While many creative things originate in Europe before they come to America, one of the oddest might be a new pastime there called Escape Games. Before you go and think this is some kind of twisted European version of The Hunger Games, nobody is killing one another, at least not yet. In these games (originating in Budapest, Hungary), people are locked in a strange room with no windows or doors. Using offbeat clues around the room, they can piece things together and find a secret exit hidden in the room to get out of there.
If this sounds like an off-branch of German torture, it perhaps is. But it’s actually meant strictly as strategy and forcing you into a better mode of thinking in order to escape the terrifying surroundings. With rooms designed to look like nightmares, many Hungarians love escape games and led to CNN writing about it recently. Considering many of these escape game rooms are set up in creepy-looking basements, you have to wonder if America is looking in with equal fascination and derision.
Don’t be surprised if a TV producer is figuring out a way to bring escape games to your living room as our next evolutionary step toward becoming a real-life “Hunger Games.”
Would Escape Games Go Over as an American Reality Show?
The man who initially created escape games in Hungary (Attila Gyurkovics) has a background in team-building strategy, so his ingenious setups are perfect for just about any age. Kids reportedly love playing it, plus those with an engineering sense of mind. That multi-age appeal is what’s likely going to get TV producers looking into bringing escape games to American TV. Regardless, would they base it on the initial concept or change things to make it more extreme?
We’ve already seen various attempts at more dangerous and extreme reality shows in the last few years. Shows on celebrity diving and placing celebrities in extreme stunt situations have all been likely high insurance risks that don’t stop them from getting green-lighted. What about placing random people in rooms that literally trap them until they can figure out how to get out? Knowing American producers, they’ll come up with something much more terrifying, as in the walls closing in or filling the room full of rattlesnakes to force people into using their smarts to escape.
Shows like “Fear Factor” already took on those ideas without necessarily using strategy. There could be something valuable in an escape game reality show since it shows resourcefulness when we’re in a predicament that could mean life or death. Mimicking a scenario that someone could die any minute may seem too much like torture to bear for any audience support. Using a little more cleverness, though, audiences could learn quite a lot about ingenuity, especially if each escape game is solved within half an hour to an hour.
As with most reality shows that supposedly teach you something about society, you have to watch an entire season to see the points made. An escape game might be the perfect blend of putting people in mimicked danger while also bringing an education in how to survive quickly other than on a deserted island.
Before it becomes a reality show, don’t be surprised to see escape games come to America where they may be in fairs or other public arenas. It’s there where it’s likely going to be nurtured into more of an extreme American version. Whether Europe will allow America to steal yet another interesting entertainment idea from them is all a matter of a waiting game right now.
For once, Europe may want to use an escape clause to keep something original for itself rather than America taking it to the bank. At least we won’t accuse them of creating a real “Hunger Games” if society ever gets that far to the edge.