If you haven’t tried an escape room yet, you’re missing out.
Escape rooms are a relatively new craze — the first ones opened in Japan in 2007 — inspired by old point-and-click video games in which you were trapped in a room and urged to escape. The concept of real life escape rooms is exactly the same: you’re locked somewhere and given a set period of time (usually 60 minutes) to escape. To open the door, you’ll have to find a series of clues and solve puzzles. Some escape rooms are “old fashioned,” requiring you to open actual locks and find hidden objects, while others rely on more techie things like laser pointers, trick mirrors and even special effects.
We talked to Chris Roberts, owner of Czech Trap Escape Game (as well as Prague Golf and Games) to find out more about the popularity of escape rooms and why you should give one a try.
For readers who haven’t tried one yet, can you explain what escape rooms are and how they work?
An escape room is part fantasy, part problem solving, part brain teaser. You are placed in a room. The room will have some sort of theme and back story to go along with it to set the scene. Sometimes you are the hero, trying to de-fuse a bomb and save the day. Sometimes you are the criminal mastermind trying to crack the safe.
Once you are placed in the room, it is up to you are your team to figure out a series of clues and puzzles to accomplish your goals and escape the room within the allotted amount of time. Most escape rooms give you approximately one hour to finish the game.
Why do you think escape rooms are so popular? What makes them so intriguing?
Two reasons. A chance to escape reality for a while. The other is just challenging yourself to see if you can do it. Part of the fun when you play an escape game is that there is nothing in the room that tells you what to do. You just have to use your logic and reasoning skills to do it. Most people don’t like reading instructions anyways. So you jump right and do it.
They are also great team building events for small groups. Communication with teammates is essential as well as trying to multitask in order to achieve the goals. Larger groups break into smaller groups and see who can solve the room the fastest.
Are escape rooms for everybody?
The youngest I have seen play the room was about 10 years old. In fact, all of the teens who I have watched play the game absolutely love it. We have had families, friends, coworkers, stag parties and more all enjoy the game. I would probably say that the game is not really for children under 10 for a variety of reasons. Mostly because of the focus and concentration required to play the game.
You run an escape room set in an actual historical building in Prague Can you tell us a bit about your room and the history behind it?
[From the website’s description of the game]
It is 1970’s in Czechoslovakia. The dark time of communism and normalization process. Anybody who is stepping out of the line is suspicious. Anybody who shows an interest in democratic principles gets arrested.
Czech people were in a trap. They were trapped in their own country. This process was called normalization.
The game is set in the authentic building of an old print shop built in 1928.
The print shop director is a secret member of the resistance movement, but his identity became known. It is up to you to find compromising materials in his office before the enemy arrives to search for it. Save the country and protect its people.
What makes your room different?
What I think makes our room different than most is the our room is exactly what we say it is. When you do other escape rooms they will tell you story about the room…but you know in reality, you are actually in some basement decorated to appear to be what the story tells. When we say you are in the Print shop director’s office, that is exactly what the room is and has been for 100 years. Gives it an extra authentic experience.
We also have tried to fill the room with the most accurate props from the time period of the game. With the exception of just a few things, almost everything in the room comes from the 1970’s.