In the olden days, people found pleasure in playing games like hopscotch on their sidewalks and watching black and white movies on a small television screen. But ever since technology advanced, our standards in quality entertainment have significantly taken a step ahead. We have moved on from plain-vanilla water ring toss games to mobile phone and PlayStation gaming, to immersive live-action games like escape rooms and virtual reality.
Escape rooms had shown up quite recently in 2007 when a creative mind in Japan decided to make a real-life version of the online ‘point and click’ escape the room games. Who wouldn’t love the idea of walking into a real-life video game? The participants visited the single escape room in groups of 5-6 players, hunted for hints, and solved puzzles before they escaped under 60 minutes. The concept was well-received by the audience, and it spread across the world like wildfire!
In the beginning, these escape rooms had simple puzzle concepts like hidden letters and keys and locks. Now, they have certainly stepped up a notch with the use of the latest technology to create an immersive and exciting experience for everyone.
Here, we have listed some of the technology used in escape rooms and how they contribute to the overall feel of the game. Read on!
Unlock the lock!
Locks are some of the most common props used in any escape room. A majority of escape rooms consist of a large room and a few sub rooms that need to be unlocked by solving and uncovering the right clues. Earlier, these rooms used simplistic padlocks with keys that could be hidden somewhere at a completely unexpected corner of the room. Sure, they served the purpose, but escape game designers could certainly do better!
As the number of these uncomplicated locks went down, game creators moved on to using number combination locks and electromagnetic locks. They were more impressive and versatile as the digit code could be found anywhere, or it could be the answer to a previous puzzle that was left unsolved, making players more enthusiastic and alert.
Could they do even better? Yes! Some creators successfully applied the idea of using sensors that could get triggered by light, specific objects, movement, or vibration. Once activated by solving a certain puzzle, they can automatically open some sliding doors for you, making the team more excited and catching them off-guard.
Lights, Camera, Action!
Usage of theme-specific lights plays a crucial role in making the environment of a room more realistic and exhilarating or for a virtual birthday celebration. For instance, sci-fi rooms or spaceship-themed rooms use white LEDs or neon lights that make for a future-like visual experience. On the other hand, using little to no lighting in haunted rooms or prison cells makes the guests feel like real captives. If the escape room is spooky-themed, a sudden flicker of lights here and there will surely get the players biting their nails in fear.
The game designers of escape rooms monitor the team through surveillance cameras and microphones so that they can help them or give them clues when they are stumped. The game guide speaking through the microphone could also talk in the voice of a character while leading them, hence amplifying how immersive the game is! Doesn’t that sound fun?
Interact with Puzzles, Literally!
Interactive puzzles could range from simple handwritten letters with hidden messages to audio-format hints or electronic labyrinths. Players might need to solve UV light puzzles or come across integrated drones too. Escape room designers have also started introducing 3D printers and hydraulic robotics to give off a futuristic vibe. These elements are surely overwhelming and give customers an element of surprise.
While we might be the smartest tech-geeks, escape rooms have a way of surprising us as they use technology through unassuming elements in the room. The automated puzzles and doors will take players to a whole new world and keep them there till they break out.
Again, the usage of these elements is solely dependent on the theme and storyline of the escape room. To explain that, a touchscreen code lock used in an ancient Egyptian tomb themed escape room may throw anyone off.
A few other props that contribute to the narrative of an escape game are timed fog machines, strobe lights, and lasers. Escape rooms mainly focus on getting customers engrossed and giving them a memory to cherish. A sudden stream of fog coming out of nowhere after a trigger and perfectly placed interactive props feed to the practicality of the storylines in the escape room. They could widen some eyes or even freak some people out, which adds to the whole experience.
As for lasers, we have all had at least one of those at home. But in escape rooms, they could be used in creative and inventive ways leaving the players awestruck. There could be several hidden lasers, when found and pointed at a certain spot, trigger the opening of the very escape exit of the room!
Laser tripwires we see in spy movies will make players feel like a top-secret spy as they crawl beneath them and retrieve clues! It’s the escape experience that matters, and technology spices things up!
The incorporation of realistic sound effects combined with moving props just caters to the magical element of the room. Haunted houses are brought to life when through this simple technique.
There’s nothing funnier than watching your friends or teammates shriek or jump in response to an unexpected scream sound effect!
We are now living in a world governed by technology. Therefore, in a unique form of entertainment such as escape rooms, futuristic and technology-friendly props do play a major role in creating an extraordinary and unfamiliar environment.
In the end, escape brands and escape enthusiasts just want to have relentless immersive fun, so using these gadgets while keeping in mind the theme of the room will go a long way. As long as technology is used creatively and strategically, it will never fail to leave the players saying, “Woah, that was cool!”
Charlotte Lin is a content creator at escaperoom She’s a passionate young woman, mother to an amazing nine-year-old, and an avid reader. Over the years, writing has helped her explore and understand the world as well as her own self. She loves to travel, meet new people, and spend quality time with her daughter.