Are Escape Rooms Claustrophobic?

2021.01.12.

When it comes to locating an escape room business, you'll probably notice a trend. Many will be in basements and more often than not, in older buildings. This is for two reasons. One is that older basements often contribute to the overall ambiance of an escape room game narrative. The other being one of price. Renting space in any city is expensive. And often the cheapest floor space is the one without any daylight. So this is a win-win for the owner. To utilize the maximum floor potential, many escape room designers will partition the available space to be able to include as many different escape room themes as possible. After all, having only one game to play is going to seriously limit the potential for business growth. 

It Can Get Small

The more the floor space gets divided, the smaller the rooms. Now, most escape room games are ideally pitched at between 2 - 6 players. That means the rooms can get pretty small. So, if you have issues with feeling trapped in a tight space or that the small and dark rooms might trigger claustrophobia, then let's look for a solution. In truth, at ExitTheRoom, we have had some players who were concerned about being in an enclosed space. But once the game got going in earnest, they said that all ideas about panicking or feeling bad, flew out of their heads as they struggled with finding clues and solving puzzles as they raced against the clock.  

What is Claustrophobia?

Essentially, it's an irrational fear of enclosed spaces. Or a fear of being confined. In our day to day life, there are many triggers, such as elevators, tunnels, and revolving doors. Where ever there's restricted space, then claustrophobia can be triggered. Symptoms can range from elevated breathing to full-blown panic attacks. It's a recognized medical condition and there are cures. 

Will Escape Rooms Trigger Claustrophobia?

Each individual will act differently to different stimuli. So whereas one escape room may have no effect on one person, the same room may well trigger an attack from another. Back in the early days of escape room businesses, there were some who would actually lock the players in the room. Apart from health and safety violations, along with fire escape issues, thank God this practice is banned today. But, if you were nervous about being locked in for real, then that practice wouldn't help your state of mind. In today's escape rooms, no doors are actually locked. It's just a pretense and, if push comes to shove, they can all be opened with a simple push.

Limited Space

Every escape room will give the players a different individual experience. That's because some rooms might feel big to one player, in spite of being filled with furniture and objects. Yet for another player, those same things might make the room feel unbearable cramped and small. Many businesses will have vastly different sized rooms within the same floor space. There may well be rooms with crawl-spaces and some very tight spots, though these will only allow one player to enter, normally to retrieve an item.

Before You Book

If you're organizing an escape room game with family or friends, then it's always a good idea to ask if anyone suffers from being uncomfortable in small spaces. Then when you approach the escape room business, be sure to ask them about small crawl spaces or tunnels. Be clear about your needs and mention if anyone has any trepidations about feeling trapped. All decent game operators will want you to enjoy the best experience. So you'll find them all open to discuss such issues and answer all your questions. Today, everyone is aware that claustrophobia is a real thing, and the sense of fear and panic that it can induce is not something anyone wants. Also, be sure to ask about the different games they may be offering. Some games require larger gameplay spaces than others. In truth, any decent escape room games business will be eager to help with your selection as well as being concerned at all times about the sensibilities of its customers. 

Ask The Right Questions

By the way, if you know that one of your players suffers from an aversion to small spaces, then we would recommend that you give horror-themed games a wide berth. These games are designed to trigger a real and palpable sense of fear. They often involve claustrophobic situations in order to help get the pulse racing. There are so many escape room options, that finding a game that will suit all players shouldn't be difficult. Just be sure to ask the owners all the right questions before you put down any cash and make the booking. There are a ton of games that don't involve tight spaces. Likewise, make sure that all the players have a rough idea of what they're in for. Once you've been given the back story and the game begins in earnest, we're certain that you'll have no other thoughts than that of how to complete the game within the allotted time. Have fun!
 

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