Escape Rooms: the case of Portugal
Even though the concept of Escape Rooms was born in 2003, in Indianapolis, it only started to gain popularity in several areas of the world in the decade after that. In 2014, the first Escape Rooms in Portugal appeared in Lisbon and Porto, but they quickly spread to other areas of the country, reaching cities like Sintra, Coimbra and even the Autonomous Region of Madeira. In almost all of these games, the participants have 60 minutes to escape. What distinguishes one Room from another in Portugal is the overall theme, their main purpose and the amount of rooms where the game takes place.
The promotion of teamwork and entertainment
Incerto Experiences, a company based in Sintra, offers games for various kinds of tastes. One of the Rooms is called “House of Plastic” and is specially designed to please the fans of the horror genre: the participants are chained to a wall and have to resolve the mystery in an obscure environment. Their other offering, “The Mind of Mark Shand”, is a more relaxed one with the main objective being the reflection of the human mind. Despite this disparity in tone, these games have one thing in common. In an interview to TimeOut, João Amaral and Igor Martins, the founders of Incerto, said they wanted to enrich the options available to the public, whether through activities that are purely entertainment or through activities that instil a sense of personal development.
In Lisbon, The Escape Hunt Experience offers three different games: one is purely fictional and the other two are based on historical facts. In “Introduction to a Secret Society”, participants have to infiltrate an organisation simply called “The Society” of which they do not know nothing about and have to go through a ritual of initiation. “The Big Lisbon Earthquake” recounts the natural phenomenon that hit the Portuguese capital in 1755 and incites the players to take on the role of heroes of the city. “The Mystery of Fernando Pessoa” is an Escape Room dedicated to one of the most renowned Portuguese poets, and his various alter egos. These three offerings are different in theme, but the same when it comes to the modus operandi that should be adopted if the participants want to be successful: they should work as a team to solve a series of clever clues, as the company writes in its website.
The first Escape Room inside a football stadium
Estádio do Dragão, which is the home of FC Porto, will be the first football stadium in the world to have an Escape Room built in its facilities. Thais Valente, a member of Porto Exit Games (the partners chosen by FC Porto Museum to create the Room), said that the themes will be connected to sports and the games will be highly innovative in terms of technology and concepts.
In total, there will be three new Escape Rooms in Estádio do Dragão where the participants will have to exit a single room within an hour. In February, FC Porto stated that these games will promote teamwork in order to resolve mysteries.
Is entertainment enough? Are businesses and schools yet to notice the potential of the Escape Rooms in Portugal? The Vocational School of Espinho is now taking some interesting steps in this field, using technology to engage students in learning through the excitement of trying to escape! … Stand by to see what follows.