Explaining “What Is An Escape Room” To Others


It may be hard to believe but there are still people out there that not only haven’t tried the escape room experience, but haven’t even hard about them.  When your out of town friends come and visit and ask what there is to do around town and you suggest going to an escape room, you may get some odd looks.

For some people it may take a bit of an explanation to convince them to try something new.  And when that “something new” is as unusual as an escape room can be, you had better create one heck of a persuading argument.

Think of the reality of the situation.  You are going to spend the evening paying good money to have a stranger lock you into an elaborately decorated room with a bunch of other strangers where none of you know how to get out without having to solve a lot of puzzles to find the way out.

Yes, this sounds crazy when you just spit out the facts but so does riding the roller coaster at a theme park.  You’re spending the day paying a lot of money to stand in line for hours at a time so you can board a small train that makes dangerous twists and turns and scares you nearly to death for two minutes.  Then you stand in another hour long line to do it again.  When compared to that, an escape room sounds sane.

However, facts can be misleading and get in the way of the message.  Like the roller coaster, you’re not in any real danger, it’s the illusion of danger that induces the thrill from that first big drop to every high speed turn afterward.  The escape room experience is a adventure that grants you the illusion of danger and crisis.

You can imagine yourself as an actor playing out the scenes in your favorite movie.  Action, thriller, horror… no actor is in any real danger.  They are there playing their part and adding to the scene with the full knowledge that if there were any real hazard someone would be yelling “cut” long before any emergency came up.

Unlike the actor in a scene, you don’t have the script in the escape room.  You get to play this out with a more realistic experience as the character in the film and less like the actor.  There are people that play tabletop fantasy games and that gave rise to a subgroup that took it one step further and created the live action role playing (LARP) where they dress up as their fantasy and act out the game.

An escape room is somewhat like that, and depending on the genre of escape you choose, can be very much like that.  But to simply explain what the escape room is to someone who has never heard of it, tell them to imagine they are living out a scene in a Sherlock Holmes adventure, locked in a room and you have to find a way out before time runs out.

If all else fails, just drag them along and have them join in when they feel comfortable.  After just a few moments, they’ll get it and probably drag you along to the next one.

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