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Plotting the Great Escape at Atlanta's Breakout Games

By S. Mathur

It's a closed room mystery. It's a team building exercise. It's a real life adventure game. Escape games were first invented in Tokyo in 2005 and became popular in Asia and Europe before reaching the US. Two to eight people, who could be friends or colleagues or perfect strangers, are locked in a closed room with a collection of clues, which they must decipher within sixty minutes to escape. They will have to find the clues, solve riddles and crack codes scattered around the room or cleverly hidden.

What is the reason for the popularity of escape games? Jake Lacy, General Manager of Breakout Atlanta says that "I believe it has become so popular because it's an activity for so many different people. It's a great team builder for companies and organization, it's so much fun for families to interact in an entirely different way and it provides a unique alternative to all the typical and traditional date or fun nights out!"

Each escape has two to eight people, and if your group doesn't make up the total number, it can be combined with another group. Which is better? Lacy says that "You can go either way. I recommend getting a full group together that you know - it's makes it more fun when you can work together through all the puzzles with a group you can talk about it with for years to come. You also learn some new fun stuff about the people you thought you knew so well, ha!"

The success rate for escapes is rather low, at about 33%, and success often seems to depend on the number of people playing. The more people that are locked in together, the better their chances of making an escape. Staff will also provide some helpful clues if it looks like a group is having trouble.

Lacy is a fan of the games himself, and says that this was the reason for opening Breakout Atlanta: "We decided to open Breakout Games after we tried a different escape room and absolutely loved it! The time seemed to fly by as we were attempting to solve all the clues that lead to a final exit code." Atlanta has a number of well designed escape rooms with different escape challenges.

At Breakout, the most popular room is the unique Kidnapping. It's a good introduction for beginners, along with Island Escape. More experienced Breakout Games enthusiasts will enjoy Operation Casino, Museum Heist or Hostage. All ages can play, though children under the age of fourteen must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. All other players must sign a waiver before beginning.

All rooms have recording cameras, so staff can monitor happenings. At Breakout Games, the rooms aren't really locked, and players can just turn a door handle and leave, if they've had enough.

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