10 Things You’ll See in Escape Games
They sound so ordinary, don’t they? Room escape games. There’s a locked door and you need to find a way to open it. Ha, easy! Too bad everybody locks their doors with elaborate mechanisms and stumbling into a dark room means you go blind. If you’ve ever played a point and click room escape game like Cube Escape: Theater or The Watchers’ Chamber, you might have seen some of the following.
Some of them spin, some have keypads, some just have plain old clickable numbers. No matter what they look like your goal remains the same: enter the correct code to proceed. If you’re like the rest of us you’ll try guessing the code a few times before giving up and solving the puzzle like a real person. No cheating!
There’s something in the fireplace
Too bad you can’t reach it, not with those fumbly hands of yours. Oh, sure, you can see it just fine, and it looks like there’s enough room to drive a truck beside it. But to get that item, you’ll need some sort of grabby utensil. It’s probably in the kitchen behind the cookie jar, where most of us store grabby things.
This room is too dark
In escape games it’s impossible to do anything in a dark room except poke around for a light switch. If that carried over into the real world, going to the bathroom in the middle of the night would be an epic quest of lighting lanterns and refilling them with oil cans you found in the shed. Let’s keep it in the games.
Regular keys exist in the room escape realm, you see them all the time. There are also keys shaped like triangles and leaves and burritos, and they’re all color coded so you know which lock they belong to. Seriously, can we get these in real life?
Puzzle locks for ordinary doors
Escape games love to seal off perfectly ordinary rooms with crazy locking mechanisms. This would be a catastrophic failure out in our world. Imagine nipping the store for some milk and getting stuck in the snow for an hour because you can’t solve the sliding block puzzle on your front door. Just crawl through a window.
Important items under the bed
Most real world beds have nothing underneath them except dust bunnies and that one sock that’s been missing for a month. But in escape games, that’s where you find keys, puzzle pieces, and so much more. Also, don’t forget to move the pillow to see what’s under there. Bet it’s another vital clue!
Strategically placed rugs
Have you ever spilled something on the floor and just thrown a rug over it to pretend it’s not there? Every house in every escape game is inhabited by someone who does that. They also write important information on the floor, then cover it up with a tasteful area rug. Just because you live in the warped reality of escape games doesn’t mean you can’t have good interior decorating sensibilities.
Clocks never work
Have you ever seen a working clock in a room escape game? Ok, a few do exist, but more often than not those clockwork gizmos are frozen in place. Turning them to the correct time will unlock some sort of secret, which is far more exciting than making an annoying chime every hour. Not as practical, but who cares?!
Vines and cobwebs
Vines, cobwebs, grass, bits of string. These things might as well be concrete walls in the room escape world. The last item on your list is just visible behind a tangle of vines. You can’t just take it, though. Where’s the fun in that? Instead, go find something sharp. Didn’t you leave a pair of garden shears by the toilet?
You’ve got mail!
If there’s a mailbox, there’s something important inside. Nevermind the bills or the credit card offers, you need that hammer to open the back door of the mansion!
Written by JohnB, who has been kicking around the indie and browser gaming worlds since 1865. John currently lives in a hut atop a frozen lake where he tweets things about games, books, writing, and occasionally, cookies: @itsamejohn