The History of Escape Rooms

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Escape rooms as we know them began as point and click adventure games where a user would interact with a virtual locked room.

Inside the room were a number of items, keys, and tools that the user could interact with. By clicking on and discovering these items they would be able to solve different clues and puzzle that would lead them to their escape.

If you have done a live escape room like ours at The Room Lisle, this format probably sounds familiar to you! But that is not all there is to the escape room concept. Escape rooms have a long and rich history:


Behind Closed Doors Escape Game

Even before the point and click escape games, there were text adventure versions.

The first of its kind was called “Behind Closed Doors” and was released in 1988. This type of escape room game exists purely through word prompts and descriptions such as “you find yourself in a locked room…”

These games contained no graphics or maps, so players often kept notebooks to keep track of clues and areas in the “room”. The explored the room and discovered the way out by using text commands.

Even though the goal of “Behind Closed Doors” was to “escape the room”, the phrase escape room wasn’t used for that, or any text adventure game.


The term “Escape Room” first appeared to describe an early point and click graphics game called The Mystery of Time And Space (commonly known as MOTAS). The term first appeared with the game in 1989 and it stuck! Now “escape room” can be used to describe all types of games, both virtual and real life.


The first live-action escape room was created in Japan in June of 2008. It was called the Red (or Scarlet) Room and was transformed from a video game of the same name.

Once this room was created, the trend of “real” escape rooms took off. It spread all over Asia, then onto Europe, Canada and eventually made its first appearance in the United States.

While the medium has evolved, the concept remains very similar through each iteration: You, the player, are locked in a room and must find a way to escape!


Open The Room Lisle

The first US escape room was opened in Los Angeles in December of 2012 by the same company that developed the first one in Japan. Not long after, The Room Lisle opened its doors in the Chicago suburbs, making its debut with The Einstein Room in May of 2015.

The Escape Room continues to gain popularity throughout the world, and it is no surprise why.It is an excellent team building and family activity, not to mention it’s just plain fun! 

History of Escape Rooms

Fans of the original games get an opportunity to live out their real-life video game dreams, but there is no background experience required.

Every room presents a new set of challenges for you to solve and conquer! You can see what all the fuss is about by planning a visit to The Room Lisle! 

Book your room now!


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