Blog

Escape Room Designers Reveal Their Secrets

By 6th May 2020 No Comments
various-metal-keys-escape-rooms

Mysterious, intriguing and thrilling are words often associated with Escape Rooms. 

But, what is it that makes them so appealing? Why do we want to be locked in a room for 60 minutes? 

With a high chance of losing an Escape Room, what is it that makes us want to win so badly?

Now the UK’s most popular off-beat craze, it’s no wonder we’re all so captivated. Grown out of cultural phenomenons such as the Crystal Maze, and from mastermind Takagi’s SCRAP rooms – Escape Rooms are a big hit. 

We’ve put together some surprising secrets hidden in the Escape Rooms design. 

Dream Big Baby!

Concepts are a huge part of what makes an Escape Room.

Drawing on themes and genre tropes can make or break a participant’s enjoyment of an Escape Room. 

Basing reality within fantasy makes Escape Rooms all the more thrilling. Not only do you get caught up in the unfolding plot, but you also get to pretend for an hour that the Escape Room is real.

What’s more, Escape Rooms that implant historical fact and real worldwide events are escapism at its finest.

As they are live-action games, they offer you, the player, a unique experience.

You invest in the dream. 

Air of Mystery

What happens when the clock strikes? Will you be a victim to the Escape Rooms mercy?

Sounds a bit dramatic, no?

Part of the appeal of an Escape Room is the idea that you can’t escape. We like the mystery. We love an illusion, and we want to get swept away in fantasy.

Designers play on our innate feeling of intrigue. 

Building immersive experiences with a chance of failure makes an Escape Room all the more impressive. 

Nothing is finite. Need a toilet break? Just speak to the Games Master!

Mastering Game Flow

Designers have to come up with a narrative and how logic serves the concept they want to create.

So before your chosen Escape Room even opened its doors, creative masterminds were pulling strings to find out where to place each clue and puzzle for your enjoyment. 

Finding the balance between experience and investment, designers carefully sew an Escape Room together. 

Carving an engaging, fun, and puzzling quest is a true craft and a pure artform. 

Rule Enforcement

It’s fair to say that for any Escape Room the building blocks are the individual puzzles. They are grounded in discovery, solution and then transition – where you pull everything together.

Game designers have to figure out a balance- knowing how much information to give you and how much to withhold.

Great Escape Rooms are carefully crafted with you, the player, in mind. 

Dorothy did not merely walk through the gates to Oz. She had to go on an epic journey – find a lion, a tinman and a scarecrow – before she even got to her destination.

Masters of manipulation, designers have to find exceptional ways to define and enforce the rules of the game.

With little instruction, and giving you enough time to solve each puzzle, time is on no one’s side.

Be like Dorothy. Follow the path laid out before you.

Natural Parameters

Games Masters and designers have to play to your strengths as well as their own.

As they are in charge of creating the rules of the Escape Room, they need to implant acceptable boundaries for you to play within.

For example, if the game involves you needing to unlock a bolt, the Games Master can’t then get mad at you for opening a non-game door with the same bolt.

So, designers have to keep you in mind at all times when designing an Escape Room. 

Never Lose Sight of Reality

Escape Room designers have to keep the real world in mind too. There are real-world constraints after all that may become a problem.

It may sound super obvious, but every time an Escape Room is played, it has to be reset afterwards. Setting up each prop, clue and puzzle to a playable state is an art in itself. Designers have to keep that in mind to give the best available gameplay.

Durability is vital when designers select puzzles. Each one gets a lot of abuse from the players, as they try to solve it. So, puzzles may need to be skipped if they malfunction and easily replaceable. However, the game still needs to be able to work without them!

Some Escape Rooms rely on such precision that the tiniest tweek can set the narrative askew.

So, bear this in mind…

An often unseen designer has lovingly crafted an Escape Room. They will have played the game, mastered each move to give you the greatest playing experience. 

Up for the challenge? Which Escape Room are you going to conquer next?