[From February Issue 2013]
“Escape games” are popular now. They begin with you suddenly finding yourself locked up in a room. To escape within the time limit you have to decipher codes and find special items.
SCRAP Co., Ltd., the company behind “Real Escaping Game” has organized dozens of similar games within Japan and overseas. Participants go into a locked room full of clues. Though some people participate alone, it’s also possible for couples, groups of friends and other kinds of teams to play. Some teams are made up of family members from three generations, including grandparents, parents and children.
You can participate if you understand kanji taught in the upper grade of elementary school and possess general knowledge. You can also enjoy the game with others if you can understand a normal Japanese conversation. The most important ability is to be able to think creatively and to cooperate with your teammates.
Able to solve this difficult game that has an overall success rate of only 10%, NISHIMOTO Yukihiko recalls the excitement he felt during game play, “It is probably impossible for a single person to collect all the clues and solve the puzzle. I found myself cooperating with people who were in the same team, who I’d just met that day.”
“Real Escaping Game is like a club activity for adults,” says KATO Takao, representative of SCRAP Co., Ltd. Adults rarely get the chance to cooperate with teammates, or to celebrate their joy by punching the air when they reach their goal.
Recently, some companies use the game to encourage communication between coworkers as part of their employee training program. This is because many employees in large companies might only know each other by sight and not have actually spoken. The Real Escaping Game is becoming the most effective tool to break down the walls between them.
The Escape Game began life as a popular game for PCs around ten years ago. Later, with the rising popularity of smartphones, it became known as a game that can be enjoyed easily, anytime, anywhere, and now many escape game apps are being made.
“DOOORS,” which became the number one “free app/game app” in 25 countries is a simple escape game in which you have to continue solving puzzles in order to open the door and escape from the room you are locked in. Since all the clues are either pictorial or symbolic, language is not necessary, and this means that the game can be enjoyed by people from any country.
Game developer NONOYAMA Koji of 58 Works, has developed popular games singlehandedly. He says, “I’ve created other kinds of games than escape games, but 90% of my ratings and feedback are about escape games, so I feel these are the ones that really resonate with people.” Though 40% of registered players come from Japan, the rest are from other countries.
Text: TSUCHIYA Emi