THE HISTORY OF REAL ESCAPE GAMES
ESCAPING INTO OUR PAST TO PREPARE FOR THE FUTURE
BY SCRAP Global Team
Hello and welcome to our second blog post!
Before we discuss all the amazing projects we have in store, and some fascinating behind the scenes, we think it’s important to take a step back and dive into our history. Knowing where we started, what our proudest accomplishments are, and how we managed to create the biggest building dedicated to escape rooms in Japan, is the key to unlocking the next steps in our adventure!
Our history is deeply connected to the history of escape games, but we started in a very different field…
How it Started
SCRAP begins its story in Kyoto, Japan as a small team creating a free magazine.
From 2004 to 2007, this small free magazine team covered and produced events centered around music.
However, in 2007, that changed when SCRAP produced its first Real Escape Game.
This led to the beginning of these widely popular interactive puzzle events and games.
In June 2008, SCRAP Co., Ltd. was officially established!
Cover image of one of SCRAP’s free magazine
Having run several different events in Kyoto, SCRAP wanted to branch out to the major Japanese city of Tokyo. Due to not being well known at the time, it was difficult to secure a venue location to operate.
But eventually, in February 2009, the first Tokyo event was hosted with the game, ‘Escape from an Abandoned Classroom’*.
In June 2010, Real Escape Game was trademarked in Japanese.
SCRAP hit its first massive milestone in September 2010.
A record 10,000 players came to play the game ‘Escape from the Amusement Park at Night’*.
As the title suggests, this game was played at night after the amusement park’s operational hours.
At the beginning of 2011, a Tokyo office and an official SCRAP fan club were created.
That summer, in July, SCRAP opened its first permanent location, which is still used to run several Real Escape Games today.
In September 2011, the first Real Escape Game hosted outside of Japan, ‘Escape from the Werewolf Village’ in Shanghai, China was held.
The following year, in August 2012, a company in the United States would be created to run SCRAP’s Real Escape Games.
In November 2013, SCRAP achieved a Guinness World Record for the largest number of players playing a real-life escape game at the same time!
Spurred by this tremendous achievement, 10 new permanent locations were opened in one year.
In April 2014, ‘Real Escape Game TV’* created by SCRAP was a final nominee for the International Emmy Awards in the Digital Program category.
Official certificate from the Guinness World Records
SCRAP would go on to create many large-scale events with hundreds of players, including a stadium game tour in different locations.
May 2014 marked the start of this type of event with a collaboration with the hit Japanese animation series,「Attack on Titan」. This tour would also later be extended into Singapore and the United States.
A year later in March 2015, would be the first-ever nationwide tour with a collaboration of the popular detective series「Detective Conan (Case Closed)」. Never done before, this tour visited all 47 regions of Japan.
Another milestone was achieved in June of 2016 with the game ‘Escape from the Dragon King’s Labyrinth’*, a collaboration with the well-known video game series 「Dragon Quest」. This game attracted more than 40,000 players in just 3 days!
To reach an even greater audience, SCRAP Publications was created as a publishing company specializing in printed riddles, puzzle books, exclusive printed mysteries, and more.
June 2017, marked the 10th anniversary of the Real Escape Game.
This anniversary was celebrated with the massive event ‘Escape from the Endless Feast’* which hosted 10,000 participants. For this event, 366 phone numbers were purchased for 1.2 million Japanese yen in order to get one successful escapee.
At the end of 2017, the escape game theme park called Tokyo Mystery Circus was created!
A colorful entertainment facility in the heart of Tokyo–Shinjuku, Kabukicho that spans 6 floors. Each floor is jam-packed with exciting games and activities, some games are also available in English! (Please check the Tokyo Mystery Circus website for our current English games.)
Within only two years from its opening in December, the facility attracted over 1 million customers.
In 2020, the first online Real Escape Games were created during the pandemic and could be enjoyed by participants playing from home.
At the beginning of 2021, SCRAP held a live online puzzle event titled ‘Online Real Escape Game Big Party’* which featured several different types of live online events and games. This online event attracted 10,000 players!
Visual for the Online ‘Real Escape Game Big Party’
Starting from the desire to bring the thrill found in Puzzle Video Games to the real world, and continuing to chase the passion for wanting to create the most exciting events, we managed to grow in an ever-changing industry and establish ourselves in this unpredictable market.
The world of entertainment changed drastically since 2007, bringing many different challenges, but also growth opportunities.
We are excited to see what’s in store for us behind the future’s closed door, so why don’t you join us while we unlock it!
*Please note that these titles in English are not official as there aren’t English versions of these games.