When they came into the real world Escape Games followed the same formula. Players were now locked in a real room. The puzzles mostly involved working out the combination to padlocks that unlocked the secrets to the next puzzle and eventually to the exit.
This was great to begin with, but Escape enthusiasts soon began to want something more than just opening padlocks. The police seemed to object if real escape rooms pumped out the oxygen or poisoned their customers, so things were beginning to get a little tame.
Along came the more up-to-date themed games. Players no longer needed to find a key, but to satisfy the theme of the room instead, and as murder mysteries of any kind have been popular since the year dot they seemed an obvious choice.
I for one was rather disappointed with some attempts at introducing games with a murder theme. The murders are just stories written on cards that you discover as you go along. You still have to open the padlocks and find a key, and whether or not you read about the murder doesn't make any difference. It has nothing to do with escaping. Nothing has changed.
Our CSI Murder Mystery set out to put that right. You still have to open a few boxes, just to keep the purists happy, but you won't find just a story inside. You slowly uncover the evidence in a murder investigation and to escape you have to solve it. Those that like whodunnits and murder weekends love this as the satisfaction of matching alibis with witness statements and sorting out the forensic evidence to finally bring the perp to justice gives a wonderful sense of achievement. You'll certainly know you've 'escaped'!