Theater of Illusion and Puzzles: What Makes an Escape Room Stand Out?

by Borderstan Sponsor August 8, 2016 at 1:00 pm 1 Comment

The escape game craze has been doing formidably in Washington D.C., as locals love to try challenging puzzles one after another. However, not all escape rooms are created equal, and with such a new phenomena, people do not always know what to expect from the genre. Weeding out the best from the rest is not an easy task, but watching out for a few clues can certainly help!

Escape rooms all have a special place in our heart because they give us a free pass to do what we all secretly love: play!

At the heart of a good escape game lies a strong element of interactivity, or as Alex Gerasimov, owner of Insomnia Escape Room D.C. puts it, “we see people go crazy in our rooms when they get to interact with their environments. Levers, secret buttons, props, they love it! People are so used to playing on their devices, that funnily enough, actually touching objects feels different!”

The best escape rooms in town all make it a point to have an engaging atmospheres too. There is always a theme, or basic story, to an escape game. Be it zombies or mysterious murders, creating the right atmosphere is tougher than it seems!

“We believe in having real props. Plastic and cardboard might look good on the silver screen, but in real life, objects got to have gravitas. You have to go real, otherwise it will not feel right. Bookshelves, clothes, even prop guns, everything! A well-built escape room will make you feel like you are traveling back in time to the prohibition era, or you are entering a magical wonderland, and not just pretending to be there,” says Gerasimov.

But interactivity and atmosphere alone cannot be the sole driving forces behind the design of an escape game. “The most important factor is always the design. Game-mechanics, the logic behind it. You have to make it a challenge, but not too difficult at the same time.”

Gerasimov even draws parallel with other, much older forms of entertainment: “keeping the audience engaged for an hour, building excitement levels, and ramping up for a big reveal is vital. It’s art, really. All one big magic act! In this sense escape rooms are theater and magic, redressed as puzzles! We [the room designers] are the directors, and you are both the actors and the audience!”

Insomnia stands by these values, offering complete historic immersion. Their prohibition era room, for example, presents a uniquely local escape room D.C. experience making it a must for all escape game lovers!

The preceding post was written and sponsored by Insomnia Escape Room D.C.


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