What Are The Classifications of Generations For Escape Rooms?

Escape Rooms are not quite a decade old yet yet there was an attempt to classify what style of game it was. The “Generation” was coined to help people understand what the Escape Room contained.

Generation 1

Most Escapers think of Gen 1 as a room where you have to escape a room which consists of padlocks (keyed or numerical) and very often this comes with printed sheets with puzzles on them.

There could be an additional room and the clue system is often low tech using a basic screen or a set of walkie talkies.

Generation 2

Gen 2 saw the introduction of electronic components to heighten the experience. These are maglocks, reed switches, basic switches which the players interact with) and other electronic interfaces. Padlocks are used, along with numerical keypads for opening the maglocks.

There is a greater use of multiple rooms and hidden areas. Clue Systems improve to themed screens, or systems that are incorporated into the theme. Some games extend the idea of escape rooms by not just being about escaping.

Generation 3

Gen 3 games aimed to remove the need for padlocks all together. Arduino-based sensors, RFID systems, and an increased number of electronic devices.

The story becomes much more important which shapes the whole experience.

Does It Matter?

There has been quite some discussion about if the generation of the Escape Room in any way correlates to the enjoyment of the game.

Most experienced escapers agreed that just because the Escape Room has a higher generation number, it does not mean that your enjoyment will be higher. There are amazing Gen 1 escape rooms which have you leaving feeling like you have had a superb experience, and there are Gen 3 escape rooms (tech-heavy) that just don’t hit the mark. Very often the most important factor to the whole experience is the hosting!

What Do The Enthusiasts Say?

This was quite a hot topic on an Enthusiasts’ Group, some key points are given below…

“I think the whole “generation” is bull and should not be used to compare. We’ve played amazing padlock heavy games and s**t tech heavy games and all the gammit of whatever is in between. Imho puzzles/set design and story matter a lot more than snazzy tech and Arduinos. Maybe we could start to classify rooms on how immersive the set and story is than tech, as that is where I’ve seen rooms develop the most over the last 6-7 years.” – Amy

“It just doesn’t feel like ‘generation’ is a thing or the right kind of phrase.
The early escape rooms used padlocks because that’s what the designers knew, even 10 years ago I would have had electronics over everything because that’s what I know how to do. It’s not as though a community got together and said lets not do padlocks anymore because RFID sensors are much better. If I saw an RFID lock in a newly designed pirate room I’d be very upset. Puzzles and mechanisms very much describe the theme.
Now if you want to use generations to describe the style. Gen 1 being thrown in a room for no reason vs Gen 3 story driven ideas then that’s something I could get behind. Gen 1 being scraped together office furniture vs Gen 3 immaculately designed sets for immersion, then there are probably some points to be made there.
100% agree that none of it bears relation to the enjoyment of the room. A good room is filled with appropriate content for the scenario”
– Martin

“If generations are in no way relative to how good a game is (which you’re right, they aren’t), then why even bother trying to classify them?
Personally, I think the only people who are bothered about what generation a room is are the people trying to make money out of them, and use is purely as a way to try and make their room/game more appealing to the people buying it.
If the word generation was never used in escape room discussion again, would the world be a better place? Well, probably not, but it wouldn’t be a bad thing!”
– David

“I kinda disagree, on two points.
Firstly, if we’re talking about generations then I think focussing on the tech is a mistake. Using a maglock instead of a padlock might be important to enthusiasts or owners, but few others will care (or even notice). Rather, we should be considering the experience. A “first gen” room is a room with a loose theme and broadly appropriate puzzles. What makes a next-gen room is story, immersion, live actors, perhaps special effects. A fire sale at SparkFun does not a second / third / forth generation room make.
Secondly, the entire notion of ‘generations’ is bobbins. As soon as you start to try and classify gen1 / gen 2 / gen 3 you’re going to hit something which is gen 1.5. It’s like trying to plait jelly.”
– Alan

What Generation Are Cryptology’s Games?

We cannot plait jelly with our games!

We are working on a video to highlight the differences between them. The escapees who ask the question “which is your most difficult room?” see us sighing before we start a long conversation to explain the differences of our game. They each have a unique “pass rate/style” that’s not necessarily binary (pass/fail).

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