What if you only had 60 minutes to _escape from this podcast_? To unravel the puzzles of _Crimson Room_ or the (surprisingly) lucrative business of locking people in a room? Well, you'd probably fail (but so would we). Listen in as we talk about fans of an even more puzzling experience: Escape Rooms!
Next week, we wrap up the season with a Nickscast favourite (and a special guest) as we talk about fans... of the _Legend of Zelda_ series!
## Episode outline
### Fandom Facts
**Origins and history:**
Escape rooms, also known as _room escape_, _escape games_, _escape the room_, and so on, are physical adventure games where participants are required to solve a variety of puzzles using riddles, clues, and hints contained in the room within a fixed time limit. Sometimes, the rooms are thematically linked (e.g. a museum heist) or they can be a series of abstract puzzles with no linking theme.
The concept of an escape room is heavily inspired by the similarly named video game genre where players are required to escape a room by pointing and clicking around a room to exploit their surroundings. The earliest example of this style of game is likely the 1988 text adventure, _Behind Closed Doors_, where the player has to escape a restroom, but some better known examples might include _MOTAS_ (Mystery Of Time And Space, 2001), _Crimson Room_ (2004), and _Viridian Room_.
Arguably... fans of escape rooms are fans of this genre of video games, but that remains to be seen!
The first escape room was created in Japan by SCRAP in 2007 and the concept later spread to other parts of Asia, then Europe... then, the world! There are now almost 2000 escape rooms in the United States _alone_.
The concept of an escape room didn't really start to solidify until _Crimson Room_ was released as Adobe Flash freeware... which conveniently was released in 2004 (the first year where Google Trends data is available).
Examining that data, it is clear that the fandom is [the most active it has ever been](https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=all&q=Escape%20Room). While there was some spike in interest in the term around 2007, it has been on a meteoric rise ever since approximately 2015.
**Size of Fandom:**
Since escape rooms are more business-oriented, it's a bit harder to dig into the size of the fandom. Still, we have a few metrics we can use as rough estimators:
- The `escaperooms` subreddit has almost 2000 subscribers
- There are almost 2000 escape room companies in the US
- If the average group size is 4, and each room has at least one group a week, that would be about 416 000 fans (this is likely a grossly conservative estimate)
Complicating matters is that participation does not imply fandom.
[// Most in one city: 182 (Beijing, China); top non-asian city, Budapest (63). Top Canadian: Markam (36), Top US: LA (23)]: #
From a variety of different surveys, we can get a rough idea of the kinds of folks who participate in escape rooms. We managed to find three surveys: Escape [Room Demographic Survey](https://escaperoomplayer.com/Escape_Room_Demographics.html) (~600 respondents), [Peeking Behind the Locked Door: A Survey of Escape Room Facilities](http://scottnicholson.com/pubs/erfacwhite.pdf) (~175 respondents), and [2017 Escape Room Enthusiast Survey](https://thecodex.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/2017EscapeRoomEnthusiastSurveyV1.1.pdf) (~250 respondents).
Broadly speaking, these appear to be the demographics:
- **Gender:** Roughly equal representation of male / female genders
- **Age:** Largest category is folks between ages of 26-30. The majority of respondents are under 35 (approximately two-thirds; more or less consistent between surveys)
- Most groups who participate are mixed gender (70-80%)
- Largest group (48%) identify as ambiverts; 36% as extraverts, and 20% as introverts
[// most escape rooms only have one location ]: #
[// TOO MUCH FUCKING DATA; I COULD PORE OVER THIS SHIT ]: #
### [Last Episode's](http://fanthropological.com/e/55-board-game-geeks/) Famous Last Words
What is the biggest escape room? (e.g. is there a house where its entirety is an escape room)
The first escape room was inspired by _red room simulator_.
[// Not quite, but close enough ]: #
Is there a survival horror escape room (where you think you're going to die)?
Is there a super realistic museum heist?
[// Museum? Yes. Survival horror? Kind of? Trap House (LA); No way out in mississauga ]: #
[// "NOWAYOUT's missions are much more physically engaging - you'll have to crawl, run, jump and climb obstacles, and be forced to use certain elements in the rooms to survive. The missions are also not one-dimensional, which means every single decision you make will affect the final outcome." "13 Sedah Ave. is about a dare gone completely wrong - you and your friends break into the allegedly haunted house only to find out that there's nothing haunted about the house at all. You've been trapped into a game conceived by a sick mastermind, and you must work together to escape the house before it's too late." ]: #
> the 999 DS/3DS games :) and there's going to be a Detective Conan themed escape room at Universal Studios Japan next year as part of their Cool Japan promo
[// Looked it up, couldn't find any details on the escape room... it ties into an upcoming movie ]: #
[// Development of the game began after Uchikoshi joined Chunsoft to write a visual novel for them that could reach a wider audience; Uchikoshi suggested adding puzzle elements that are integrated with the game's story. The inspiration for the story was the question of where inspiration comes from; while researching it, Uchikoshi came across Rupert Sheldrake's morphic resonance hypothesis, which became the main theme of the game. The music was composed by Shinji Hosoe, while the characters were designed by Kinu Nishimura. The localization was handled by Aksys Games; they worked by the philosophy of keeping true to the spirit of the original Japanese version, opting for natural-sounding English rather than following the original's exact wording. Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors was positively received, with reviewers praising the story, writing and puzzles, but criticizing the game's tone and how the player is required to re-do the puzzles every time they play through the game. Reception of the game's presentation was mixed. The Japanese release was a commercial failure, but the game sold better than expected for the genre in the United States. ]: #
### The Verdict
**G is in. Looking for more! (But no horror stuff; kthx)**
**T is in.**
**Z is in... Until someone makes a Twin Peaks escape room like the black lodge. Then he is out.**
### This week's spotlight
[// Geek and sundry ]: #
[// Chris Evans auctioned himself off to raise money for Christopher's Haven, Boston based chaity that provides young cancer patients with fully furnished apartments near hospitals they are treated in. The winner would be flown to Boston, hotel, eat with Chris and ESCAPE A ROOM (maybe); ]: #
[// As part of Metro Vancouver's Homelessness Action Week, Union Gospel Mission is trying to show the public how difficult it is to escape homelessness. "There are innumerable obstacles and barriers that pop up that keep our homeless British Columbians on the street," said Jeremy Hunka, spokesperson for Union Gospel Mission. ]: #
**[Room Escape Divas](http://www.inversegenius.com/roomescapedivas/)**
The Room Escape Divas is a podcast about escape rooms by Mike Yuan, Ruby Yuan, Manda Whitney, and Errol Elumir. Errol also runs [The Codex](https://thecodex.ca/) which is a blog about escape rooms (which is also where you can find the [2017 Escape Room Enthusiast Survey](https://thecodex.ca/2017-escape-room-enthusiast-survey/)).
[// Plugs go here ]: #
### Famous Last Words
This week's famous last words around *next week's* fandom, Zelda fans!
What is the oldest fan-made timeline?
When did people start caring about what the Zelda timeline was?
Is there a band that only has instruments from the Zelda games?
## Where can you find us online?
We are everywhere! Most notably though, we like to hang out in a few places on social media:
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## What is "Fanthropological"?
How did you read this far without asking this question?!
Fanthropological is an anthropological (ish) podcast where we bring the fan's-eye view to you! Each week, we take a look at a different fandom, dig up interesting background, trivia, and history, and try to get to why it is that people are a fan. We also try to highlight good causes related to that fandom, and find interesting things that fans have created to share those to the world. Each episode is about an hour. Ish.
## Who is "The Nickscast"?
*We* are the Nickscast! Three products of late-80s / early-90s pop culture who love exploring fandom and everything geek ... who also happen to have been best buddies since high school, and all happen to be named Nick. Yes, we are super creative. Dare we say, the most creative.
We are Nick Green, Nick Terwoord, and Nick Zacharewicz: We started the Nickscast as a labour of love, and as a place to entertain and to discuss our love of fans and fandom, and all that is shiny and interesting in that realm. It's what lead us to start our first podcast, our satellite podcasts, Fanthropological, and so much more.
We want to help others learn more about different fandoms, and to create empathy with other fans: We dream of a world where other fans aren't "those Weird-o's", but just folks with different tastes. A world where fandom is full of discourse and analysis, and there are plenty of tools and resources to help. Fans building communities to do good in the world. *Because everyone's a fan.*
- [Wikipedia - Escape the Room](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Escape_the_room)
- [Wikipedia - Escape Room](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Escape_room)
- [Wikipedia - Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nine_Hours,_Nine_Persons,_Nine_Doors)
- [LockAcademy - History and Origin of Escape Games](https://lockacademy.com/en/history-and-origin-of-escape-games/)
- [Google Trends - Escape Room](https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=all&q=Escape%20Room)
- [Escaperoomplayer.com - Room Demographic Survey](https://escaperoomplayer.com/Escape_Room_Demographics.html)
- [Scott Nicholson - Peeking Behind the Locked Door: A Survey of Escape Room Facilities](http://scottnicholson.com/pubs/erfacwhite.pdf)
- [The Codex - 2017 Escape Room Enthusiast Survey](https://thecodex.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/2017EscapeRoomEnthusiastSurveyV1.1.pdf)
- [Room Escape Artist - Three Years of Room Escapes: The Growth of the US Market](https://roomescapeartist.com/2017/07/30/three-years-of-room-escapes-the-growth-of-the-us-market/)
- [Narcity - This Horror-Themed Escape Room In Ontario Is The Real Life Version Of “Saw"](https://www.narcity.com/ca/on/toronto/travel/this-horror-themed-escape-room-in-ontario-is-the-real-life-version-of-saw)
- [The Verge - The Future of Fear: I was eaten alive by an escape room cannibal](https://www.theverge.com/2016/10/22/13364882/escape-rooms-the-basement-trap-house-la-adam-milicevic-interview)
- [RoomEscapeArtist - Three Years of Room Escapes: The Growth of the US Market](https://roomescapeartist.com/2017/07/30/three-years-of-room-escapes-the-growth-of-the-us-market/)
- [MarketWatch - The unbelievably lucrative business of escape rooms](https://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-weird-new-world-of-escape-room-businesses-2015-07-20)
- [CBC - Escape room designed by charity replicates barriers faced by homeless](http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/escape-room-homelessness-barriers-1.4342753)
- [Geek and Sundry - ESCAPE A ROOM WITH CHRIS EVANS… OR DON’T](https://geekandsundry.com/escape-a-room-with-chris-evans-or-dont/)
- [Brooklyn Paper - Stuck in the Riddle: Escape Room Challenges Players to Puzzle a Way Out](https://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/38/34/24-escape-the-room-2015-08-21-bk.html)
- [Boston Business Journal - I Paid Someone $30 to Lock Me in an Office for an Hour, and I Liked It](https://www.bizjournals.com/boston/news/2015/08/21/i-paid-someone-30-to-lock-me-in-an-office-for-an.html)
- [CNBC - Escape Games and Immersive Experiences are the Latest Entertainment Trend](https://www.cnbc.com/2015/08/17/escape-games-and-immersive-experiences-are-the-latest-entertainment-trend.html)
- [MarketWatch - The Unbelievably Lucrative Business of Escape Rooms](https://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-weird-new-world-of-escape-room-businesses-2015-07-20)
- [IGN - Room Escapes: What it’s Like When a Video Game Becomes Real](http://ca.ign.com/articles/2015/07/21/room-escapes-what-its-like-when-a-video-game-becomes-real)
- [89.3 KPCC: Off-Ramp - Escape Rooms Deliver Video Game-Level Immersive Fun, But with Real People and Situations](http://www.scpr.org/programs/offramp/2015/08/11/44065/escape-rooms-deliver-video-game-level-immersive-fu/)
- [Quora - What is the largest escape room in the world, and how many people can play it?](https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-largest-escape-room-in-the-world-and-how-many-people-can-play-it)
- [Quora - What is the Worst Experience You’ve had in an Escape Room?](https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-worst-experience-youve-had-in-an-escape-room)
- [Quora - Are Escape Rooms Fun?](https://www.quora.com/Are-escape-rooms-fun)
- [Quora - Are There Whole Day Escape Rooms?](https://www.quora.com/Are-there-whole-day-escape-rooms)
- [Quora - What Determines a Quality Escape Room?](https://www.quora.com/What-determines-a-quality-escape-room)
- [The Atlantic - Educational Escape Rooms Engage Students with Innovative Puzzles and Tasks](https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2016/07/the-rise-of-educational-escape-rooms/493316/)
- [Escape-Rooms.com - An Interview with Tom Robinson](https://www.escape-rooms.com/articles/meet-the-enthusiast-tom-robinson)
- [Escape-Rooms.com - An Interview with Georgi Papucharov](https://www.escape-rooms.com/articles/meet-the-enthusiast-tom-robinson)
- [Escape-Rooms.com - An Interview with Errol Elumir](https://www.escape-rooms.com/articles/a-blogger)
- [Escape-Rooms.com - An Interview with Jorge Correia](https://www.escape-rooms.com/articles/meet-the-enthusiasts-jorge-correia)
- [Ottawa Tourism - Diefenbunker: New Home of World’s Largest Escape Room](https://www.ottawatourism.ca/ottawa-insider/diefenbunker-new-home-of-worlds-largest-escape-room/)
### Music / Sound
- End theme, ["Further Investigation"](http://teknoaxe.com/Link_Code_4.php?q=1246&Genre=Suspense) by TeknoAXE used under [CC BY 4.0](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
- All other music and sound for this week's episode were provided by Nick Green!
- ["Glasses"](https://thenounproject.com/term/glasses/132894) by [Anton Anuchin](https://thenounproject.com/antonwebium) used under [CC BY 3.0](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us/)
- ["Escape Game"](https://thenounproject.com/term/escape-game/218353) by [Arthur Shlain](https://thenounproject.com/ArtZ91) used under [CC BY 3.0](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us/)