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Examining the escape room trend!!

The owners of Escape Rooms are capitalizing on the popularity of escaping.  Business owners are finding ways to make their escape rooms more difficult, more fun, and most importantly make them feel authentic.

For many kids today, playing video games is a common pastime.

Whether it’s with friends or alone, gaming has become second nature to these kids who have grown up in an environment where technology is at their fingertips.  Many children can play hours upon hours of Grand Theft Auto or Halo without becoming bored. They live for that feeling of excitement when they see that ‘continue’ screen after dying in the game!  Now though, there is a new trend sweeping the nation among this age group: Entrapment.

Escape rooms are exactly what they sound like- an escape room.  Unlike ‘traditional’ escape games that require the player to find keys to open locked doors, these new rooms give players a challenge that is quite similar to their favorite game: Clue .  With only one hour to try and solve cleverly crafted clues, teams of friends or family members will race against time as they try desperately to unlock the mystery before time runs out!

And it’s not just children who are trying this new pastime.

Many adults across the nation are doing it too!  “I’ve never played video games in my life.” Says local businessman Tom Reid. “But I heard about how this place was with teenagers so I drove my sister here so she could have some fun.”

In fact, this new trend is causing a huge uproar among parents.  While they love the fact that their children are doing something other than playing games on screens, many feel as if it’s too dangerous to be allowed in the United States. “These rooms look horrifying. It looks like something right out of Saw or Hostel! I can’t believe people allow this.” Says one mother from Buffalo Grove. While these rooms certainly aren’t for everyone, there is no denying that escape rooms have plenty of fans across America and will continue to grow as long as people enjoy escaping from dangerous situations! And with more and more escape room locations popping up every day it’s easy to see just how big the escape room craze has become.

Businesses all across Chicago and even within our very own Fox River Mall are opening up these new entertainment venues.  One local business, Breakout Games (located on Level 3 of Fox River Mall), recently opened their doors to allow players a chance to try out one of their escape rooms. After receiving award nominations for ‘Best Escape Room’ in 2014 and 2015 I was excited to see what they had in store!

As I walked into Breakout Games my eyes grew wide with excitement as I saw themed escape rooms taking up an entire wall: A bank heist, a serial killer’s house, and even Dracula’s castle! Wanting to find out more I asked the employees behind the counter about what they offer and how it works. “We offer three different escape rooms that each have their own theme and story to follow as you play through them.” Explained one of the managers, Alex Weiss. “Each room is like a new adventure and we make sure to design each one with a unique challenge for players.”

So I signed my brother and in-law up for an hour locked in ‘Containment’ (the bank heist-themed room).  After setting up our team name (Team Vipers) we were led into a small lobby where we read over some rules before entering our separate waiting rooms.  I decided that, since there was only two of us, I would be on the lookout for clues while my brother-in-law did some of the more physical aspects of the game.  Once we were given a green light, we entered our room and got started!

Our goal was to steal sensitive information from City Hall and escape before they could figure out who was behind it.

But unlike other escape games where you need to find keys or use your brainpower to solve puzzles, in ‘Containment’ there is no need for such things.  Instead, players must use their strength and speed (and sometimes luck) to open locked compartments and finally make their way out once they’ve found what they came for.

I was exhausted by the end of our hour.  Crawling on my hands and knees up to reach compartments, breaking things with a hammer in order to get into certain spots and desperately trying not to mess anything up for fear of setting off an alarm that would end the game turned out to be a ton of fun!

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