Yesterday, upon the stair, I met a man who wasn’t there.’

Slightly unnerving, and a bloody good start to a thriller book, or  film, wouldn’t you say? (In fact, I believe that poem has been invoked in the 2003 thriller Identity, but we won’t go into that right now.)

And, it would be one heck of an experience, if that effect could be realized in an escape room, right?

So, how would one realize that effect in an escape room?

Well, off the top of my head, it could be done via flashing lights, trapdoors, false walls, and an extremely alert actor. It could be a dream project for some escape room designers.

And, as to whether all or part of the preceding two sentences are hints as to what you can expect in our Rhode Island escape room, you’ll have to find it out the old-fashioned way – by booking a slot.

Enter augmented reality…

Augmented reality is an experience which adds certain elements to our real surroundings, allowing us to live through a modified version of our real existence.

Kind of like Pokemon Go?

Yes, exactly like Pokemon Go. Pokemon Go is an augmented reality game.

So, what happens in an augmented reality escape room?

A group of students at the University of Advancing Technology in Tempe have developed an augmented reality escape room which can be played through your phone.

You can print out shapes (of gargoyles, flaming torches, and so on), and your phone will sense them and place/superimpose them on your actual surroundings.

You will be moving around the actual room you’re in, and see that same room on your phone, but with the game elements added.

And you can interact with the game elements on your phone to play the game.

How real is this augmented reality escape room experience?

Technology-wise, it’s certainly a great achievement by the students who developed it.

And, I suppose you could say it kind of ‘democratizes’ the escape room experience by giving people who may not have the time to visit an escape room to get a taste of the escape room experience right where they are.

But, is it the break from the everyday existence that escape rooms represent?

Well, according to David and Lisa Spira (long-time escape enthusiasts and escape room critics),

  • Not having a screen in front of you,
  • Doing something tangible, and,
  • Doing something with the people that you care about

Are the chief qualities of escape rooms that make them so popular for everything from an evening out with the family, through private parties like a bachelor party, and corporate and team building events.

It is those qualities that inspire people to give their all in working with their team to find the way out – which makes the escape room experience one that families remember, and teams look forward to, much more than ‘motivational speeches’.


While the augmented reality escape room does give you something to do on the evening you’re too tired to venture out, or when the others on your team can’t make it, it just doesn’t seem to provide the wholesome, digitally detoxed, and ‘making memories’ kind of experience that escape rooms do.

You can read the full article about the augmented reality escape room here.