Escape Rooms 101

Let's do some LEARNIN!

An escape room, also known as an "escape game", is a physical adventure game in which players solve a series of puzzles, using clues, hints, and strategy to complete the objectives at hand. Players are given a set time limit to unveil the secret plot which is hidden within the rooms. Escape rooms are inspired by "Escape the Room"–style video games. This is also the likely source of their name.  Games are set in a variety of fictional locations, such as prison cells, dungeons, space stations, or super dope trapper cabins!  The various puzzles and clues themselves follow the theme of the room.

  • Escape rooms became popular in North America, Europe and East Asia in the 2010s. Permanent escape rooms in fixed locations were first opened in Asia and followed later in Hungary, Australia, New Zealand, Russia and South America.  In the U.S. the Midwest is the current Mecca for the industry.  And Ole Pappy's Trapper Cabin is the first mobile escape room in the PNW!

The History

Different entertainment attractions contain elements similar to modern escape rooms and could thus be seen as precursors to the idea, including haunted houses, scavenger hunts, corn mazes and family entertainment centers.

Real Escape Game (REG) in Japan was developed by 35-year-old Takao Kato, of the Kyoto publishing company, SCRAP Co., in 2007. It is based in Kyoto, Japan and produces a free magazine by the same name.  Japanese games were primarily composed of logical puzzles, such as mathematical sequences or color-coding, just like the video games that inspired them.

Parapark, a Hungarian franchise that later operated in 20 locations in Europe and Australia, was founded in 2011 in Budapest.  The founder, Attila Gyurkovics, claims he had no information about the Japanese escape games and based the game on "Flow Theory" and his job experience as a personality trainer.  (Personality, not PERSONAL trainer, although we are certain he is very fit.)  As opposed to the foundational Japanese games, Players of Parapark mainly had to find hidden keys or reach seemingly unattainable ones in order to advance.

In 2012 a Swiss physics professor created a science based escape game for his students. The game was later offered to the public under the name of Adventure Rooms and distributed as a franchise in twenty countries. The Adventure Rooms introduced scientific puzzles (e.g. hidden infrared or polarized codes) to the genre.

As of September 2017, there were over 8,000 escape room venues worldwide.  

Escape Rooms have become so popular that they made a movie about it!  Ole Pappy read the reviews and he suggests spending the money on just playing a game instead of watching one.

The love for them

The South China Morning Post described escape rooms as a hit among "highly stressed students and overworked young professionals."

(We'll let you draw your own metaphors with a mobile escape room coming to you so you can escape your life for awhile.)

Sometimes the excitement becomes a bit much, though, and players get so invested that they tear down equipment or decorations inside their "fake" prisons, as Zhu Yumeng, chief operating officer of Beijing room escape game site Taoquan, told China Daily.

The use of Hong Kong room "escapes" as distractions from the living conditions of the real city of Hong Kong has been reviewed by local journalists.

On December 24, 2016, then-U.S. President Barack Obama and his family visited Breakout Waikiki in Honolulu after being challenged on Twitter by the escape room, and successfully completed the Mission Manoa room with 12 seconds remaining!

On October 30, 2018, Ariana Grande visited an escape room with James Corden.  So that's a thing you know now.

Escape room games are quickly becoming the event of choice, for team building, graduations, regular ole date night, birthday parties, or for any occasion where "fun" is the main goal.  The combination of frustration and success always equal a memorable time.  Something special about Ole Pappy's is that the exact same game can be enjoyed equally wether you're 10 or 70 years old!

The Stories

Some common themes and storylines that are often found in escape rooms include zombies, haunted houses, science laboratories, jails, pirates/ treasure hunting, hostage, and kidnapping to the super fun, Ole Trapper Cabin!

The Puzzles

Some of the types of puzzles you might encounter in an escape room are: hidden objects, team communication, light, counting, noticing something obvious in the room, using something in an unusual way, symbol substitution with a key, searching for objects in images, assembly of a physical object, algebra and other mathematics, pattern identification, riddles, ciphers and others.

An example of an escape room puzzle would be placing a code on a spinning fan so that it can only be read using a stroboscope in the dark. Therefore, players have to turn off the light, turn on the stroboscope, notice the spinning fan, read the code and apply it further down the game.

Ole Pappy realizes not everyone was in Mensa, and tricked his cabin out so all level of players will enjoy it.  If you're 10 or 70 you'll have the same fun time.

The Evolution

The first games consisted mainly of logical puzzles that were solved with paper and pencil. Later, padlocks were introduced that could be opened by finding hidden keys and codes using objects found in the rooms.  Finally, automation technology, immersive decoration and more elaborate storylines are being used to enhance the visitor experience.  The trend in making puzzles more interactive and to create an experience that is more theatrical and atmospheric has been inspired by the millions of players and the close relationships they build with their favorite Escape Room companies.  

While Ole Pappy's could be considered a low/zero tech game, the theatrical atmosphere is created the moment players see the cabin, to the moment they hopefully escape.  However, the next offerings from NWEscapeOnWheels, will incorporate more advanced production elements, and always include a super cool secret feature or two!

The Safety

The first known fatal accident to occur in an escape room was the death of five 15-year-old girls in a fire in Koszalin,  Poland, on 4 January 2019. The fire was caused by a leaky gas container inside a heater and resulted in the death of the five victims from carbon monoxide poisoning and injuries to one employee, who was treated for burns. According to the state firefighting service, the chief failure that led to the deaths was the lack of an effective evacuation route. Shortly after the accident, authorities ordered safety checks in escape rooms across Poland and 13 more such establishments were shut down for safety flaws as a result.  

Fully insured, NWEscapeOnWheels takes their guest's safety very seriously and is a top priority.  The fireplace, lanterns and candles in the cabin are fake, but the friendly warmth and fire extinguisher are real.

Puzzled Monkless Brewer

Puzzled Monkless Brewer