Takagism gains popularity in Shanghai

By Yu Ran(Shanghai Star)
Updated: 2014-11-28 15:39:42

Chen Yin (far right) still retains his interest in going out with friends to play real-life room escape games regularly. Photo provided to Shanghai Star

Being trapped in a room with a group of strangers might not sound very fun — but as Yu Ran reports, it's actually an increasingly popular social activity in Shanghai.

Chen Yin was one of the first people in Shanghai to start organizing real life Takagism games in the city.

Takagism is a game where people are locked in a room together and have to complete a series of puzzles within a limited time to break free from the room.

"I decided to organize it just to have fun and hang out with friends and do something creative. Room escape was very new to the city at that time," says Chen, who used to organize weekly room escape games with friends at a hostel, welcoming anyone to take part.

Chen and his friends ran regular events simply as a hobby, and only charged 40 to 50 yuan per person to play.

Normally, room escape games require fewer than 10 people to work together by completing a series of tasks such as finding clues, opening locks and solving puzzles within a limited time in order to escape the room.

"Most of the time we didn't socialize with those incoming players after the room escape, we meet up with different people every time," Chen says.

A room escape location. Photo provided to Shanghai Star

To their surprise, after about a year of hosting the games, room escape started to become increasingly popular, but Chen and his friends decided they wanted to keep it as a hobby, and had no interest in capitalizing on the game.

"We hadn't thought of expanding it into a business, which required investment and risk control. None of us was willing to give up our full-time job for that, so we called that off," Chen says.

However, Takagism is still a hobby for Chen, as he is fond of solving puzzles and challenging his limits.

Now Takagism has become a popular social event among young people like Chen to meet new friends.

"It is a good method to get closer to people by setting up a similar goal – get out of the room, solve a problem and work together as a team," Chen says.

Chen no longer acts as an organizer but is a participant or experienced player who leads a team of people to find the solution.

The game is still very new to Alma Xu, who has played room escape for one year and finds it very exciting.

"Real-life room escape is a more interactive group activity that requires us to get to know each other better and learn how to cooperate as a team," says Xu, who organized a recent room escape activity inviting some friends including Chen to meet more people.

A room escape location. Photo provided to Shanghai Star

It was the third time Xu played room escape with a group of people but the first time playing it as a social activity to spend time with friends.

Xu also encouraged some friends to try the game so they could experience the sense of achievement after finishing tasks together.

"I would like to have more friends come and play room escape or other interactive games to expand my social network," Xu says.

Xu Xiaofan feels a bit different as he has just participated in the group activity once and found it interesting and an intellectual challenge.

"The playing process is more important than escaping from the room eventually. It was like brainstorming during a job interview, which requires you to react quickly and break through," Xu says.

Compared to other social events like singing or playing card games, Xu explains that it is easier to see the different personalities of people and practice thinking abilities by playing room escape.

"I would like to try it again, to attempt the challenge of a more difficult room sometime," Xu says.


Takagism is an offshoot of a point-and-click adventure video game that requires a player to escape from imprisonment by exploiting his/her surroundings.

Most room escape games are played from a first-person perspective, where the player must click on objects to interact with it. Those games offer only token plots, usually a short cut scene consisting only of text to establish how the player got there, and sometimes another at the end of the game. Room escapes usually have a minimalistic interface, ambient soundtrack, and no non-player characters; these elements can enhance the gamer’s sense of isolation.

Adapted from computer games, real-life room escape is gaining popularity in major cities in China, especially among the young and adventurous.

Real room escape games are interactive games not only between gamers but also involving the developers. Normally those scenarios are created that allow gamers to discover clues, decipher codes and unlock doors between one and two hours in impenetrable rooms.

Real-life room escape locations

Takagism has become quite popular among some young people. The game allows groups of friends to get together and to face challenging tasks and feel the excitement of trying to get out of the room within the required time period. They also go through a variety of places to try and find out where is the best. Here are three highly rated real-life room escape studios in the city if you are interested to go with your friends.

Magic Cube Room(魔方剧情密室)

This is from one of the best room escape creators. They have two studios in the city. The newly opened studio in Xuhui district has five themes, so players can pass through a series of rooms as they play. It also has a large room with a two-hour room escape challenge and a super room decorated as a vampire’s dungeon for people wanting to test their limits.

Address: Room 2201, Ying-xiong Building, 2669 Xietu Road, Xuhui district 徐汇区斜土路2669号英雄大厦2201室

Telephone: 021-5273-4030

Price: 78 to 120 yuan per hour

Pulupulu Thematic Game Studio (Pulupulu主题游戏馆)

Launched in September 2013 at the Expo site in Puxi district, the 5,000-square-meter thematic studio has five game rooms and a 400-square-meter vampire themed hall to welcome the players. It has arty visual effects from films, animation, and online games in the room for players to experience. The studio also has the largest and most complicated mirror maze in Asia.

Address: 139 Miaojiang Road, Huangpu district (close to Bansongyuan Road) 黄浦区苗江路139号(近半淞园路)

Telephone: 021-6012-5778

Price: 120 to 150 yuan per hour

Mr. X Room Escape (Mr. X密室逃脱)

This room escape studio has chain stores all over the country. It is one of the most popular gathering points for regular players. The settings and decorations use high technology and interactive media methods to showcase the past, the present and the future. All these rooms have different storylines adapted from well-known films and novels.

Address: Building 1, 3rd phase of No 8 Bridge, 550 Jumen Road, Huangpu district 黄浦区局门路550号八号桥三期1号楼

Telephone: 4008-598-298

Price: 120 to 150 yuan per hour


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