The Escape Room game, which takes us back to the real world and where we have to come up with a solution in a certain amount of time, is gaining popularity in both our country and the whole planet
The concept of the Escape Room game contradicts the idea of a world in which interpersonal interaction is avoided in favor of virtual existence. Interesting enough, this game had a reverse genesis – in the beginning you had a video game from which the live entertainment developed. Another interesting thing is that the Japanese were the first to play escape the room in real space and time. The same Japanese that are obligatory in every social comment aimed at showing that authentic human socialization is losing in favor of the virtual.
What is it that brings us back to the games we played before the computer? The story, design, imagination, intellectual challenges, as well as the fact that due to time constraints we are referred to our teammates, to what we have learned as children – together we are stronger. What is definitely decisive in the selection and recommendation of the game is the idea that there’s a unique, thought-provoking task that is authentic and requires our commitment and concentration, yet it is logical enough to be solved.
The location and period of the game are often determined by the local context. That is why in Belgrade you are hunting for Dorcol witch, in Nis players have to deactivate a timed bomb and save their city, in Vrsac they are looking for one missing inhabitant. In Belgrade’s Adrenalin, players have to figure out logical tasks designed by Tesla’s genius mind, or in another room, decorated to resemble Josip Broz Tito’s office, they need to discover where the marshal’s secret service has hidden important information related to his private life. Interestingly, Tito’s secret room is also played in Norway and, although it is called differently and the story is related to a person from Norwegian history, the idea and the license came from Belgrade.
Each step in the game leads to the next. Detection of code in words, numbers, objects points to another that should be associated with the previous one or the one that follows. The traces are hidden among the codes that are found among the most unusual objects – padlocks, maps, photographs, chess figures. All tasks are written in both Serbian and English so that tourists can play the game too. Regardless of the fact that rooms have a theme, no prior knowledge is needed, detective skills are crucial, and if you get stuck you can always rely on help from the outside world – big brother or big sister, who monitors every move from the control room.
[For the purpose of writing the text in your mother tongue, the translation “escape from the room” sounds a bit unnatural, given the fact that in Serbia – where this form of entertainment is known since the opening of the first room in Novi Sad in 2013 – the English term “escape room” is used . However rules are rules, both in the game and in writing, and we must abide by them, although this time we’re talking about grammar.]
The first escape room in Serbia was opened in 2013 in Novi Sad.
At the beginning of 2014, the team of Escape Game designed the Mystery room and started the game in Belgrade. The family of passionate gamers got acquainted with this concept in Budapest and decided to make up their own story and original riddles. Afterward, based on Belgrade’s first escape room another one was opened in Ljubljana. History was repeated – guests from Slovenia were delighted with the game they played in Serbia so they carried it further.
Interestingly, and very thoughtfully, today Escape Game offers five rooms in the Escape Game, and if we were to put these games on the library shelves, each one would be in a different section. In Enigma, players become spies who need to infiltrate into German headquarters, find a machine and decrypt the message. The Space Room is for the fans of science fiction, who have 60 minutes to get to Asteroid 224 and discover the source of radiation that negatively affects our planet. In the next room, which is actually a laboratory, you need to find out on what mysterious project a crazy scientist was working on. The secret of samurai is hidden in the Japan room, which is decorated according to the principles of Japanese architecture and interior design, and in the latest game, players go to Alice’s Wonderland.
So what are the rules? The common goal of every room is that players need to solve the mystery, that is to discover how to get out of the room within 60 minutes. Each room is thematically decorated, and the puzzles that prevent you from escaping the room are in line with the theme. We say a room, but most often we’re talking about connected rooms, secret passages, unexpected spaces. The optimal number of people playing is four, although in some places five or even six can play the game. If the participants are exclusively children, then the game master enters the room (another English term that is adopted). The game master is one of the employees who knows perfectly the terms and rules of the game.
There are two assumptions about the origin of this game, or better, the Asian and the European version. The first version is that the origin of the game is a video game The Crimson Room in which a player needs to solve the mystery in order to escape from an unknown room. The story goes like this: a player wakes up one morning in an unusual room with red walls, without recalling how he got there. The room is locked, and his task is to find the key and escape by solving the puzzles. The creator of The Crimson Room is Toshimitsu Takagi, who designed this video game in 2004. Then, in honor of the escape room video game pioneer, the term Takagism was coined and is used for an entire genre. Three years later, Takao Kato from Kyoto, an employee of SCRAP company, first designed this kind of live entertainment. Players are in a room where they need to solve the mystery and leave the room within a certain period of time. Soon the game spread to other parts of the Far East.
Budapest is the first European city in which escape from the room was organized in 2010. Attila Gyurkovics, working on a new team building project, created Paraparka, the first escape game, without knowing that this concept was largely popular in Asia. However, Attila correctly assumed that the escape room will be attractive for employee team building. It was certain, however, that he could not have imagined how far his ideas would go.
Today, Budapest is the world’s escape room capital, and other cities are gradually joining in. Only in Belgrade, today there are about twenty locations where it is possible to engage in such a one-hour adventure, and the game masters from different European cities travel here in order to get familiar with new games. Partly because this business is most often dealt with by those who like to play but on the other hand they need to be inspired all over again and learn how to perfect the mysterious mechanisms in some new rooms from which they must escape.
By Ivana Slavkovic