In today’s world, the immersive experience can be intensely powerful. We see this attraction in everything from Disneyland rides to iMAX theaters to escape rooms. People are looking not just for new experiences but for new experiences that completely overtake the moment and allow imagination.
Why is this? There may be several reasons, actually. Allow us to philosophize briefly.
The first thought is obvious enough: technology has advanced to the point that immersive experiences ARE possible. Think of virtual reality, augmented reality, and everything you can do on your phone. New experiences are fun and exciting, and we want to indulge in them.
- Connection with other people
Immersive experiences offer the possibility of adventure and connection with other people. Imagine putting away your phone, not checking messages, having fun in a family activity. All that is possible in an escape room, where the stakes are low (you will get out, one way or another) but the possibility for fun is high.
- An impersonal challenge
People often enjoy a challenge, and escape rooms provide a challenge that isn’t dependent on anything personal. Again, the stakes are low – you aren’t trying to impress your new boss or make a big decision in personal life. You don’t have to stick to a daily routine or do things “just so”. You’re here to test your brain and think about something entirely different for a while. Escape rooms have the advantage of allowing you to use your imagination, even in wild and crazy ways. When a group of people join forces to imagine their way out of puzzling situations, the challenge and enjoyment become even greater!
- Create through your imagination
Related to the idea of a challenge is the creation of a new method, technique, possibility. There may be several ways to reach the answer to a puzzle and it’s your job to create those ways. This can be an intensely satisfying experience, especially when you’ve stretched your imagination to reach an answer.
- Improbable scenarios
Understandably, most of us won’t ever be locked in an abandoned building, be captured by the CIA, or have to disarm a nuclear device before it detonates. Whew! While any of those situations would be enormously stressful in real life, they create fun experiences they’re hypothetical. Your imagination knows they aren’t real but still gets the thrill of thinking through the challenges of each puzzle. And in the end, as #6 points out, each one is just a small(ish) problem.
- A small(ish) problem
The modern news cycle has made us more aware of disasters that happen around the world – and the cycle never shuts off. Even though we may not be living through earthquakes and mass migration and danger, we still feel some part of that pain. But when it seems like the whole world is going to hell in a handbasket, sometimes it’s nice to escape into an alternate scenario, a place where the biggest problem is how to flee your hotel room while hung over.
If you’re looking for a TLDR (too long didn’t read) summary, here it is: immersive experiences allow you to use your imagination and connect with people in a low-key way. Escape rooms are an accessible, easy way to get these experiences. What do you think – are there other reasons that escape rooms are so appealing? We’d love to hear any other possibilities!