During the horse and buggy days, the idea of entertainment was entirely different from the present times. People found delight in the simplest of things. Kids enjoyed playing tag in the scorching heat of the sun. The thought of attending a public skit performance and sitting in a circle listening to ancient moral stories kept everyone on their feet!
Although people still enjoy these things now, our relationship with technological entertainment has grown at a fast pace. It all started with the invention of Television, and now we have advanced to the point where we have our mini-TV screens in our back pockets! Now, all we have to do to watch a show occurring in some other part of the world is switch on our phones and perform a few clicks.
So, it is evident that our standards of quality entertainment have increased way off the bar! With technological advancements in Movie theatres, amusement centers, and the gaming realm we cannot imagine modern-day fun without electronic equipment.
The same goes for escape rooms! Technology has achieved a sky-high place of importance in the world of live escape entertainment. But before we dig into the use of creative tech to enhance the sensations of this entertainment form, let us see how escape rooms took a step into the world! Read on!
How Escape Rooms Began
Initially, escape games were a thing in the universe of online gaming. The goal required players to search for related clues, puzzles, and riddles to solve a mystery or move along an intricate plot to escape the trapped room.
In 2017, an imaginative Japanese decided to make a real-life version of the game. Undoubtedly, the room was loved by each and every diverse member of the audience. As a consequence of that, word spread, and now escape rooms are one of the most trending forms of entertainment in the US!
They were pretty simple in the beginning, with their single exits and limited lock-and-key concepts. But, with the growth of technology, the escape industry did not stand back in the mechanization of their rooms. Read further to know about the gadgets used in these rooms and how they impact your escape experience!
In scientific terms, light is just electromagnetic radiation that allows us to view objects. But in escape rooms, appropriate illumination can hide, reveal, and highlight clues and puzzles.
The color and type of lighting employed in the game can make a big difference too! For instance, red or dim lights in horror-themed escape rooms will incite a feeling of slight fear and anticipation in the players. Bright white LEDs or neon lights give sci-fi escape rooms a touch of the futuristic element.
And mellow yellow lamp lights give the room a mysterious or ancient vibe. Since escape rooms mainly run based on a theme and narrative, usage of the correct lighting makes a difference in the player’s state of mind.
Designers can also use black ultraviolet lights that pick up hidden clues or writings when the surrounding lights are switched off, to surprise and astonish the players!
Other lighting props include strobe lights and fairy lights that help in feeding the immersive theme of the room!
Isn’t that enlightening?
Camera and Sound
Every escape room has one or more surveillance cameras installed in them to track and observe the actions of the players. The game masters also use this facility to help players with hints when they feel stuck during a game.
In escape rooms, the props and lighting make up for the sense of visual entertainment. But, what about audio tech? Sound effects, music, and audio clues played via hidden speakers can also play a role in creating a multi-sensory experience for the players.
Especially when the escape room has a strong theme, like ancient tombs or movie replications, adding related theme music and sound effects increase the tension, alertness and immerses the players into the obscure plots! As long as the background music is not too catchy or distracting, they can be blended to build slow-burning intensity to keep players on the go!
Also, looking at your fellow team player freak out in response to a sudden creepy sound effect will surely make for an unforgettable and laughable memory!
Big or small, the main motive in every archetype of an escape room is to unlock the exit and escape! You cannot do that without the appropriate use of lock devices!
Most escape game designers like to keep it simple with the use of a simple lock and key. Although this is great for rooms with an age-old theme or house-like atmospheres as they contribute to the worn-out and abandoned feel of the place, they are pretty expected. So, escape artists have started to add in tech-based locks.
- Combination and digit-code locks
The best part of these types of locks is they require number codes or alphanumerical patterns to unlock. These codes could be the answer to an unsolved math puzzle or even a random number written on a prop in the room. Thus, it pushes players to go out of their way to thoroughly search the rooms and bring their brain to the action!
- Sensor-activated locks
Some game creators have raised the bar with the usage of locks with sensors that get triggered by light, vibration, or movement. Although these can get tricky, they surprise players as not everyone has sensor-activated stuff in their homes! These locks can open automatic doors or reveal a new set of puzzles while giving players their “wow” moment!
Automated Sliding Doors
These doors are usually found in escape rooms with multiple sub-rooms or secret doors. As mentioned before, they can be unlocked when a sensor-activated lock is triggered.
They can also function based on bar magnet tech, and be opened by the control system of the game when players complete a set of tasks.
These doors create a feeling of wonderment and shock among the escapers as it usually opens unexpectedly especially when the door is camouflaged or hidden amid the walls and props.
They snap players out of their focus and make them feel like Harry Potter when he unlocked the chamber of secrets!
The puzzles in an escape room are considered the crux of the game. If the puzzles are capable of keeping you hooked and alert, the escape room is a flourishing one.
The types of puzzle structure can broadly range from math, analogy, and riddle-based to electronic labyrinths, UV light mazes, and integrated drones too!
While we can all play escape puzzles and clue-based games on our phones and laptop devices, live escape rooms have a way of overwhelming us when simple technology is employed most creatively. The touchscreen code locks and interactive word clues on props can keep team players wracking their brains.
They also stimulate a sense of achievement in the players when they finally crack the code, making them feel like masterminds!
Some examples of these creative tech puzzles are navigating through 3D mazes using a controller and connecting wires in the right way to turn on the lights or reveal a new division of the room.
Doesn’t that sound fun?
Props that can move?
Props in a room in a birthday party can be placed to hide clues or merely to play the role of a red herring and distract players from their gameplay. However, with the coming-of-age technology, they can also induce feelings like panic and shock when utilized according to the theme.
Hydraulic robots or simple mechanics that move in response to touch or movement will startle the players, or give them something to laugh about! For example, a toy doll that can roll its eyes occasionally or a wooden maze that makes changes without external interference will surely make the players bewildered and curious!
Other Immersive Elements
- Fog machines – If you are engrossed in a particular puzzle and a fog forms out of nowhere, you will surely be either shocked or amazed! Some escape designers use programmed fog machines that heat a mixture of glycerine and water to generate a cloudy atmosphere in the room.
- Cold or hot winds – Escape rooms can also feature machines or hidden table fans to produce a gush of wind as players move forward along the story. It keeps the story and atmosphere as realistic as possible and makes players feel like they have been transported to a different world for 60 minutes!
- Laser tripwires – If you are an action movie freak, you must have seen some of these lasers used as a security equipment in movies. Spy or detective-themed escape rooms can implement laser technology to produce laser wire puzzles! They also keep players active while they are busy carefully creeping through them to bag a diamond or exit a pathway!
Although technological gadgets can make a huge difference in making the room a mysterious and immersive enigma, they don’t have to be compulsorily added to every room.
An escape room’s success depends on the creativity of the plotline and its ability to keep us on the edge of our seats. There is a fine line between a well-designed escape masterpiece and a room loaded with puzzles that don’t make sense. Therefore, prior planning and discussion are vital.
Experience the world of immersive tech and escape entertainment in your nearest escape room brand!
Author Bio: Charlotte Lin is a content creator at escaperoom.com. She’s a passionate young woman, mother to an amazing nine-year-old, and an avid reader. Over the years, writing has helped her explore and understand the world as well as her own self. She loves to travel, meet new people, and spend quality time with her daughter. You can find her on LinkedIn.