Escape room

The evolution of escape games 2.

We covered the beginnings in the previous section of the series on the history of escape games. That is how computer escape games broke into the gaming industry. This time we show a taste of the first live games


We covered the beginnings in the previous section of the series on the history of escape games. That is how computer escape games broke into the gaming industry. This time we show a taste of the first live games.


The first escape rooms


Several escape rooms claim their historical first place and it is difficult to do justice to their request. Most likely, the first live exit games opened around the same time, but without knowing anything about each other.

The known beginnings are more than 10 years old: in 2006, the two known escape rooms began operating on a commercial basis in the Silicon Valley and in 2007 in Japan. The playgrounds were on the two different sides of the Pacific, so it is very unlikely that they knew about each other’s concepts. The inspiration was also different: the Japanese escape room drew inspiration from computer escape games; and the San Francisco game went back to the novels of Agatha Christie.


Agatha Christie as inspiration


Agatha Christie, the uncrowned queen of crime, has written more than 80 detective novels in her lifetime. His first novel, The Mysterious Styles Case, was published in 1920. In this, she introduced her legendary hero Hercule Poirot, who later in around 30 books chased the mysterious killers.


Poirot and her other heroes also used only their wits and logic to expose the killer, as opposed to the detectives who appeared on the later film screen, who have far more emphasis on their dexterity and power to bring any opponent to their heels. Exactly the same concept is followed by escape rooms: the task is to find the tiny hidden clues and the connections between them.



Mihály Csíkszentmihályi and the flow experience


Escape rooms began to spread quickly in Hungary in 2011. Budapest has become the capital of escape rooms, where the first World Escape Room Championship was also held.

The flow theory of a well-known Hungarian psychologist, Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, greatly contributed to their spread. According to the theory, a person provides the best performance when the outside world disappears by concentrating on his tasks. Moreover, that is when you are the happiest. According to Csíkszentmihályi, those who often have flow experience, their quality of life is also better. This is exactly what works in a carefully composed escape room.


The exploding number of escape rooms in Budapest


Although live escape games first appeared in other countries, they spread from Budapest worldwide.

In addition to the ruin pubs, which have now unquestionably advanced into a Hungarian specialty, the escape rooms are the ones that can expect young foreign tourists with the least investment in the hope of profit. They are looking for lighter entertainment than boring sightseeing. For example, it is rather difficult to imagine a British stag party company admiring the building of the Széchenyi Library.


The target group and the atmosphere is very similar to the ruin pub. However, there is a small but not negligible difference: the guests come to the escape room just to spin their brains, not to dull them. It is encouraging that there is a demand for this as well, and more and more people are realizing that you should not just get drunk in Budapest.

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