The Escape Game, or Jeu d’Evasion in French, is a game that can take many forms, in very different universes.
The oldest of them is undoubtedly the labyrinth: a game created thousands of years ago in Egypt (originally to serve as a burial ground for the pharaohs), it was particularly prized by the nobility and other notables in Europe for its intellectual stimulation and for the setting it offered. Indeed, most of the labyrinths were then realized in the form of vegetal walls within splendid gardens adorning the European palaces. One of the most famous is the labyrinth at the Palace of Versailles.
The link with the Escape Game is quite obvious: it’s all about being voluntarily locked in a place, and trying to get out. And today, you don’t need to have royal blood to do this.
After a leap in time and space, here we are at the beginning of the 20th century in London, where the first “Murder Parties” were created in prestigious hotels. These games inspired by detective novels and strongly resembling life-size Cluedos gather the bourgeoisie of the time.
The goal: to find the murderer after examining the various clues present at the scene of the crime and after exchanging information with the other players, each of whom knew only a small part of the story.
Again, the link with Escapes Games is quite obvious: gathering clues scattered in a given place in order to find a solution to a given problem, all under the cover of another identity, that must remind you something.
In the same vein, the rise of role-playing games on boards in the second half of the 20th century confirms the public’s interest in immersing themselves in out-of-this-world stories under the guise of a fictional character. Everyone could then pretend to be a troll, a fairy or an elf, and live unusual adventures with their friends.
Then comes the modern era, the era of video games, of VR, a whole new way to immerse yourself in another world. Pirates, knights, aliens, nothing is too gargantuan for this new sector, which allows an entire generation of gamers to escape from their daily lives. Nothing seems to be able to compete with this sector in terms of immersion.
But among FPS (first person shooters), RPGs (role playing games) or simulation games, one game will directly inspire the creation of Escape Games. It is Crimson Room, a “Point&click” type game, where you have to search a room for clues by clicking with your mouse.
This game inspired Takao Kato, who created the very first indoor immersion game (“The Real Escape Game”) as we know it today. Scenario, puzzles, game master: everything is there.
“I wondered why interesting things didn’t happen in my life, like they did in books…” – Takao Kato (* “I wondered why interesting things didn’t happen in my life, like they did in books…” – Takao Kato)
The success is immediate and colossal: within a few years, the Escape Game has conquered the world. There are now more than 12,000 locations, including nearly 1,000 in France.
The SCRAP company created by Takao Kato will conquer the United States, while the Parapark company is taking over Europe, first in Hungary, then in the surrounding countries. The founders of Parapark also launched a well-known brand in France: HintHunt.
With the ever-increasing development of video games and VR, Escape Games are becoming more modern every day and if you don’t know where to start, you can take a look here: Top 15 des meilleurs Escape Games à Paris (escapegame.fr)