For those who don’t know what Escape room games are, they are probably the nearest thing in real life to an adventure game: a few players are put in a room and their goal is to collaborate to find clues and solve puzzles in order to exit it within a set time limit.
I played once with a few friends and it was really a very funny experience, especially because I wasn’t sure whether my puzzle-solving experiences in adventure games would have helped me in the physical world as well and… they did help!
Before starting, we were also given a background story, but it was only to create an atmosphere, not a game element that was needed to solve the puzzles.
Some of the game aspects that I enjoyed very much were:
It’s a team effort. One of the reasons why I play adventure games is because it’s a way to prove to myself my puzzle-solving skills and I wouldn’t like to play an adventure game with other people. The escape room game was different because it was a time-limited casual experience where the story was irrelevant and the collaborative effort was both required to solve the large quantity of puzzles and also a way to observe how other people think and interact with each other. I remember especially one occasion in which a friend and me solved a puzzle together: we were following the exact same logic, to the point that each of us knew what the other one was thinking and why.
It’s physical! It was fun to solve puzzles that depend on real-life constrains and rules. One puzzle was to get a key that was at the bottom of a long and thin transparent water-filled Plexiglas tube with no objects that could help us to reach the item from the top opening of the tube. The tube was also fixed on the ground, so you couldn’t just take it and manipulate it in any way: our main enemy was gravity! A sub-goal was to free two of our friends, who were handcuffed!
It can be surprising. When we were convinced that we had solved almost all the puzzles and that we were very near to reach the goal, we discovered a hidden door to a secret room!
I think that I gave you the idea of how these games work.
So, have you played them? Would you like to try them?
They´re called “crime dinners” even in germany. Ever since I once casually passed by a line where people attending a place where one such thing was about to take place and someone from the line pointed and shouted at me"THAT GUY MUST BE THE MURDERER!!!" I hate those things.
When you’ll try it, remember that you are given just the final goal (escaping the room) and that there are no story or characters that explain to you why you should do any of the strange things that you will do there.
I went with a group of friends to an Escape Room a couple of months ago, for the first time. It was different than I expected and more fun. I agree - my puzzle solving skills as developed as an adventure game player certainly helped, but what caught me off guard was the dynamic and very human experience of trying to solve problems in a team (in my case, with 7 others). Personality and interpersonal dynamics have a huge role, and you learn more about the people you are with (probably more than you wanted to know, in some cases). It was at various points fun, exciting, and very frustrating. I am definitely interested in doing it more, with different groups of people. I think it could be a great way to develop group interaction skills, and ultimately team problem solving skills.
That’s one of the reasons why I prefer PnC adventure games to “escape the room” casual games. I like the mix of story and puzzles and the fact that players do puzzles because they are given a specific reason to do it. But I have also played a few of these escape the room videogames: not exactly my cup of tea but a thing that I can play now and then nonetheless.
I think that there are a gazillion of free escape the room casual games on the Internet. Have you tried them?
I wanted to play one, but never did. Mainly because I’m Italian and don’t live in Italy, so… I know there is one in my hometown, and my sister played it, and she had a lot of fun (but didn’t manage to escape). She said “you need to have the perfect team”. So I thought about which team, and it’s very difficult to me to have my dream team in the same place at the same time.
So, I probably won’t do it, ever
If there’s a single player only or even a two player room, I’d try with my wife.
I’m not sure about this need to have a perfect team. I think that it might be possible to succeed with any random selection of smart people: colleagues, “beer buddies”, people who share with me a hobby, neighbors, etc.
As long as they are intelligent people who don’t have terrible relational issues, that should work. And even if you don’t win, you have the chance of knowing other people better.
What? Sawing a leg off? Well, yes, I think that it would require some strength on your part.
Escape room games are all about clues, deductions and possibly some fast-paced actions (because of the time limit). Unless you get mad and decide to solve the Plexiglas tube puzzle unbolting the tube and spilling all the contents around to get the key out (which actually happened with some players of that room, as the manager told us).