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History of Escape Rooms

The interactive escape rooms we know and love today, whether virtual or real-life, would merely be an idea locked away in a curious brain if John Wilson hadn’t shared it with the world in 1988. He’s the coined pioneer behind the history of escape rooms.

Wilson is known for inventing what can be attributed as the first text-based escape game. His game required players to enter text commands on their computers to escape a restroom. Fortunately, the guy had a sense of humor.

Soon after, the concept of graphics-based escape games took over. If you’re a true thrill-seeker, you may have already played the first and most distinguished game of the online escape room craze: Crimson Room by Toshimitsu Takagi.


Escape room fanatics have a deep respect for Takagi. They even use his name to refer to the escape room game phenomenon: takagism.

Online point-and-click style games grew popular as technology advanced. In these games, players must interact with the environment and solve puzzles or riddles that are built into objects and secret compartments around the room. There’s typically no time limit to escape these online
traps, so when the first live escape rooms were created, that was something that needed to be kept in mind. 

From Mind to Matter

The first real-life escape rooms were introduced by a man named Takao Kato in 2007. Kato had just founded a company called Scrap Entertainment Inc. and been on a mission to create something that would excite the world! Then, one day he saw someone playing an online escape room game and knew that he had hit a goldmine.

He was so passionate about his idea, but unlike the online games that escape room fans knew up to that point, real-world factors, like time restraints and locations had to be considered. Spots were limited and they had to make it so that multiple sessions of players could all be included in the fun. 

When he and his company, Scrap, hosted the first Real Escape Room Event, they put so much thought and intricacies into the game that only 6 out of the 150 players were able to escape! This was a family night go-to for those that were lucky enough to have one in town, and tickets were selling out like crazy.  Funny enough, Scrap’s Real Escape Room Events could be found at local clubs and bars! 

Once they realized how big the live escape room industry could get if more people had access to them, they knew they had to start crossing borders. It wasn’t long before Scrap took advantage of the opportunity to introduce their escape room business to Europe. And to no surprise, they were a hit there too. 

Escape to America

Scrap brought their thriving business to America in 2012 after having success with thrill-seekers in Asia and Europe. Inevitably, escape rooms quickly grew popular in America. It was only a year later that the first American-owned live escape room, Puzzle Break, opened in Seattle, Washington.

As of 2018, there are over 2,300 escape rooms in the U.S. alone; and as recorded in 2019, there are well over 10,000 globally.

The founders of Escape Room San Antonio have created an establishment their escape-room ancestors would be honored by. They pay respect to the legacy by staying true to the roots of the culture while amplifying the challenges and thrill of the experience. Escape Room San Antonio invites you to decipher the codes, puzzles, and riddles and try to escape one of their
4 perplexing rooms in San Antonio, Texas! Are you up for the challenge?

Experience Escape Room San Antonio

Book one of our 6 escape rooms and experience the ultimate escape adventure – there’s something for everyone. We can’t wait to see you!