A history of room escapes – the origins of room escape bloggers and their inspirations – Part One


It stared at me from the other side of the train before I realised what it was. It was an advertisement describing a real life room escape game. I was on holiday in Singapore at the time and I remember being curious enough to later on finding myself standing in front of a free wifi hotspot within Changi Airport googling what the business what about. Soon after I found a Wall Street Journal article about room escapes and as a result, I wanted to find out more about the topic, write about it and that’s how this blog started.

As I thought of this blog reaching it’s one year anniversary – I became curious about how other room escape bloggers started their blogs and what inspired them, so I asked as many of them as possible – one question:
“When did you first hear about room escapes and why did you develop an interest in it?”

Everyone has their own room escape origin story to tell and here are some of the responses received from places such as Canada, Singapore, USA and the UK.

Name: EscapistTO
Website: https://escapistto.wordpress.com/
Reply: I’ve always had a general interest in mystery novels and movies, but I didn’t really hear about the idea of live action room escapes until I stumbled upon the blog http://claviscryptica.com/. I thought, damn, that sounds so cool! I wish Toronto would catch onto fads quicker! So I can pretty much be credited for willing it into existence.

Name: BHox (xTheBHox)
Website: s-capegoats.tumblr.com
Reply: First heard about it from a friend, probably, somewhere in 2011/2012, and had played some of the online escape games at that time so i thought it’d be pretty cool to have a real-life computer game. I was interested but was still a student and it was expensive. Nevertheless, I tried a couple of rooms (not initiated by me) in 2013 and found it fun especially because I love puzzles and a challenge. Eventually, I gathered a bunch of fellow nerds (sorry guys!), we enjoyed it, and that’s how it started. 🙂

Name/s: Errol Elumir, Matt Silver, Manda Whitney
Website: EscRoomAddict.com
Reply: We first heard about Escape Rooms sometime in Spring of 2014. We did our first Escape Room around June, 2014. All three of us are huge fans of adventure games, some of us starting way back when Infocom was in its golden years. A real life Escape the Room was a natural fit. Since then, we haven’t been able to stop!

Name: Dan Egnor
Website: http://www.escaperoomdirectory.com/
Reply: I’ve been interested in “puzzle hunts” and puzzle events in general for a long time. For several years, I’ve run http://www.puzzlehuntcalendar.com/ and with my puzzle team (the “Burninators”) play most of the local (San Francisco Bay Area) puzzle events. One day someone sent me a listing for a “Real Escape Game” run by SCRAP. I didn’t go right away, but I was curious, and eventually I start attending their events. When they opened Escape from the Mysterious Room locally, a bunch of us had to try it out!

We escaped by the skin of our teeth and it was an amazing experience.

For a while, as far as I knew “escape room” was just something this one SCRAP company did; I didn’t know there was an international scene! But then suddenly last year a whole pile of escape rooms started opening locally. I had the idea of organizing an “escape room crawl” where I got 10 friends together and we did all the local escape rooms (except the SCRAP rooms which we’d already done) in one day. That meant going to six different rooms, which was a long day (around 10am-9pm, including travel and breaks) but it was an amazing time.

Already several new rooms have opened in the area and we’re considering another “crawl”. And whenever I visit a city I make sure to do the local escape rooms. I dream of going to a major hub like Toronto, London, or Budapest and having a huge escape room holiday! [Essa: This is something I dream of too. I wonder how many other room escape bloggers share this feeling too?]

Anyway, since escape rooms are permanent(ish) installations they don’t fit the format of puzzlehuntcalendar.com, but I wanted to catalog them so made a quick directory listing which hopefully complements some of the other directories at Intervirals and elsewhere. I had no idea I would find hundreds and hundreds of rooms worldwide, with more opening every day.

Name: Chris M. Dickson
Website: Exit Games UK, http://www.exitgames.co.uk/
Reply: The first thing I ever wrote about room escapes dates back to April 2013 – see chris.dreamwidth.org/24796.html – but from context presumably I had read about their existence in countries outside the UK before then (maybe weeks before, maybe months before). I have long been interested in spectactular puzzle games and events, dating back to at least 1999, so I’ve long kept an eye out for what might be possible and dreamt about getting to play them myself some day.

Name: J.
Website: http://escapingsg.wordpress.com/
Reply: In January 2012, I happened to see Singapore’s first Real Escape Game installment mentioned in one of those ‘interesting things to do this weekend’ articles in a local magazine. The concept seemed intriguing, so I bought tickets… and have been hooked ever since. Escape rooms took a while longer to get to Singapore, and it was only in July 2013 that I tried my first room escape, after it was featured in the local newspapers.

I’ve always loved puzzles, whether they are mathematical ones or murder mysteries, so I guess it was pretty natural that I’d end up liking room escapes. I think they’re especially fun thanks to the added dimension of interactive, physical aspects, and the need for teamwork. People often complain that Singapore’s a boring place with not much to do, but room escapes provide a great alternative when you’re tired of the usual cafes, movies or shopping malls.

Footnote: As several responses were received back from fellow bloggers, check out tomorrow’s blog {PART TWO link} to read about the inspiration behind other room escape blogs including Escape Games Review (Canada), Escape Room Sydney (Australia), QMSM (United Kingdom), Escman League (Malaysia), Escape Game France (France), Room Escape Artist (USA) and Escape Reviewer (Canada).

Feel free to share how you discovered the concept of room escapes in the comments below.

Essa 🙂


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3 thoughts on “A history of room escapes – the origins of room escape bloggers and their inspirations – Part One

  1. […] Everyone has their own story about how they first discovered the concept of room escapes and each story is interesting and unique as the individuals themselves. From driving past a room escape location, travelling to room escape hubs such as Canada, Singapore, Budapest and Malaysia, being inspired by The Crystal Maze tv series or being interested in board games/video games/logic puzzles. Here’s part two of what inspired some room escape bloggers to start writing. Catchup on part one here. […]

  2. Errol February 18, 2015 at 2:19 am Reply

    Good grief, I didn’t realize there were so many bloggers as well! ^_^

    • Essa February 18, 2015 at 12:35 pm Reply

      There’s plenty of room escape bloggers out there now 😀 Thanks for participating Errol!

      Essa 🙂

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