Escape the room

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Escape the room, also known as room escape or escape game, is a subgenre of point-and-click adventure game which requires a player to escape from imprisonment by exploiting their surroundings. The room usually consists of a locked door, objects to manipulate, and hidden clues or secret compartments. The player must use the objects to interact with other items in the room to reveal a way to escape. [1] [2] Escape the room games bore out of freeware browser games created in Adobe Flash, but have since become most popular as mobile games for iOS, and Android. [3] [4] Some examples include "Crimson Room", "Viridian Room", "MOTAS", and "Droom". The popularity of these online games has led to the development of real-life escape rooms all around the world.

Freeware is software, most often proprietary, that is distributed at no monetary cost to the end user. There is no agreed-upon set of rights, license, or EULA that defines freeware unambiguously; every publisher defines its own rules for the freeware it offers. For instance, modification, redistribution by third parties, and reverse engineering without the author's permission are permitted by some publishers but prohibited by others. Unlike with free and open-source software, which are also often distributed free of charge, the source code for freeware is typically not made available. Freeware may be intended to benefit its producer by, for example, encouraging sales of a more capable version, as in the freemium and shareware business models.

Browser game game that is played using a browser

A browser game is a video game that is played via the World Wide Web using a web browser. Browser games can be run using standard web technologies or browser plug-ins. The creation of such games usually involves use of standard web technologies as a frontend and other technologies to provide a backend. Browser games include all video game genres and can be single-player or multiplayer. Browser games are also portable and can be played on multiple different devices, web browsers, and operating systems.

Adobe Flash is a deprecated multimedia software platform used for production of animations, rich Internet applications, desktop applications, mobile applications, mobile games and embedded web browser video players. Flash displays text, vector graphics and raster graphics to provide animations, video games and applications. It allows streaming of audio and video, and can capture mouse, keyboard, microphone and camera input. Related development platform Adobe AIR continues to be supported.


Elements of escape the room games can be found in other adventure games, such as Myst and Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors , where a complete puzzle is solved by evaluating the elements within a single room. [5] [6] [7] Games like The Room may also present virtual puzzle boxes that are solved in a similar manner to escape games, by finding out how to open the puzzle box using visual clues on the box and around the environment.

<i>Myst</i> Video game

Myst is a graphic adventure puzzle video game designed by the Miller brothers, Robyn and Rand. It was developed by Cyan, Inc., published by Brøderbund, and released as a PC game for the Macintosh platform in 1993. In the game, players are told that a special book has caused them to travel to Myst Island. There, players solve puzzles and, by doing so, travel to four other worlds, known as Ages, which reveal the backstory of the game's characters.

<i>Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors</i> 2009 Japanese visual novel video game.

Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors is an adventure video game developed by Chunsoft. It is the first installment in the Zero Escape series, and was released in Japan in 2009 and in North America in 2010 for the Nintendo DS. The story follows Junpei, a college student who is abducted along with eight other people and forced to play the "Nonary Game," which puts its participants in a life-or-death situation, to escape from a sinking cruise liner. The gameplay alternates between two types of sections: Escape sections, where the player completes puzzles in escape-the-room scenarios; and Novel sections, where the player reads the game's narrative and makes decisions that influence the story toward one of six different endings.

<i>The Room</i> (2012 video game) 2012 video game

The Room is a puzzle video game developed by Fireproof Games. The game was originally developed for the iOS platform and released in September 2012. The Android version debuted as part of a Humble Bundle in March 2013 and was subsequently released on Google Play. A free expansion for the title was released in August 2013. An enhanced version of the game was released for Microsoft Windows in July 2014, and for the Nintendo Switch in October 2018.


The basic gameplay mechanism of having the player trapped in a single location dates back at least to John Wilson's 1988 text adventure Behind Closed Doors, [8] in which the player is trapped inside a restroom. [9] However, the growth of escape the room games is believed to be tied to the popularity of the Myst series, first released in 1993 by Cyan Worlds, which created puzzles across pre-rendered computer-generated environments, requiring players to look for clues across the landscape. The first game was a landmark title, helping to popularize the use of CD-ROM technology for computers, but as they continued to develop sequels with more ambitious landscapes, alongside several other developers spurred by Myst's success, adventure game sales flattened. [9] Rand Miller, one of Cyan's co-founders, described Myst as "too big" and "too hard to top". [10] Vox writer Alex Abad-Santos stated that while adventure games with more open exploration may be "too aimless", the appeal of escape room games is in their immediacy and constricted world. [9]

Cyan Worlds video game development company

Cyan Inc., also known as Cyan Worlds Inc., is an American video game developer, founded as Cyan Productions by brothers Rand and Robyn Miller in 1987, and best known as the creators of the Myst series. After Myst and its sequel Riven sold several million copies each, Cyan went on to create the massively multiplayer online adventure, Uru, which was cancelled and re-opened several times. After the departure of brother Robyn Miller from "Cyan, Inc.," a second company, "Cyan Worlds, Inc.," was started. Both companies are located in Mead, Washington, just outside Spokane.

<i>Vox</i> (website) American news and opinion website owned by Vox Media

Vox is an American news and opinion website owned by Vox Media. The website was founded in April 2014 by Ezra Klein, Matt Yglesias and Melissa Bell, and is noted for its concept of explanatory journalism.

The term originated in 2001 from the MOTAS game, [11] though there are many older examples of the point-and-click variation, such as Noctropolis, and even earlier examples from the text adventure canon. The genre was further popularized in 2004 by the Japanese "Crimson Room" game by Toshimitsu Takagi, which has spread throughout the internet and can be seen on many gaming websites. [12] [9]

<i>MOTAS</i> 2001 online graphic adventure video game

The Mystery Of Time And Space is a popular online graphic adventure game created by Jan Albartus (LOGAN). The game was produced using Macromedia Flash and was an early influential example of the escape the room genre. There are 20 levels of varying length, some consisting of a single room and others consisting of a large network of rooms. Though advertised as a constant work-in-progress with "new levels coming soon," MOTAS has not been updated since May 2008.

<i>Noctropolis</i> 1994 video game

Noctropolis is a 1994 MS-DOS third-person adventure game by Flashpoint Productions and published by Electronic Arts. In the game, the player assumes the role of the character Peter Grey, a lonely bookstore owner who winds up in the world of his favorite comic book. Grey soon discovers that he is destined to assume the role of his former comic book hero.

Internet Global system of connected computer networks

The Internet is the global system of interconnected computer networks that use the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to link devices worldwide. It is a network of networks that consists of private, public, academic, business, and government networks of local to global scope, linked by a broad array of electronic, wireless, and optical networking technologies. The Internet carries a vast range of information resources and services, such as the inter-linked hypertext documents and applications of the World Wide Web (WWW), electronic mail, telephony, and file sharing.

While a single-location game may not be set inside a room, and while the player's goal may not necessarily be escape, in 2002 the interactive fiction community first hosted a One Room Game Competition (attracting six entries, all in Italian), and in 2006 Riff Conner wrote Another Goddamn Escape the Locked Room Game, indicating that the genre is well known in the contemporary interactive fiction hobbyist community.


Most escape-the-room games play from a first-person perspective, where the player must click on objects to interact with them. Most room escape games offer only token plots, usually a short cut scene consisting only of text to establish how the player got there, and sometimes another when the game is finished. [5] [1] [2] Room escapes usually have a minimalistic interface, ambient soundtrack, and no non-player characters; these elements can enhance the gamer's sense of isolation. [3]

A non-player character (NPC) is any character in a game which is not controlled by a player. The term originated in traditional tabletop role-playing games, where it applies to characters controlled by the gamemaster or referee, rather than another player. In video games, this usually means a character controlled by the computer via algorithmic, predetermined or responsive behavior, but not necessarily true artificial intelligence.

During gameplay the player must click on objects to either interact with them or add them to their inventory. As the player passes the mouse over the game screen, usually the mouse cursor will change shape (e.g. to a hand or different kind of arrow) if the item under the cursor can be used, opened, manipulated, collected, searched or (if an exit) followed, but some games do not provide such hints to the player. If the object cannot be collected, opened, used or manipulated, the player is usually assumed to be inspecting it; in most cases, the player will see a brief text description. [2] The player must collect items and use them with various objects (or other items in the inventory) to find a way to get out of the room. Some games require the player to solve several rooms in succession. Some require significant amounts of pixel hunting (tedious searching for a small clickable area), which can frustrate players. [3] For example, when reviewing the PSP game "Crimson Room Reverse" (a collection of room escape games that were originally free online flash games), critic Brad Gallaway said, "Key items are often hidden behind other items, and the player has no way of knowing these areas exist or that it's possible to search there unless the cursor falls in a very specific location, sometimes a "hot spot" as small as a few pixels." [13]

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Puzzle video games make up a unique genre of video games that emphasize puzzle solving. The types of puzzles can test many problem-solving skills including logic, pattern recognition, sequence solving, and word completion. The player may have unlimited time or infinite attempts to solve a puzzle, or there may be a time limit, or simpler puzzles may be made difficult by having to complete them in real time, as in Tetris.

<i>Riven</i> 1997 video game

Riven is a puzzle adventure video game. It is the sequel to Myst and second in the Myst series of games. Developed by Cyan Worlds, it was initially published by Red Orb Entertainment, a division of Brøderbund. Riven was distributed on five compact discs and released on October 31, 1997, in North America; it was later released on a single DVD-ROM, with improved audio and a fourteen-minute "making-of" video. In addition to the PC versions, Riven has been ported to several other platforms.

<i>Myst III: Exile</i> Third title in the Myst series of graphic adventure puzzle video games

Myst III: Exile is the third title in the Myst series of graphic adventure puzzle video games. While the preceding games in the series, Myst and Riven, were produced by Cyan Worlds and published by Brøderbund, Exile was developed by Presto Studios and published by Ubi Soft. The game was released on four compact discs for both Mac OS and Microsoft Windows on May 8, 2001; versions for the Xbox and PlayStation 2 were released in late 2002.

<i>Myst IV: Revelation</i> Adventure video game in the Myst series by Ubisoft

Myst IV: Revelation is an adventure video game, the fourth installment in the Myst series, developed and published by Ubisoft. Revelation was the first game in the series to be initially released on a DVD-ROM format at launch; a multiple CD-ROM version was not produced as it would have taken twelve compact discs to fit the data. Riven had been released as a DVD-ROM, but only after its first 5-cd version. Exile was later ported to DVD-ROM for the 10th Anniversary collection. Like Myst III: Exile, Revelation combines pre-rendered graphics with digital video, but also features real-time 3D effects for added realism.

<i>Myst V: End of Ages</i> video game

Myst V: End of Ages is a 2005 adventure video game, the fifth installment in the Myst series. The game was developed by Cyan Worlds, published by Ubisoft, and released for Macintosh and Windows PC platforms on September 20, 2005. As in previous games in the series, End of Ages's gameplay consists of navigating worlds known as "Ages" via the use of special books and items which act as portals. On each Age, the player solves puzzles and discovers story clues hidden in the Ages or written down in diaries and journals. The player's actions in the game decide the fate of the ancient D'ni civilization.

<i>Urban Runner</i> computer game developed by Coktel Vision and published by Sierra On-line

Urban Runner is a French produced computer game developed by Coktel Vision and published by Sierra On-line.

<i>Dark Fall II: Lights Out</i> 2004 video game

Dark Fall II: Lights Out is a 2004 first-person psychological horror/adventure game developed by British studio XXv Productions and published by The Adventure Company for Microsoft Windows. In 2009, Darkling Room released a director's cut of the game in a limited "Pins & Needles" edition. Later that same year, Iceberg Interactive released the Director's Cut in both a stand-alone edition and as part of Adventures in Terror: British Horror Collection. The original version of the game was made available on Steam in December 2013. Lights Out is an indirect sequel to the 2002 game Dark Fall, telling an unrelated story, although it does feature a recurring minor character. A third Dark Fall game, Dark Fall: Lost Souls, was released in 2009.

<i>Nightfall</i> (video game) 1998 video game

Nightfall is an American computer game released in 1998 by Altor Systems, Inc. Although claimed to be the first real-time 3D first person adventure game, there are earlier examples of 3D first person adventure games, however, such as Total Eclipse, released in 1988. It employs a three dimensional world and sprites for objects such as vases and rats, as well as true 3D objects such as blocks and statues. Essentially, the gameplay is a combination of 3D first-person shooters such as Doom, the gameplay found in Myst, with some additional elements.

<i>Lighthouse: The Dark Being</i> adventure game developed and released by Sierra On-Line

Lighthouse: The Dark Being is an adventure game developed and released by Sierra On-Line. It was the first and only game designed by Sierra On-Line art director Jon Bock.

<i>Sherlock Holmes</i> (video game series)

Sherlock Holmes is a series of adventure games developed by Frogwares. The game is based on Arthur Conan Doyle's The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, featuring the detective Sherlock Holmes and his companion Dr. John H. Watson. While the franchise is based on The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, each game has an original plot and storyline.

<i>Dracula 3: The Path of the Dragon</i> video game

Dracula 3: The Path of the Dragon is a 2008 point-and-click adventure video game developed by Kheops Studio for Microsoft Windows, and published by MC2 France under their Microïds label in Europe and Encore in North America. In 2010, an abridged version of the game developed by Tetraedge Games and published by Chillingo was released in a three-part episodic form for iOS. The full version of the game was ported to OS X in 2010, published by Coladia. Also in 2010, the three-part iOS version was made available for PC as the Dracula Series. In 2014, the abridged iOS version was made available as a single game on Steam.

<i>Juggernaut</i> (video game) 1999 video game

Juggernaut, known in Japan as Juggernaut: Senritsu no Tobira, is a horror-themed adventure game published by Jaleco in 1999 for the PlayStation. It was developed by the Japanese studios Will and Tonkin House. The game play is similar to that of the popular adventure game Myst and featured FMV sequences.

In video-game culture an adventure game is a video game in which the player assumes the role of a protagonist in an interactive story driven by exploration and puzzle-solving. The genre's focus on story allows it to draw heavily from other narrative-based media, literature and film, encompassing a wide variety of literary genres. Many adventure games are designed for a single player, since this emphasis on story and character makes multi-player design difficult. Colossal Cave Adventure is identified as the first such adventure game, first released in 1976, while other notable adventure game series include Zork, King's Quest, The Secret of Monkey Island, and Myst.

<i>Carmen Sandiego Adventures in Math</i>

Carmen Sandiego Adventures in Math is a series of five games released in 2011/2012 for the Wii, and is part of the Carmen Sandiego franchise. The style of the games are reminiscent of comic books. The 5-part series were the first English language console games from the Carmen Sandiego franchise since The Secret of the Stolen Drums. These "short, educational detective adventures" are "only available as a download through the Nintendo Wii Shop". The games were developed by Gamelion Studios, and published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. They could take up to 6 players, and required 600 Wii points. Maths topics included in the games include: Symmetry, Identifying angles, Graphing coordinates on a grid, Logic puzzles, Working with fractions, Solving equations, and Tangrams. The games are designed for elementary learners across grades 3–5.

Escape room real life escape game

An escape room, also known as an "escape game", is a live­‐action team­‐based game where players cooperatively discover clues, solve puzzles, and accomplish tasks in one or more rooms in order to progress and accomplish a specific goal in a limited amount of time.

<i>Zero Escape</i> A series of adventure video games

Zero Escape, formerly released in Japan as Kyokugen Dasshutsu, is a series of adventure games directed and written by Kotaro Uchikoshi. The first two entries in the series, Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors (2009) and Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward (2012), were developed by Spike Chunsoft, while the third entry, Zero Time Dilemma (2016), was developed by Chime. Zero Escape is published by Spike Chunsoft in Japan, while Aksys Games and Rising Star Games have published the games for North America and Europe respectively.


ClueJob is a real-life escape the room game that was started on January 1, 2015 in Limassol, Cyprus by Filios Sazeides and Panayiotis Mavrokefalos. It was the first real-life escape the room game started in Cyprus.

The Eyes of Ara is a 2016 adventure game developed by the Brisbane-based, one-man independent games studio 100 Stones Interactive, founded by Ben Droste.


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  2. 1 2 3 Brown, Kristine (September 4, 2012). "Reading Escape from the Blue Room - Digital Rhetoric and New Media" . Retrieved 2013-01-08.
  3. 1 2 3 Alexander, Leigh (2013-01-25). "Could The Room's success predict a new trend?". Gamasutra . Retrieved 2013-03-23.
  4. Matthew Broderick (2018-08-31). "Where would you be wtihout your brain?".
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  6. Laura (January 10, 2010). "The Two Parts Of Extreme Escape: 9 Hours 9 People 9 Doors / Siliconera". Siliconera . Retrieved 2013-01-08. The first is the Escape Part. Here, you explore the rooms and use the DS touchscreen to examine everything in the room -– anything that could give you a hint on how to escape from the locked room. As you discover new things, the people with you will also give their input and provide you with more hints. Sometimes, you can also find usable items, which can be combined with other items for various purposes. Once you solve all the mysteries in the room, it is possible to unlock the door and escape.
  7. Hamilton, Kirk (2013-01-28). "I Spent Saturday Morning Solving Puzzles In The Belly Of A Naval Battleship". Kotaku . Retrieved 2013-03-23.
  8. World of Spectrum: Behind Closed Doors
  9. 1 2 3 4 Abad-Santos, Alex (October 26, 2016). "The strange appeal of escape the room games, explained". Vox . Retrieved October 29, 2018.
  10. Yoshida, Emily (September 24, 2013). "Lost to the Ages". Grantland . Retrieved October 29, 2018.
  11. Ransom-Wiley, James (2007-01-15). "New MOTAS levels to point and click thru". Joystiq . Retrieved 2007-12-14.
  12. "Inside Out Escape London". Retrieved 28 September 2016.
  13. Gallaway, Brad (January 7, 2010). "Crimson Room: Reverse Review / - Games. Culture. Criticism". Retrieved 2013-01-08.