Reality is a Game

Game thinking from Adam Clare

Tag: escape(Page 1 of 3)

A Framework For Understanding Escape Room Games

Puzzle in an escape room
I’m a fan of escape rooms and I keep finding myself writing about them (and bring trapped in them). First it was my book Escape the Game and now it’s chapter in a book on using games in education. Along with Markus Wiemker, and Errol Elumir, I co-authored an article on escape room games titled
Can you transform an unpleasant situation into a pleasant one?

In short, our conclusion is yes you can.

The article goes into more than just thoughts on using escape rooms in learning, we wanted to provide a way to think about and discuss escape rooms as they grow in popularity. We have created a potential framework for understanding escape rooms and discussing the puzzles found within them.

Dialogorientierung & spielerisches Lernen analog und digital
Here’s a short excerpt from what we wrote in Game Based Learning -English Dialog Orientation & playful learning analog and digital:

Puzzle Types in Escape Rooms
Puzzles can be categorized into two basic approaches: mental and physical.

A mental puzzle makes use of the player’s thinking skills and logic. In order to overcome the mental puzzle, the players must deduce, correlate, or decipher clues to arrive at an answer. This type of puzzle is cognitive.

A physical puzzle, sometimes known as a ‘task’ or a ‘twitch’ puzzle requires the manipulation of real world artifacts to overcome the challenge and get the reward. For example, a maze is a task based puzzle. There is no ‘trick’ in solving the maze, you just need to get to the exit. Crawling through a laser grid is another task based puzzle. These puzzles are usually used to eat up time or provide a challenge for people who do not like mental gymnastics.

These puzzle types can obviously be used in combination with one another. A cryptogram may take a while to deduce, however, once the answer key is figured out, it will also take a while to translate. Or possibly a puzzle is obscured by darkness so another player needs to generate light via a bicycle.

Lastly, there is one more type of puzzle which is the meta puzzle. Although not a separate type, this tends to be used as the final puzzle for an escape room. In a meta puzzle, the final answer is derived from solving previous puzzles. For example, let’s say as the players progress through the room, jigsaw puzzle pieces are found with every other puzzle solved. Once they have completed all the other puzzles do they get every jigsaw piece. This jigsaw is the meta puzzle and when put together, it will lead the way out.

From:
Escape Room Games
“Can you transform an unpleasant situation into a pleasant one?”

By: Markus Wiemker, Errol Elumir, Adam Clare

Which can be found in Game Based Learning – Dialogorientierung & spielerisches Lernen analog und digital. You can get the book here, or a PDF here.

If you’re interested in learning more about puzzle and escape rooms check out my book: Escape the Game.

Escape The Game: My Book On How To Make Escape Rooms

I wrote a book about how to make escape rooms. If you are thinking of opening an escape game or are wondering what goes on behind-the-scenes at an escape room this book is for you.

Escape the Game: how to make escape rooms

Escape the Game is all about how to make escape rooms. It goes beyond only design issues to the business issues that concern escape room creators based on the broad questions that have come my way as a consultant, game designer, and professor of game design.

I’ve worked on escape rooms and have blogged about them (On Designing Escape Games For The Real World and Tips on Designing Room Escape Games), so I figured it was about time I write out my thoughts in a more coherent manner. Thus, the book Escape the Game took shape.

Escape the Game cast of characters.

Escape the Game cast of characters.

I was inspired to write Escape the Game by playing escape rooms that made major, but easily fixed, game design mistakes. I hope to inspire designers to think holistically, to think about their escape rooms as more than the sum of their parts.

Escape the Game book cover

Get my book Escape the Game to find out even more ways to design your escape room.


Indeed, the first draft was just answers to questions that people have emailed me because of the popularity of my posts on designing escape rooms. Escape the Game is now more than that.

Escape the Game looks at the high-concept aspects of making escape games like issues around game flow. The later half of the book goes into aspects of making escape rooms that escape room owners wish they knew before they started; practical things like what to charge and legal issues unique to escape rooms.

I address the most common questions that people have about designing, making, and running escape rooms. I want anybody who designs puzzles and challenges to know that the mechanics are the message. If there is a disconnect between the mechanics of a puzzle and what you’re trying to convey to the players then it makes for a lacklustre play experience.

You can get a good idea of what’s in the book from the table of contents:

Get Escape the Game on Amazon now to learn how to make escape rooms!

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