Don’t let the name fool you.
Originating in Japan circa 2007, escape rooms aren’t as confining as their name might at first imply.
Each room is a game. And each game is comprised of “a series of puzzles, riddles, and clues used to solve a [simulated] theme,” explained Jaren Hawkins, manager of Room Escape Williamsburg. “Each game lasts 60 minutes and is played by a team [ranging in size] from two to eight people.”
The goal? To beat the clock.
Also known as “room escapes, escape games, exit games, adventure rooms, or quests,” industry experts from the website Room Escape Artist, note that “whatever you call them, they’re all referencing the same general concept.”
“It’s different. It’s not a theme park, or going to the movies,” Hawkins said. “It’s kind of everything in one: you challenge your brain, spend time with friends, bond, and have fun.”
Despite being a relatively new industry, the number of escape rooms in the U.S. has skyrocketed over the past four years, increasing from only 24 rooms in early 2014 to more than 2,000 at present, according to an industry growth study completed by REA.
But isn’t being locked in a room unsafe?
“We don’t lock you in the room,” Hawkins said. “We can’t legally, because of fire codes.”
REA’s site reiterates that point adding, “theses games are safe. The majority of them aren’t even remotely intimidating [and] there will be an emergency exit.”
Escape rooms are “sort of the cousins of film and theater,” Hawkins added. “It’s set design. There’s a story, different props, and a stage manager who runs everything.”
The manager offers helpful hints when you’re stuck, while also keeping track of the time.
Room Escape Williamsburg is at 1215 Mount Vernon Ave. and is open Wednesday through Monda. It offers different afternoon and evening hours throughout the week. Games cost $27 per person, per hour and appointments are strongly encouraged.
For more information on Room Escape Williamsburg, click here.
For more information on Escape Rooms in the U.S., visit Room Escape Artist.