Real Action Games.
All of the stages our rooms have been though were labeled “smart”, “original”, “wow”. The latest version of Bomb Room has managed to add to that even more of a challenge to the most experienced of players.
Some of the elements in the room, 100% created by our own team, are so high-tech and discreetly implemented that the players do not believe how well they work so it happens pretty often that after the game we spend time with our players talking and testing the puzzles once more just for the wow factor.
The rooms main attraction is the time-BOMB, but all the puzzles are built in close relation to it. During the game the players find clues about the bomber and also about other key characters from the story.
After over a year of experimenting with this room and making changes to perfect it we can say that it is thought out just right for newbies and pros. From our own experience as escapers and after talking with thousands of players we managed to diabolically calibrate it so we can offer to all the magical felling they are playing an escape room for the very first time. 🙂
Come and try on your own how it feels to defuse a ticking time-bomb!
2015 – Electric Chair
Chambers opens ELECTRIC CHAIR, a new Real Action Game – a concept of our creation. The action takes place in a surreal decor. Chambers is once again true to its values: quality, logic, novelty.
The Electric Chair is by all means one of the most daring projects of its kind in the room-escape community worldwide. Electric Chair 1.3 is an ultimatum for even the most experienced of players.
The rooms main attraction is a real life replica of “Old Sparky” electric chair from Texas, US. The real one was used for over 40 years, giving a unique experience, so to speak, to 361 inmates.
Click here for the history of the Electric Chair.
The game stars with a member of your team tied to the electric chair. The rest of the team is in another area and must start off by untying their colleague (he/she helps them by providig key info only available to him/her). This first stage lasts max 15 minutes (verified). After this level is completed the entire team must work together to escape the “Fandango” prison.
This game is not recommended for people with claustrophobia, heart condition or kids under 16 years of age. These restrictions are due to the conditions in the room necessary to create the right atmosphere for the story. But have no fear there are no actual dangers like open electric current, scary objects or sudden noises.
If you can’t decide beforehand which one of you should start the game being tied to the electric chair 🙂 we can draw straws right here, before the game.
Come play! This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Where else can you get executed on the electric chair? 😛
2017 – Hijack
In June 2017 Hijack will open, a new, incredible room by Chambers. Uuuuu-huuuuuu! Brace yourself!
To be continued. 🙂