Jeff, our founder, was travelling abroad in Asia when he played his first escape room in 2012. After returning to Los Angeles, he was amazed that the phenomenon had not yet caught on in the United States. At the time, there were only a few escape room venues in the LA area. Although his day job was at IBM, Jeff has always been a gamer at heart. He once paid his way through college by being one of the world’s best Diablo II players-- he would build up extremely powerful accounts then sell them off for a profit.
In 2014, the escape room industry was still very basic, “generation I” games. Not very much technology involved. Jeff saw a unique opportunity to combine his knowledge of engineering with his passion for gaming. That summer, he quit his job at IBM and leased a 7,000 square foot space inside a Monterey Park shopping center. The Exit Game was born. It seemed like an extremely risky decision at the time, because no one knew if escape rooms were here to stay, or just a passing fad.
Exit Game’s first escape room to launch, Lab 51, is a traditional “lock and key” based game, but still remains a fan favorite to this day. Many escape room enthusiasts remember “The Lab” as their first love. The very first escape room they played that hooked them.
Each escape room design after The Lab employed more and more new technologies. The A.I., which stands for “artificial intelligence,” is a game that is completely controlled by a computer program. Ada, the self-aware robot, will even talk to you depending on what you do (or don’t do) in the room.
Jeff’s dream was to create escape rooms that reminded him of old school video games like Myst. Whether it’s dodging lasers in our James Bond room (An Hour to Kill) or casting spells in The School of Sorcery (Harry Potter inspired escape), Jeff and the design team keep pushing the boundaries of immersing technology with the live escape room experience.
The second Exit Game store opened September 2017 in San Diego. In the future, we plan on bringing our best escapes to other cities and designing awesome new game experiences.