If you’re reading this blog, chances are you have at least a vague idea of what an escape room is. Escape rooms have become increasingly popular just over the past few years. Thinking back, it’s strange how only three years ago, I wouldn’t have any idea what an escape room is. What makes these experiences so captivating and why are they becoming a staple for friend and family gatherings?
My name is Geoff, I am a Manager at Cross Roads Escape Games, and I am an Escape Room Enthusiast. I began working here as a game master with a few escape rooms already under my belt. Now I have experienced more than a dozen rooms, but I still remember my very first escape room. The first escape room I ever played was a zombie-themed room in San Antonio, Texas. There are similar rooms across the country: you are locked in a room with a zombie that is chained to the wall. Every few minutes, the chain gets longer and you must work harder to avoid getting eaten while still trying to solve puzzles.
Needless to say, we had a blast (And, yes, we escaped… with 3 seconds remaining). The team consisted of five coworkers, two complete strangers, and myself. It was a great way to test our multitasking abilities, our communication, and our ability to keep a cool head under pressure. It even showcased our ability to interact with and include strangers, which is something I find very important when doing public games. I think we also strengthened our relationships with each other, were inspired to create memorable experiences, and just plain had a great time. Teamwork, unusual puzzles, the rush that comes when you open a lock, and the total immersion into a new world; all of it made for an addictive and thrilling experience. That experience is what began my obsession with escape rooms.
After I moved to California, I got to play more escape rooms with friends. The first room I did with my friends was Cross Roads’ own Hex Room. I was the Prom Queen. We escaped with nearly 12 minutes remaining! To date, The Hex Room has been my favorite room because of its unique design and attention to detail. It was easy to picture myself as the star of my very own horror film, determined to escape before being brutally murdered. I really enjoyed being able to work on my own puzzles but still have friends nearby if I needed any assistance.
The ability to work together with friends, family, and strangers to solve puzzles and fully engage in a story is what keeps me coming back.
I think that’s why escape rooms are so popular: they are engaging, requiring the participants to use problem-solving skills and critical thinking, while building relationships and developing teamwork. In an age where most of us, me included, spend a lot of time interacting with screens, it’s nice to unplug for a while and use your hands. Not to mention, escape rooms aren’t mindless entertainment: You need to think, engage, interact, and be present. Plus, no two escape rooms are exactly alike. You get to experience and star in new and exciting stories every time. It’s fun to enter new scenarios and imagine you are really in this world, even if it’s only for an hour.
If you haven’t done an escape room yet, I think you should. They are a great way to do something a bit out of the ordinary while hanging out with friends or family, a wonderful alternative to going to the movies because you are still able to interact with your group, to have fun, and to laugh together. It’s an inspired way to spend time with family because a wide range of ages can participate. After the game is over, you’ll be talking about it for days, meaning you’ll never be wanting for conversation.
I believe escape rooms filled a niche for people who want to go out and do something together a bit out of the ordinary, offered an experience for people who love solving puzzles, and provided a place for businesses to offer their employees a fun and innovative way to work on team building.
I think it’s safe to say we’ll be seeing escape rooms for quite some time. I know I’m excited to try my next one.
Manager, Game Master, & Most Likely To Barely Survive A Horror Film
Cross Roads Escape Games