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The simplest definition can be formulated as follows: «it is like a computer game, but real». Briefly, the main task of the participants of the quest is to get out of the room for a limited time (usually 60 minutes), finding all the necessary hidden objects, keys and secrets, solving various puzzles and tasks requiring cleverness, logic and teamwork.
Quests are gaining momentum and are becoming an increasingly popular form of entertainment in Russia. Join us, choose a quest and make your escape! In part, you can get to know about it in article What is an escape rooms. But to find out what the quest really is is possible only from own experience.
The fact that nowadays escapes are very popular (and not only virtual, but also real ones) is indisputable. But what exactly made them so popular? After all, a whole direction of the entertainment industry has crystallized out of several successful computer games with its history and traditions. How could quests so quickly win the universal love in different countries?
In our today's article, we will try to find answers to these questions. We have to return to a couple of decades ago, in the early 90's: this time is rightfully considered the era of the birth of quests (escape rooms).
An adventure game is often referred to as "quest" or "room escape". Now the word "quest" ("escape") has become completely independent. It is suitable for referring to almost any game story, where the hero finds himself in a situation that is non-standard for his usual life - whether in the virtual or real world.
As for the quests in reality, there are many varieties: they can take place indoors or outdoors, be short or stretched in time, limited to one room or scattered across several countries.
The popular modern term Escape the room was introduced only in 2001 after the release of the game "MOTAS". As a separate genre, it was formed and became widely known due to the worldwide success of the Crimson Room (2004) online game by the Japanese developer Toshimitsu Takagi.
In the Crimson Room scenario, the protagonist wakes up from a hangover in a strange red room. The door is locked. There are several items in the room: a bed, a nightstand, a music center, a saucer, a window. To get out, the player needs to open the door. But in order to get to this stage, you'll have to find the 13 hidden items and understand the relationship between them. An important specific feature of the format is the spatial circular movement of the view of the room in several planes.
Escape game (quest) as a kind of computer game appeared in the early 70's. The ancestor of quests is a text game called Colossal Cave Adventure, created in the era of the PDP-10. Its author, a passionate caver and admirer of the Dungeons&Dragons table game, William Crowther, actually created the first sample of the "interactive narrative."
In the game itself it was necessary to explore the endless labyrinths of the Colossal Cave (it has a real prototype - the Bedquilt cave in Kentucky), wandering around in search of treasure and, of course, a way out of the cave.
In Russia, virtual quests became known somewhat later, in particular, thanks to the popular games of this format named: Full Throttle (1995), The Neverhood (1996), Larry 7 (1996), Ace Ventura (1996), Broken Sword II: The Smoking Mirror (1997) and others.
There are several versions of the conversion of the "escape room" format into real life. According to one of them, the Japanese pioneered in this area: either a writer from Kyoto named Takao Kato in 2006-2007 or Toshimitsu Takagi (he created a fairly simple format of 1-2 puzzles for 5-10 minutes, which is still popular in Japan).
According to another version, the fathers of escape rooms were Europeans from Romania and Amsterdam, where from the same year 2007 "escape rooms" (based on apartments or hostels) began to function, the format "escape within an hour" - with a very primitive entourage and simple puzzles (they function nowadays in the same form, enjoying popularity).
According to the third version, it was a group of enthusiasts who worked as programmers in the Silicon Valley (USA). They built an attraction called Origin (it was a detective format based on the stories of Agatha Christie).
Although in fact, other countries can also be called as fathers of quests. For example, England, with its most popular attraction London Dungeon (1974), or even France, to be exact, the world famous Fort Boyard television game (1990).
Today, quests and escape rooms exist in more than 60 countries around the world. Beijing and Budapest became the first major centers with a large selection of rooms. In December 2013, the "Escape room" format got to Moscow.
This kind of entertainment has gained popularity with us surprisingly fast. Now United States occupies one of a leading place in the development of the escape game industry: over 3000 escape game have been opened across all the country. Currently there are some cities with an amount more than 300 escape rooms, which makes a US is the world leader in this indicator.
Escape rooms now differ in many forms and formats: thematic boundaries are constantly expanding, new approaches are emerging. If we consider the most popular format of quests - "escape from the room" - then there are 4 main directions:
The simplest form is "escape the room" or "classic escape". This is an ordinary room, more often an office, an apartment, a cellar or a hotel room, filled with simple puzzles, combination locks and tasks without any common binding legend, or combined into a detective script.
Sometimes the creators of the escape room include a certain through story and the corresponding (for example - "cine") entourage. Here the players will play into a stylized room, with decorations and costumes, various technological devices, as well as more complex and interesting story moves that help to immerse players in the history of the quest. This is the next step in escape room wisdom - the format of "quest in reality".
If you add an actor (or several actors) to the escape room for better "feelings" of the script, then this is already a "performance".
And if the format is close to the "Fort Boyard" TV game, where players have to use strength and agility, then this genre is called "action".More information about these and other types of quests you can find in the article Which genres of quests are right for you?