In this project an „Escape the Room”-game with different variants will be developed, to get people into STEM subjects (e.g., at fairs and road-shows) and to enrich STEM lessons at school and university.


Escape Rooms are currently booming (also in Linz) and are already partly used in teaching scenarios. Escape the Room is best described as a combination of LARP (Live Action Role Play), scavenger hunt, and Sherlock Holmes. The players are immersed in a scenario (eg. the production of a serum or the development of their own game) and have to solve a variety of puzzles, using the materials and information provided, as well as other tips and assistance as needed, to move from one room to the next until they can finally leave the whole building. Another important basic element of the game is time. The players not only fight in teams to solve the puzzles, but also against the clock. If the main task is not solved within the given time, the game is lost.

Currently there are three different “game types”: Escape the Room as a board game, computer game, and live escape. Each of these variants follows the same game rules: solving puzzles in teams using knowledge and existing materials, but their implementation varies. In order to convey the contents of the STEM subjects at JKU in an exciting way, we will implement all three game variants in this project. The prototypes of the three game variants initially focus on computer science, but can be further expanded and adapted for other subjects. All constructions and puzzles will have a flexible design so that they can be adapted to the educational level of the respective target group and the abilities of the students.

Escape games have been known as computer games for quite some time. The implementation as a computer game allows a multitude of additional possibilities for puzzles and tasks, since no items need to be bought or consumed. In addition, also mechanisms (e.g., pressure-sensitive floor slabs) can be simulated that otherwise would be impossible or very difficult to simulate as a board game or in a real scenario. It is planned to implement the computer game as a web-based system, which can be played on PCs as well as on tablets and smartphones. The implementation should be flexible enough that various levels of difficulty and puzzles can be added at any time.

The project is a cooperation between the COOL Lab of the department of STEM Education and the Institute of Business Informatics – Software Engineering. The board game, as well as the Live Escape version will be created in the department of STEM Education. Moreover, the didactical concept will be implemented there. The Institute of Business Informatics – Software Engineering is responsible for the conception and implementation of the computer game variant.

Contact:

Iris Groher and Johannes Sametinger

Barbara Sabitzer

Escape the Room – Come into STEM

Publications

B. Sabitzer, I. Groher, C. Hörmann, A. Hofer: Toward the Implementation of Escape Room Games in an Educational Context, 15th European Conference on Games Based Learning (ECGBL 2021), Brighton, UK, September 23-24, 2021. DOI:10.34190/GBL.21.125
Conference Article