A history of room escapes – terminology and the different names that a room escape is called


Room escape. Escape room. Exit Game. Real life room escape. Escape game … are some of the different names that refer to the overarching idea of a team of people being locked in a room, then searching through their environment in order to find clues and a way out of a room before the time limit runs out.

Let’s have a closer look at the different names a room escape is called.

Early room escape pioneers
To start, the Wikipedia page that covers this idea is called “Real Life Room Escape”, while other notable sources include SCRAP Entertainment calling their concept a “Real Escape Room” and “Real Escape Game”, while Parapark in Hungary refers to it as a “Room Escape Game”.

Other early room escape pioneers refer to the room escape concept in their own ways as well. For example, HintHunt named it “live escape game”, while AdventureRooms calls it “real life escape game” and finally Exitgames Romania which uses the term “live escape game”.

An interesting summary to draw from this data is that the early pioneers of the concept generally made reference to it as an “escape game”. Would this fact remain the same if other early room escape pioneer websites were looked into?

The name a room escape business trades under
A different viewpoint one could take is to look at what the owners of room escape places actually call their business. A business owner would usually consider that the name of their business actually describes the service they are offering, for example: Kentucky Fried Chicken, the fast food business. In addition a business owner may name their business in a certain way to attract business from their competitors who may use the same room escape term.

To get access to a large sample set of data on the business names of room escape companies – Intervirals looked at Escape Room Directory’s data that is available via a Google spreadsheet. From here, a standard set of room escape terms that a business may use was developed and searched for in the spreadsheet. Any duplicate business names were removed before the final results.

Keywords (plus number of references on Escape Room Directory)
– Room Escape (14 results)
– Escape Room (35 results)
– Real Life Room Escape (0 results)
– Live Escape (2 results)
– Live Escape Game (0 results)
– Exit Game (3 results)
– Escape Game (10 results)

While the term “escape game” is popular among room escape operators to name their business, it comes in third place behind the other terms, room escape (second place) and escape room (first place).

A concept that is of particular interest to this blog: Do particular geographical areas in the world favour a particular room escape term? I think the answer to this is yes. However this is probably a large concept to look into and to save time probably only major room escape hubs (Japan, Budapest, Canada, Singapore etc.) should be looked into. If anyone ever decides to look into this, please let me know.

Googling keywords
The final viewpoint to consider for this blog post is to see how many results arise from inputting into Google our particular set of room escape keywords. Note: One must consider that the returned results may actually not be relevant to the concept of an actual physical room escape place that one can visit.

Keywords (with Google results)
– Room Escape (26.9 million results)
– Escape Room (299 million results)
– Real Life Room Escape (33.1 million results)
– Live Escape (81.3 million results)
– Live Escape Game (69.8 million results)
– Exit Game (223 million results)
– Escape Game (245 million results)

Who wins as a result? It looks like a close tie between the terms “escape room” and “escape game”.

What are your thoughts? Feel free to leave a comment.

Essa 🙂


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3 thoughts on “A history of room escapes – terminology and the different names that a room escape is called

  1. EscapeSF February 19, 2015 at 7:39 am Reply

    Great research, but there are many “room escape” apps and online games which are not relevant to our real life room escape games.


    • Essa February 19, 2015 at 1:59 pm Reply

      Agree with you there – many of the Google results might not be applicable to real life room escape games.

      Essa 🙂

  2. […] Intervirals also wrote an article on escape room names and terminology that you might find interesting. […]

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