The Brief History of Escape Rooms

Escape Rooms are blowing up in popularity but where did they come from? They seemingly appeared out of thin air but when you ask people how they got started, most people have no idea! There are several theories but no single event that started it all. Instead, upon looking at the history, we’ve found it’s the culmination of multiple different forms of entertainment we’ve all been participating in for years!

At Escape Room LA, we pride ourselves on being historians on how it all began. Even with our expertise, there is no clear-cut trail and we’ve been left to connect the dots as best as we can.

UK Gameshows

The Crystal Maze was a popular game show in the early 1990’s and has since been reborn into a team building escape game. The Crystal Maze game show, before anyone knew what escape rooms would become, resembled escape rooms that we’ve all grown to love today! Legends of the Hidden Temple on Nickelodeon was a game show in the early nineties that had kids solving puzzles and avoiding hidden pitfalls in an attempt to get to the end of a maze while a giant stone head talked to them.

Video Games

The game Myst arrived with the biggest video game hype of all time. It resembled an escape room experience but on your PC. You clicked which way you wanted to go in an effort to solve a puzzle and get to the next area. The 7th Guest is also a point and click game where you solved puzzles as you go from room to room. Another video game, The Crimson Room, is a game released in 2004 with a similar premise. You start off in a room, click around to find clues to find a way to the next room.

Role-playing games, especially live action role-playing games, also have heavily influenced escape room games. In a live action role-playing game, you are provided a scenario to act out in real life that involved dressing up, puzzle solving and combat. Role-playing video games involve a group of people on a quest while also solving puzzles along the way.

Haunted Houses

Haunted Houses aren’t something we need to escape from but they do have some escape room elements. They set up for current escape rooms as they are live action interactive environments in which entertain you. There are a lot of escape rooms with horror-based themes such as zombies or having to get away from a murderer. Our escape room, The Cabin, is based around a murderer who you have to escape from. The horror element makes it harder for people to think through situations and makes it a much more fun and memorable experience.

It’s hard to pinpoint the history of escape rooms because there isn’t a single event to trace it back to. As augmented reality continues to explode in popularity, it’s only a matter of time before escape rooms become a big part of that as well. Escape Rooms are spreading across the Uniter States as more and more people look for alternative forms of entertainment. If you’re interested in booking your next escape room adventure, give us a call or book here now!