A group of people are locked in a room and escape depends on their skills, logic and cooperation. The escape room is a new form of active relaxation, with increasing popularity in Slovakia as well.
“Escape rooms have reached the attention of the public and they are a part of entertainment, like go-karts or paintball,” said Bohuš Zach, owner of the Zazito franchise operating several escape rooms.
The first escape rooms began operating in Japan in 2007. It was inspired by the computer game Crimson Room, where the player had to use the environment in order to escape.
Escape rooms in Bratislava
- BRATISLAVA CITY CENTRE
- BrainTeaseLava: escape room and city game
- Room Number 13 (three different escape rooms)
- OTHER PARTS OF THE CITY
- Team Up (entertainment park with 20 tasks/rooms)
- Divná basa (Strange jail)
- Escape Room (two escape rooms)
- PanIQ Room
- Questum (four escape rooms)
- The Room (three escape rooms)
- X-quest (three escape rooms)
- ESCAPE ROOMS ONLY IN SLOVAK
- Divná Bratislava
- Divné Dúpä
- Divný Dom
- Escape Zone
- ESCAPE ROOMS CURRENTLY UNDER RECONSTRUCTION
- Crime Case
- Projekt XCAPE
The phenomenon arrived to Slovakia three years ago.
“I’m from Russia, where escape rooms enjoy a high degree of popularity,” said Boris Nemirovsky, owner of the Questum escape room. He liked the idea and in 2016 decided to open his own premises in Bratislava.
The standard is set by bigger escape rooms and international franchises.
“From time to time there appear smaller rooms started by students, which are cheaper but often with great atmosphere and ideas,” said Zach.
Emil Haas wanted a change in his career.
“I wasn’t fulfilled by my work and wanted to try something different,” said 26-year old Emil Haas, owner of Brainteaselava and running an escape room on Obchodná Street and a city game outside in the city. He was always interested in games so he decided to try an escape room.
The founders of the Team Up entertainment park wanted to offer the youth something different.
“Young people won’t do with the gym, cinema or beer,” said Ivan Bízik, one of the Team Up founders in Bratislava.
Today, people spend a lot of time at working at a fast pace, so they have higher requirements for entertainment and free time.
“We offer emotional and physical relaxation, laughter, endorphins and after everything also a talk at the bar,” Bízik explained.
Each escape room has a story, represented by the environment. It can be a prison, a haunted mansion or settings from a movie.
“We were inspired by the Russian rooms, trying to choose themes we liked the most,” said Nemirovsky.
Questum offers four games: The Secret of Nicola Tesla, The Ghost Stories of Communism, The Curse of the Maya, and The Mysterious Laboratory.
“We tried to design the games in an adventurous way, including travelling in time and space,” said Nemirovsky.
“They are suitable for all ages and each of the games can be experienced in four languages - Slovak, English, German and Russian,” Nemirovsky specified.
Brainteaselava tried to look further than the usual zombies or murderers.
“We wanted to offer an original theme, which would have some added value,” said Haas. “We considered the ŠtB [former secret police during the communist regime] interesting and at the same time it can teach visitors something about Slovak history.
The tasks were created by his team, using experience from childhood summer camps.
For Team Up the main inspiration came from the TV programmes Fort Boyard and Ninja Factor. Along with colleagues they compiled the tasks and games to be entertaining and at the same time enforce team cooperation.
“Beating the obstacles or fulfilment of a task must test the abilities of team members,” Bízik said.
Skills and character
Escape rooms recall psychological experiments, for example that of Milgram, who tested the human psyche under external control. People are naturally competitive and in an escape room they assume various roles, revealing some of their character.
“As an objective observer I see whether the team is well-coordinated,” said Bízik.
The game requires logical thinking, acumen, intuition and mutual communication between the members and it often truthfully reflects the atmosphere in the working team or family.
Indeed, only one of the tasks in Team Up meets the characteristics of a traditional escape room. The other 19 tasks include a climbing wall, avoiding laser beams, shooting and mini-golf.
“We also have a task requiring an ear for music,” added Bízik, pointing out that the game offers the opportunity for various kinds of talented people to contribute.
Good observation skills are very important, because every detail can be relevant. The solution to the tasks does not require any special skills – it is enough to use common sense and combine things that have some causal relationship. The participants must also be communicative, in order to exchange information.
Escape room at a school in Bratislava
Teachers and students at the ZŠ Tilgnerova elementary school in Bratislava had a creative idea converting the atrium in the middle of the school building into an escape room.
“I liked the idea of an escape room and also wanted to create something special at our school – something the children could be proud of,” said teacher Katarína Kresáňová. “I have always been a playful type, participating in scout organisations and organizing summer camps.”
Experience from these activities helped her to design the room in cooperation with the pupils, who collected tasks and activities.
“An escape room offers challenges and also adventure, fun, the use of creativity, cooperation, logic or learning without cramming,” Kresáňová explained.
Students have already acquired life experience from the preparation process, as they had to work with finances, organize the team and solve problems on the go.
Escape room tourism in Bratislava
The majority of visitors to Brainteaselava are Slovak but the number of foreign visitors is also significant. An escape room is suitable for all type of visitors.
“We had groups of 12-year olds along with pensioners who succeeded in solving the room,” said Haas.
In terms of nationalities they are mainly Austrians or British, but they had people from all over the world, including New Zealand, Chile and Korea, said Haas. He pointed out that it is a great opportunity for team buildings, family afternoons, tourism or an original date.
The Questum escape room has many foreign customers as well.
Nemirovsky pointed out a new type of escape room tourism, where people travel around multiple countries trying escape rooms.
“In the future, we would like to take the quality of the escape rooms to a higher level,” said Nemirovsky.
They are planning to open a fifth room in order to offer an even better experience for visitors.
The Brainteaselava team is also considering further projects, because in this trade one can never be sure and the operation of an entertainment park requires constant innovation.
“The public interest in escape rooms is growing but the offer is also high,” said Haas. Someone wanting to survive on the market must come up with the best experience and the use of modern technologies also includes high-tech effects.
“This August we are planning to open a new escape game called Jánošík, named after the folk hero,” Haas hinted.
Over at Team Up they are just finishing two new game areas that will be available for the public at the end of August, while more new games are planned for November 2017.
“We are also finishing up a system that automatically takes photos and sends them to our customers’ emails,” said Bízik.
Last year Zazito added an escape room trailer, which is used for festivals and events.
“Now we already have escape rooms on wheels and we also offer games for team buildings and company events,” added Zach, who thinks that after some time their development will settle and a new game will appear only from time to time. “However, there will always be enough opportunities to have fun for the people who have fallen for this phenomenon.”
28. Aug 2017 at 12:00 | Erik Rédli