Some time ago we wrote an article about escape room competitions as a sport for geeks, in which Jakub asked the creators of the REPOD escape room podcast - David Spira and Peih-Gee Law, about their point of views on the subject. Today, let's take a look not at the issue itself, but at the specific championships taking place around the world - both online, offline or mixed formula.
Have you ever heard of them?
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many aspects of our lives have moved online. Many of these online activities have caught on so well that people are not giving them up, despite the relatively safe times - whether through convenience or saving time and money. It's not a surprise that escape room games which got their start in the digital world, have returned to it again.
ER CHAMP is an international escape room competition in which teams from around the world compete for the best result in solving escape rooms. Championships have been held since 2017 as Poland Escape. Since the 2020 due pandemic, ER CHamp is held completely online. According to ER Champ’s creators the aim of this event is to promote the idea of escape rooms among escape room and puzzle game enthusiasts, but also among people who have not had contact with this type of entertainment so far.
ER Champ is a team competition and a team can consist of a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 4 members - as in an escape room. However, unlike real escape rooms, there are no hints here! This is the world championship - competition for the best of the best without any head start.
Every year, there are thousands of participants in these competitions, and this number is growing cyclically. In the last edition over 2600 participants took part and the winning team was from Taiwan. This year’s edition is approaching - the elimination stage is scheduled on November 5.
Competitions in the form of online are a great opportunity to meet people with similar hobbies. Often, thanks to such events, long-standing friendships are made!
Belgian Escape Days
Belgian Escape Days take place in Leuven. This event is dedicated for everyone - children and adults, game and escape room enthusiasts, company outings and many more. Its aim is to entertain. The escape room enthusiast comes to this event to experience a fun day in an attractive way. Hereby they will get acquainted with different partners and various activities.
Belgian Escape Days 2022 edition is the first event’s edition at all. It will be held scheduled on November 19-20 in Leuven, Belgium. This year all puzzles are available in Dutch, but it is highly possible that in the next editions organizers will prepare puzzles also in other languages.
Online and offline
Some of the competitions are conducted both online and offline - a very interesting formula!
MIT Mystery Hunt
The MIT Mystery Hunt is one of the oldest and the biggest puzzle hunts competition in the world. It was launched in 1981. MIT Mystery Hunt takes place on the MIT campus in Cambridge, USA, every year during the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day weekend.
The hunt challenges each participating team to solve puzzles which lead to a special object called a Coin. Coin is hidden somewhere on campus where the event takes place.
MIT Mystery Hunt 2023 starts on Friday, January 13th, and lasts until the end of the weekend - Sunday, January 15th. According to the event's website, participants are able to join MIT in a fully remote team.
“We are making our best effort to provide a great experience for remote teams. That said, there will be some puzzles where being in-person will be helpful, and in select cases, potentially required. Remote teams will still be able to finish Hunt”, we can read on the MIT 2023 website.
This year for the first time an Urban Escape Challenge called “Code: Bochum" took place in Bochum, Germany. This amazing and unique event was full of mysteries. Erban Escape Challenge miał miejsce w in three different escape rooms, in two different online games, on a puzzle route through the city center and during a bike tour through nature, on which there are different tasks to solve.
The prizes of these competitions were free spins at the Bochum escape rooms worth up to 144 EUR and vouchers for games and merchandising articles for the Urban Escape Challenge.
The world needs more such events
There have been several other competitions in the past that we know of. Red Bull held a championship called Red Bull Escape Room World Championships, but the last event in the series was held in 2019. The second competition we know of was called EGOlympics (online formula) and was organized by Stephen Heiner and the people who co-found Escape Roomers (DE), the website very important for the escape room industry.
There are definitely not enough such events - both online and offline. Have you heard of any other escape room competitions? Maybe they are taking place in your cities, but are not well publicized. Let us know!
Journalist and indologist by profession. Writer, marketer, tarantulas keeper and urbex explorer by heart.
In the meantime I’m playing escape rooms and board games, and I wonder how I find time to sleep (still dunno). I was born to write - my favorite forms of expression are extensive articles preceded by a long research, and horror stories (for some it’s the same).
Greetings from Traverse City, MI! Now that we have had a week to recuperate, we’re ready to give you a recap of our twelve state, thirty-five escape room marathon that we completed in just sixteen days!