The origins of the escape room game are rooted in the adventure games of the 80s and 90s, but the story began in 2004 when a Japanese man, Toshimitsu Takagi, created a point-and-click video game, called Crimson Room. Following this game, several similar games with a similar gameplay were born. This new genre was called “escape the room”, and had a specific concept: players poke around a room with the aim to get out of there by looking for clues and solving puzzles.
Takao Kato and The Real Escape Game
Some years later, in 2007, another escape game, this time a real one, was launched in the Silicon Valley area of the USA. This escape room game was created by a group of system programmers under the management of Takao Kato and SCRAP Publishing. Kato developed the concept of “real escape games”, but these were more like events with hidden clues and puzzles in bars and clubs and slightly resembled what we call an escape game these days. Subsequently, Kato’s idea became successful, and he even created a unique brand around it. “The Real Escape Game”, as he calls it, still operates today, and it is also found in several cities in Japan and China.
In 2011, ParaPark, the first Hungarian escape game opened – some sources consider this venue to be the first real escape room game in the world. Attila Gyurkovics, the inventor of ParaPark, also found inspiration in video games. At MindQuest, we are very proud that our escape game was only the second one in Hungary, after ParaPark, therefore we were one of the first to build and run an escape game business. The idea was so successful that in the following years it spread widely across the country, and also across the world. Hungary is still considered the capital of escape rooms, and many escape rooms around the world were built by Hungarian experts, including by ourselves.
The Cradle: The Hungarian Escape Room Business Scene
These escape games became so popular that this type of experience is usually associated with Hungary, and even the first Escape Game franchises in the UK and other Western countries were connected to the Hungarian escape room business experts. We understand that the expansion of escape rooms and the immense growth in popularity across Europe is linked to Hungarians, as we really know how to build and run an escape room business.
The escape room game has come a long way. In the beginning, the escape room puzzles were mostly mechanical and consisted of opening locks and finding hidden objects but now, electronics and detailed engineering plays a huge role in modern escape room technology. Besides the original concept, there are even mobile versions, where buses or trucks are transformed into escape rooms.
What Is the Secret of this success?
It’s obviously the so-called “flow state”. It is a psychological term that refers to that mental state when you are as heavily involved in an activity that you only focus on that and time and the outside world seem to recede. The Hungarian-American psychologist, Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, was the first to name it so. While the concept of “flow” in scientific form derives from him, this state of mind has been known for thousands of years as it is similar to the mental state experienced during meditation. This feeling gives the players such an intense and unique experience and adventure, unlike anything else.