Escape rooms, as we know them today, have their roots in point-and-click adventure games and interactive theater experiences. However, the concept of being locked in a room and having to solve puzzles to escape can be traced back much further. Some historians believe that the concept of escape rooms can be traced back to ancient Egypt, where people would create puzzles and challenges to test their friends' intelligence and problem-solving skills. Similarly, in the Middle Ages, prisoners would sometimes be given puzzles to solve as a way to pass the time and prove their worthiness for release.
In more recent times, interactive puzzle games and themed puzzle rooms have become popular in Japan, particularly in the form of "Real Escape Games" developed by the company SCRAP. These games involve teams of players solving puzzles and clues in a physical space to escape within a set time limit. The first Real Escape Game was held in 2007 in Kyoto, Japan. The modern incarnation of escape rooms as we know them today, with their combination of puzzles, storytelling, and immersive environments, originated in the early 2010s in Asia and quickly spread to Europe and North America. The first escape room in the United States is believed to have opened in San Francisco in 2012.