Courtesy EXIT Canada Laboratory Escape is one of four theme rooms at EXIT, a new "real life escape game" facility in Richmond, B.C.

A new game facility that locks participants in a room from which they must escape has opened in Richmond, B.C.

EXIT has four themed rooms: The Lost Ship, Ancient Egypt, Prison Escape and Laboratory Escape. Groups of anywhere from two to six people have 45 minutes to figure out how to get out by using critical thinking skills to solve challenges and riddles.

Leaflet ANCIENT EGYPT“It involves a lot of different skills to solve,” said owner Justin Tang, who discovered the concept in his homeland of Hong Kong, where it is wildly popular.

“You need some basic math, and you need teamwork, so it’s not only thinking, it might be some action where you have to co-operate with a teammate.”

The “real life escape room” business was inspired several years ago by “escape room” video games popularized in Japan, and has already taken off in the U.S., England, Switzerland, Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia, Thailand, and Mainland China.

Swiss company AdventureRooms has a similar facility in Kitchener, Ont., but EXIT is the first on Canada’s West Coast.

Leaflet Prison EscapeTang said business is booming and he has already had about 7,000 players come through since he opened in October.

“I’ve been in Canada for over 16 years, and I really think that, especially in British Columbia, we need more entertainment,” he said, chuckling.

“I explored around the world and I found this idea, and I think that Canadians definitely enjoy this kind of experience, and so far what I’ve heard from my customers is positive.”

Tang added he has already had franchise inquiries from San Francisco, Montreal and Toronto.

Leaflet The Lost ShipHe has booked players as young as nine, but because of the sophistication of the game said it is recommended for ages 16 and up. The cost per game is $22.99 per person plus GST.

For more info, visit e-exit.ca.

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