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JohnBEsc is a key on your keyboard. It's also one of the most difficult three-screen point-and-click games you'll ever play. Made by Japanese programmer YCC, Esc reaches deep for logic puzzles that are laughably obvious -- once you toil over their answer for half an hour. If you don't beat the game in ten minutes, say goodbye to the rest of your afternoon.

Esc.jpgThe game takes place in what appears to be a small three-room prison cell. On the left is a small cabinet with two drawers, on the right is a table and chair. In the center is a big steel door locked with a fancy looking number pad and screen. And... that's it. There's only one clue to kick things off: a notepad on the desk. Good luck.

Esc thankfully doesn't employ the "click every pixel" strategy many room escape games do. There are maybe two instances where it isn't clear what to do next, but because the game is so small it encourages you to use trial and error and re-visit previous locations. Getting certain items or doing certain things often changes the scenery, so a little backtracking is in order.

Finding the clues isn't necessarily the challenge, it's learning to use them. You have to do a little lateral thinking in order to apply the hints to the game. It's one of those moments that after you figure out what to do, you'll feel awfully silly for not thinking of it before.

If you're ready to be frustrated, or if you're one of those people who could solve it in just a few minutes, give Esc a go. Play.

Thanks to Hannah for sending this in!

Update: There is apparently a game file that is supposed to load when you click Play at the very beginning, but it's missing, so the game is not playable any longer. If the situation changes, please post a comment about it, otherwise, move along folks, there's nothing to see here.


Ok folks! Here's my very own walkthrough for the game. You pretty much have to do things in the order listed, as some clues only open up once you have done certain things. Because there are only a few places to look/click, trial and error will get you pretty far in the game. Use this walkthrough as a last resort. :-)

First step:

Click on the notepad to get the number 4.

You might miss this pixel hunter:

Click just to the side of the drawers to get the number 6.

Meaning of 2/3:

Open the top drawer twice, then the bottom one three times (hence the 2/3). Get the card.

Precise clicking:

Click on the corner of the chair. Open the drawer there to get the 326 card.

The passcode:

Go to the door. By matching the colored squares on the cards, you can get a five digit passcode: 43269

New numbers:

A new code appears on the door: 1/0

Haven't you learned yet?:

Recognize the fraction? Open the top drawer once. Take the little brick in the shadows.

Last action:

Go back to the drawer in the chair. Click the empty space to fill it with the brick.

The real last action:

Click the door handle. You're free!


Ty for the walkthrough :)


im having trouble looking for the number 6

WickedFanOne April 23, 2006 4:44 PM

Why did you say it's three rooms?? I don't understand, I thought there was more.... the only hard part was finding the clues, but we have a walkthrough, so all's good in the end....


It's 10pm... I'm going to regret starting this one, aren't I?

lennyjaxn April 23, 2006 5:14 PM

yeah, i can't seem to click on the right pixel to retrieve the 6 either.


The lack of sound is really, uh, starting to bug me.


I don't know if the game isn't responding, or if I can't do something, or if im on the wrong track, or...

Other than that, I really enjoy these minimal escape the room games. Especially when the game designers re-use the same objects many many times for different purposes... it just makes the whole thing seem so clever.

dany2009 April 23, 2006 5:19 PM

"Esc is a key on your keyboard. It's also one of the most difficult three-room point and click games you'll ever play"

this game is supposed to be hard? i believe you.....


You say click the corner of the chair... but there is more than one corner to a chair... is there something I am overlooking?


NOOOO I CLICKED THE TOP DRAWER!! WHAT ARE YOU TAKING ABOUT??? WHAT BRICK IN THE "SHADOWS"??? What is wrong with you man there is no brick in the weird "shadows", i think your delusional... somone post a decent walkthru!



if you look really close near the drawer, you will notice tiny difference


but you can see only one corner


check bottom part of the drawer... look carefully you will notice tiny difference

MatrixFrog April 23, 2006 10:24 PM

Annie, it's on the lower right and extremely extremely faint. Adjust the constrast on your screen if necessary.

And I think he meant three screens, not three rooms.


Wow, without a walkthrough I would have never gotten anywhere with this one. How does the final code work? Red, red, no mark, blue, blue seems logical but completely unapparent. Tough puzzle.

baba44713 April 24, 2006 3:45 AM

For the game that is "not a pixel hunter" it is kinda strange that about 90% of the time it took solving it was, ahem, extreme pixel hunting.

kt belle April 24, 2006 4:06 AM

Ok, I finished the game with a little help from the walktrough... But it leaves me with one question...

what's the h card for? The one you get in the bottom drawer after you do 2/3

kt belle April 24, 2006 4:09 AM

Oh wait, I get it. Played the game again, and now I see:

the h is a chair, the red circle is where you have to click it.

Primitive April 24, 2006 4:28 AM

Ugh... any game where you have to find a 6 pixel area on the screen is not a good game. Two thumbs down.


two things that were not very obvious in the walkthrough

re #6:

when clicking the "side of the drawers" you should be in the far view of the drawers, not close up. click between them and the wall.

re the chair corner:

again, you need to be far away from the desk, not close up. click the corner that is underneath the desk.

GreenPeace April 24, 2006 12:00 PM

i still dont gett the brick in the shadows thing.
what right corner? of the room? i checked by the chair there's a shadowy place there but no brick.

and what's the point of inserting the brick into the desk drawer?


Madboy, regarding the final code:

For the passcode, what you're doing is connecting the colors.
The 4 has the red in the upper right, the 3 with the red in the upper left. Placing the 4 card to the left of the 326 card connects the reds together to form 4326.
Now you connect the blues together... only they won't touch how they're currently arranged. 6 is luckily one of those numbers that you can flip upside-down to make 9 and doing so lets you connect the blues: 43269.


That was ok...too short, though.


I really can't find the brick in the drawer. Can someone give slightly more straight-forward directions?



The brick in the shadows: You must get to the point where the digital display on the door says "1/0". Then click on the top drawer and the brick will be there. It is small and difficult to see though, but not so difficult that you won't be able to pick it out.


The drawer on the chair can be seen be clicking on the corner of the SEAT of the chair.


I finished it but it was annoying and short...awful :(

baba44713 April 25, 2006 6:43 AM

Afwul, awful game. Significantly below par when compared with other true gems that can be found on this site.

Actually, this is one of the very few games I'd like to see removed from "jay is games". The clever bit with the fraction number really cannot save it from being really amateurish, ugly and unintuitive.

Three thumbs down (I've grown an extra thumb especially for this game)


I had to click on it about twenty times before i got the brick. TY JAE!! AND JAY!!! lol!

Fredthesecond April 25, 2006 8:09 PM


I'm still having problems finding this number 6. Are you talking about on the actual drawers or the wall. And how high up the wall or drawers are you saying. Sorry - how frustrating!



Aargh...I started this one on the assurance that it wasn't a pixel hunt, and the very first puzzle is a pixel hunt! Aargh, I say. Aargh.


This game is frustrating, it's a pixel clicking game, where if you don't click on every freaking pixel, you might not finish the games. previous games like crimson room, anything by takagism series is good, u solve puzzle, not clicking each and every single stupid pixel to get thru.

Strangelander April 26, 2006 11:16 AM

Apparently I'm not the only one who gets disgusted with games like this. Never mind the artificiality and incongruity of the puzzles, there's no connection between solving them and the results:

Why would clicking the drawers 2/3x result in you getting a piece of paper? Why does putting half a brick in a chair suddenly make the door open? And not even a hint of a narrative or justification.

The game that PO'd me the most was Blue Chamber by FASCO-CS. Crimson Room and Viridian Room were brilliant (in places) and fun, and V.R. had an intriguing narrative. They were internally consistent, if not entirely logical.

Then, in B.C., you write "HELP ME" on a piece of paper, pneumatic tube it, and it gets sent back from the outside world with an added skull and crossbones between the words. Obviously, you're supposed to go to the phone and dial HELP*ME in numbers (4357*63, 'cuz we all know how the Jolly Roger looks like an asterisk/star), then send the money that the outside guy rejected earlier. WHAT THE CRAP!!??! You wrote the HELP ME!!!! It just happened to be the phone number to call???!?!?! I repeat, what the crap!?!

It ain't easy writing a mostly logical point-n-click (I'm attempting one now), but for crying out loud, folks, if it's worth doing, it's worth doing well. Make something that makes people say "AHA!" instead of "I feel cheated. And used."

Don't get me started on Esc's sterile 15-years-ago graphics...



LOL. Nice rant, Strangelander, and I totally agree with your assessment of the often disappointing quality of point-and-clicks that have dominated the Web of late.

I, too, enjoyed the narrative of Viridian Room and also thought it was a brilliant. Unfortunately, there have been far too many people who thought "Heck, I could make something like that!" ...only to fail in creating a compelling or engaging experience.

Knowing that, I would love to see what you come up with! Let us know when you plan to release it. =)

By the way - for anyone disappointed by this one, be sure to check out John's review of Matt Slaybaugh's Escape to Obion games. It's an excellent series of point-and-clicks created by someone learned in the theories of game design.


unlike the comment that says this is one of the most difficult point & click games i think the most difficult part was to find the #6 key left to complete the game beside the drawer, besides that its really simple and it can be finished really fast if you click everywhere around the objects of the room.


i also agree with Strangelander:"Why would clicking the drawers 2/3x result in you getting a piece of paper? Why does putting half a brick in a chair suddenly make the door open? And not even a hint of a narrative or justification."


Like feichler31 said, Esc is just a quick little game. I enjoyed all 20 minutes of it. :-)

As for narrative and justification, I really don't see a place or reason for them in this game. Sure, some games really need it (Wind Waker springs to mind), but I felt Esc was meant to be a short little brain teaser and nothing more.

I never had trouble finding any of the clues, but I can see how some people might think there were pixel hunts. Sorry folks!

Strangelande: Like Jay said, drop a line when you're finished with your game. Looking forward to seeing it.

Evilwumpus April 26, 2006 9:43 PM

Miserable. Nothing made sense, as Strangelander said. The thing with the fractions was clever, but it wasn't enough to save it. Also bizarre was the sudden materialization of the bricks and numbers, and the fact that using the bricks miraculously opens the door. Yet another annoying bit was the fact that when you did something right, there was no sign or sound to indicate so. A little bit of text saying, "I unlocked the door" or similar would be a vast improvement. Also annoying was the pixel hunts, which wouldn't be too bad if it was just 2 out of many puzzles, but the game is so samll that it turns half the freaking game into a pixel hunt.


Ahh. I feel sooo stupid.


since this is such a "pixel hunt," how about someone tell me which pixel to click to get that 6 card!!!

other than that, i finished with the walkthrough since i needed that last number to be able to finish it... thanks kids!


how d'a get the red box thing out of the drawer at the corner of the seat



You don't need to get the brick out of the tiny drawer, you need to put something INTO it


A game like this is so simple! It only took my about 5 or so minutes! Nice though, I'm completely addicted to escape the room games.

Kristin May 10, 2006 11:10 AM

ahhh I finally tried this one again and found that 6 card...

it's to the LEFT SIDE if you're looking at the drawers... i kept clicking the right & i'm sure there's someone out there other than me that's had the same problem! :)


whoa....i would've been completely DEAD without ALL of these helpful hints, so thanks to all of you!

frustrated2 March 29, 2007 11:27 PM

boy, what fun! a black screen with the word play in the middle! hours of enjoyment!


Yeah, this game is not loading past the "Play" button. Move along folks, there's nothing to see here.


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