Since Atari released Pong, the first commercially released video game in 1972, entertainment options have changed dramatically, particularly in the new millennium. When Pong was released, there were no computers, cell phones or even cordless phones available, much less smart phones, I-Pods, laptops, Notebooks or Kindles. The technology simply didn’t exist yet. Electronic calculators were a new and unbelievable product, and they sold for over $300. But technology has really come a long way in the ensuing 45 years, particularly in the new millennium.
As technologies were being developed in the 1970’s and 1980’s, people really didn’t realize the practical applications; how could this information be used? Few people dreamed or thought about how an individual could use a personal computer.
Early computers took up entire rooms. In the 1970’s running a computer program consisted of using those aggravating punch cards that seemed to have no practical application (although the chad from the punch cards made great confetti at football games).
Even the people who were developing the technology really didn’t realize the fantastic potential it had. And even as the exciting potential of the new technologies began to emerge, what was really going to happen next was unclear.
But with the birth of the World Wide Web in 1990, the information age had begun. The early days featured slow, cumbersome dial-up connections and a limited number of available websites. Most people didn’t even have a computer to access the internet so the number of people who were actually on-line was small.
Ten years later, having your own computer was becoming as common as having a telephone or a television in your home. More and more people were accessing the internet.
And the technology continued to explode. In many cases, as products were released commercially they were already virtually obsolete; the uses and applications of technology were growing exponentially for industry, science and entertainment too.
Today nearly everyone has a home computer, a laptop or a smart phone. Video games have leap-frogged from small, self-contained, hand held devices to systems that allow people to play on-line against people anywhere in the world.
And the birth of social media is changing the face of our culture. The ease of access to information and other people is changing the way people interact with each other ~ and no one is sure where it will take us.
But technology has also introduced a plethora of new entertainment options too, like live interactive games. Live interactive games originated in Japan about ten years ago and have swept across Europe, but are still a relatively new entertainment concept in the United States.
You can find places to play in big cities like New York or Chicago, where there are at least 40 of them, but there is only one in Northwest Indiana: Escape Room NWI in Schererville, Indiana.
Owned by Mark Ireland and Nichole McQuaid, Escape Room NWI opened January 1st 2015 and is the only place locally where people can play interactive games.
“I had seen the concept in Florida a couple of years ago,” said Ireland. “And I thought we have nothing like that here. And people are always looking for something different to do so I thought it would work well here, and it has. People are having a fun time with it.”
The reason the business is called the Escape Room is because it’s a place where groups of up to eight people can book the facility and play a one hour interactive game. People have to work together collectively as a group and literally figure out how to escape the game.
Over the course of one hour, players have to use elements or clues within the room to figure out how they can escape the room by working together and bouncing ideas off one another; and if they can escape the room before the 60 minute timer expires they win the game. And if they do they feel like they accomplished something.
Visiting the Escape Room and playing the game is a great way to start a night out with friends, because after you play you will certainly have a lot to talk about over dinner or drinks.
Escape Room NWI is located in the Triple A Plaza across from Lowe’s (on Route 41) at 830 Cedar Parkway in Schererville. For more information or to book a time for your group to play you can visit the website at or you can call 219- 595-9197.