Escape Game – History

This is a bit of an aside – but I’ve included it in case you’re interested in the basic history.

Crimson Room


The videogame version of Escape Rooms started out as sub-genre of the Point and Click Adventure games popular on home computers in the 1990s.  While there are earlier examples, the 2004 flash game ‘Crimson Room’ is cited as popularising the genre.  Typically these games stripped away the story and theme of the point and click adventures right back to a set of puzzles in a confined space (typically rooms in an apartment block).

HintHunt Deep Submarine (not the original London game)


There were a number of attempts to take this concept away from the screen and into the real world.  Takao Kato was the first success story launching the ‘Real Escape Game’ in Japan in 2007.  It’s impossible to say whether this influenced others – but the first in Europe were in Budapest.  Attila Gyurkovics launched Parapark in 2011.  He was influenced by a similar digital game genre – Hidden Object games.  Budapest had the catalyst of incredibly cheap property prices (with even cheaper cellars) ideal for these real world games.  It wasn’t long before this idea was duplicated and spread to other cities with London’s first Escape Game HintHunt (also of Hungarian origin) opening in 2012.

Crystal Maze Reboot (Channel 4 2017)


In parallel to this have been a number of real-world experiences popularised by the success of the TV Game Show Series ‘The Crystal Maze’ from the early 1990s.  These have had varying degrees of success over the years.  The recent reboot of Crystal Maze Live Experience launched in 2016 has tapped into the ‘Escape Room’ mind-set and been incredibly successful being booked out for months in advance and quickly growing to a second venue.  I should add that this isn’t the first attempt at a Crystal maze live experience.  An earlier version, ‘The Cyberdrome Crystal Maze’ existed from 1992-2010 with 6 venues around the world (5 in the UK) – usually in Family Entertainment Centres alongside a bowling alley.

Cyberdrome Crystal Maze (1992 – 2010)


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