Origins

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The origins of Escape Room Games are often disputed with various countries laying claim to being the first or the pioneers.

What we do know for sure is that in 1980 the BBC ran a television show called The Adventure Game [1] in which the contestants had to complete a number of tasks in order to achieve their overall goal.[2]

In 1987 Children's Show Knightmare saw contestants attempting to complete a quest within a fantasy medieval environment, traversing a large dungeon and using their wits to overcome puzzles, obstacles and the unusual characters they meet along the journey.[3]

It is considered to be a precursor to The Crystal Maze [4] which ran on Channel 4 from 1990[5]

The idea of being confined in a place and needed to solve challenges to escape form part of John Wilson's 1988 text adventure Behind Closed Doors, in which the player is trapped inside a restroom. These interactive fiction ideas have been around since the 1960's [6]

The there are electronic type escape games including The Myst series, first released in 1993 and 'Escape The Room' was a term originated in 2001 in the MOTAS game. [7]

The genre of electronic Escape Games was cemented in 2004 by the Japanese "Crimson Room" game by Toshimitsu Takagi, which has spread throughout the internet and you can still play the game with its infuriatingly simple layout but devilish hidden clues.[8]

In 2002 the interactive fiction community hosted a One Room Game Competition - a live event not dissimilar to an Escape Game and in 2004 Wits opened in Massachusetts which strongly resembles an escape game adventure.

In 2005 UK Magic Company 'Dynamic FX' was producing 'The Day of Secrets' a corporate version of a Live Escape Game.

In 2007 SCRAP opened in Japan and totally labelled their game 'Real Escape Game' (REG) and shortly afterwards Live Action Escape Room Games appeared in Budapest, Hungary, other parts of Asia and the USA

The beginning of 2013 saw the UK's first Escape Rooms Opening.

The circle was completed as well when The Crystal Maze opened as a 'live event' and as a result the television show was recommissioned and appeared back on Channel 4 in 2017.

As of Jan 2019 there are over 1300 games to chose from in the UK [9]

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