Puzzles are everywhere in the world, whether we like it or not. Some people enjoy going out of their way to find these challenges, enjoying jigsaw puzzles or Sudoku boards. Others only reluctantly engage when something puzzle-esque is put in their path. This can be anything from figuring out a work schedule to seating arrangements at a wedding. We can’t really avoid problem-solving in this sense, no matter our personal feelings about it. Everyone solves puzzles out of necessity sometimes. But why do people choose to play escape rooms or puzzle games in their free time? Well, there are many reasons.
Cognitive need and improvement
Here’s the thing: even people who aren’t the biggest fan of puzzles get a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment from solving one. That’s because our brains like things to fit together. We try to make order out of chaos and find patterns where there aren’t any. Therefore, it’s inherently satisfying to get to the solution of a puzzle when everything slots into place. It’s very easy to get addicted to chasing that high, which is one reason why people become escape room enthusiasts!
Puzzles are an excellent way to train your mental capabilities as well. They make you better at problem-solving in general, as well as improve your memory and critical thinking skills. This comes in handy in scholastic settings, helping students do better in class, but it also has general applications for everyone. Many issues in life do not have the clear-cut solutions that puzzles do, but coming up with possible answers in those situations is easier when you have built up your cognitive skills.
Different kinds of puzzles help train different abilities, so doing something like an escape room with many different styles of puzzles works out various parts of your brain. If you’ve played an escape room or another puzzle game before, you might have noticed that you felt tired afterwards. That’s because it really is a mental workout!
Training your brain takes effort, just like training your body, so doing puzzles at regular intervals is genuinely healthy. Children’s toys often take the form of puzzle solving, which shape fits in which hole for example, to set these cognitive building blocks in place. On the other end of life, doing puzzles as you get older can help you keep your mind sharp! It really is a net positive for everyone.
Besides the cognitive benefits, some people like to do puzzles for the challenge that they present. Either for personal satisfaction or to compete against others, for these individuals, the struggle is as much a draw as finding a solution. These are the people who time themselves when doing crosswords and keep track of the hints they use in escape rooms. They strive to get on leader boards and complete the most difficult puzzles as fast as possible.
It might surprise you to know that there are actual official competitions for jigsaw puzzles, crossword puzzles, Sudoku, and more! Some competitions have also been set up for escape rooms, though these are often less centralized than the other puzzle tournaments. For people who participate, it can be more than just succeeding that matters; it also is important and worthwhile to do well.
Bonding and community
Puzzles are often thought of as solo activities, but that doesn’t have to be true. Escape rooms are a great example, with them almost always relying on teamwork for success. But there are many other puzzles that have brought people together over time. There are countless stories of people who have a particular time set aside to do puzzles with a friend or family member, like solving the Sunday morning crossword. Sometimes it’s that kind of collaboration which lets people learn to enjoy them in the first place!
Puzzles have also allowed people to bond over long distances. The internet is the great facilitator of this. You might have heard of ARGs (alternate reality games). These multi-media projects are often full of mysteries that require some searching and solving in the real world. People come together online to discuss theories and share what they’ve found. Completing an ARG wouldn’t be possible without teamwork from people in many different places. They are one of the best examples of how puzzles and problem-solving truly can bring people together.
There are countless examples of online puzzle collaboration. The game Destiny 2 has had some mysteries that people discovered and worked on together on sites like Reddit, which allowed them to uncover in-game lore and missions. Single-player game series like Zero Escape and Ace Attorney have built up large online communities where people bond over the story and shared puzzle-solving experiences. Some YouTube channels are entirely dedicated to puzzle-solving, creating digital communities around the hobby. All-in-all, many relationships have been built in many different ways through working together to solve puzzles.
Mostly, though, people like to solve puzzles because it’s just fun. Combing all the previous reasons makes for a really enjoyable time. There’s nothing quite like coming together with people you know and solving something as a group, or the self-confidence boost you get from completing a puzzle on your own. It may not be for everyone, because nothing actually is, but many people get some enjoyment out of puzzle-solving!
Want to try some puzzle-solving of your own?
Take on the puzzles in our escape rooms! Call a host or book an escape room online today.