“The choices are yours, and yours alone.” — Olmec

If you were a fan of Nickelodeon in the 90s, there’s a good chance you longed to be a contestant on Legends of the Hidden Temple.  The show was hosted by Kirk Fogg, always clad in his trusty khakis and denim shirt, and Olmec, a mysterious talking head that guarded the temple gates.  Each episode, teams of two had the opportunity to compete in three rounds of mental and physical challenges.

Picture from StarFox-Online.net

The six teams, made up of one boy and one girl, were the Green Monkeys, Blue Barracudas, Red Jaguars, Orange Iguanas, Purple Parrots, and Silver Snakes.  Only one team would make it to the temple which was “filled with lost treasures protected by mysterious Mayan temple guards.”  The end goal was to retrieve the special artifact of the episode hidden away in one of the rooms.

In the first round, all six teams attempted to cross a shallow pool called the “Moat.”  The method to cross varied from episode to episode and only the four fastest teams moved on.  Round two was called the “Steps of Knowledge.” Olmec would tell the story of the special artifact and contestants’ memories would be tested.  The first two teams to make it down the three steps would move onto the “Temple Games.”  In these games, teams would face physical challenges that could be anything from climbing, sliding, spinning, or jumping.  Winning a round would give a team a “Pendant of Life.”  After three rounds, the team with the most pendants would move on to the final: “The Temple Run.”

Olmec’s TemplPhoto from Legends Wikia

This final challenge is an excellent example of an early escape room.  There was an item hidden somewhere in the temple you had to retrieve; then you had to figure out how to escape each room in order to make it to the exit.  In an escape room, you are put inside of a room or series of rooms, and must solve the puzzles to find the way out.  If you didn’t make it through the temple by the time the three minutes were up, you wouldn’t win.  If you don’t make it out of the escape room you’re in within the allotted time, you don’t win.  It’s a neat parallel and it’s obvious that Legends of the Hidden Temple was a precursor for today’s escape rooms.