Escape rooms offer travelers a chance for role play and fantasy


Imagine the scene – you are locked in a room with people you know and maybe others you don’t know. You have to solve intricate puzzles, puzzles and codes in order to move on to the next room on your way to escape from an unknown fate. Over time, the tension mounts. Those with a cooler head lead the charge, the more cerebral the codes, and the faint-hearted increase the tension, contributing more to the problem than the solution.

It might sound more like a cliché storyline from a B-movie where another zombie apocalypse threatens to end life on earth as we know it. Instead, it’s one of the fastest growing trends in entertainment and tourism since the days of the hippies running through it.

A trend that began in Japan in 2007, Escape Rooms became popular in Budapest in 2011, its first European emergence, through the company Parapark. From there it found its way into the UK, US and Canadian markets, and there are now over 50,000 escape rooms around the world.

Escape rooms are defined as spaces created using technology, puzzles, and ingenuity in which guests (typically 8 to 12) work together to decipher puzzles and codes for the purpose of ” open a door to another room, within a defined period of time, where the brain games continue. The door has built-in security for emergencies, but in the spirit of the role-playing game, there are few dropouts in such an immersive themed experience.

One of the most prolific escape room gurus is Akos Gabossy, of Hungarian descent, founder and CEO of PanIQ. The company started in 2014, inspired by Akos’ experiences at Chuck E. Cheese as a teenager. The interactive nature of the place was just the initial idea for the more immersive escape room experience. After graduating from college and landing a job in a bank, Akos connected with investors who were instrumental in helping him grow PanIQ into a franchise with locations in Hollywood, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Phoenix. , Houston, Miami, Dallas, Washington DChicago and New York City.

“Our goal was to build a very high-end escape room up to the standards of the entertainment capital of the world, Las Vegas,” said Gabossy. “It was a challenge to find unique puzzles and exciting stories. We also wanted to create a very Instagram friendly environment that inspires the younger generations. We have also added a bar and lounge, so players can chat / process their experience and spend more time in the PanIQ room.

PanIQ rooms are created by theme. A group of friends, or even co-workers at a teambuilding event, can try to escape “A Steampunk Story” in Las Vegas, “Chainsaw Massacre” in Houston, “Haunted Hospital” in Miami or even “Zombie Outbreak” in Dallas – to name a few.

The trend for escape rooms follows the trend for group travel, a reaction to more than a year of isolation due to the pandemic. Unlike other options that emphasize individuality and social distancing, escape room tours encourage teamwork, companionship, introspective skills, and face-to-face interactions. With this in mind, escape rooms, including those operated by PanIQ, maintain the highest standards of cleanliness, sanitation and safety. PanIQ’s Covid protocols include cleaning high contact surfaces between groups, wearing masks during the game, and using credit cards rather than cash.

If you are traveling to New York City, the PanIQ Hall is located at 102 Eldridge Street, near the Tenement Museum in Lower Manhattan. For more information on all other destinations, visit the PanIQ Room website.

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