Gamers are used to the grandeur of large scale environments. It seems the sheer size of a game world is one measurement of the success of Triple-A titles. The same can be said of many films that aim to enthrall viewers in a vast landscape, fantastical or otherwise. Admittedly, there is a strong visual appeal to enormity. The visual spectacle of Lord of the Rings conveys the magnitude of the film’s quest. Similarly, swooping down over a valley in Dark Void or traversing an open desert in Red Dead Redemption can evoke an overwhelming sense of awe or even solitude.
Conversely, there is an entire sub-genre of adventure games that emphasize small enclosed spaces: “escape the room” puzzles. Most of these are flash based games playable in a browser. They are some of the hardest and most complex gaming experiences available, which have earned them a massive and devoted fan base. These games also have their film counterparts, some of which succeed in many ways that these games have not. These confined experiences, some isolated to just a single room, evoke entirely different sensations than huge and sweeping tales and can teach us a great deal about game design as well.