He had one hour to escape the Eminem-inspired jail — or he'd walk the plank.

"Captain Mathers" had thrown CBC Calgary journalist Paul Karchut in the hold of the "Real Ship Shady."  

"There are cellphones on pirate ships, right?" pondered Karchut after he failed to solve a series of challenges that would have ensured his release.

Karchut was in a pickle. So he rang his boss, Calgary Eyeopener producer Jennifer Keene, for help.

"She's probably gone out for coffee. It's totally gone to voicemail," he said.

"She told me that she would be there."

In all honesty, Karchut willingly got himself into this mess. He was playing a game, called an escape room.

How it works is groups of people try to break free from a locked room by finding hidden objects and solving a long list of mind-games, before the clock runs out.

"If you solve all the puzzles in the room within an hour, you can escape," said Kyle Fitzgerald, co-owner and manager of The Locked Room.

The northeast Calgary business is the first of its kind in the city, but escape rooms have been gaining popularity for the last few years in Europe, Hong Kong and other Canadian cities.

"It's a great team building exercise, a lot of puzzles can't be solved solo," said Fitzgerald.

The Locked Room has three escape rooms which hold six to eight people per game. If mutiny on the high seas is not your cup of tea, you can get trapped in a wine cellar or a Pac Man-inspired vortex.

And if your team is really struggling to get out, Fitzgerald says he'll give you a break

"We have a hint-system set up where they can ring a door bell and one of us will come into the room and guide them in the right direction."

He says the success rate without any clues is 15 per cent.

If you're yearning to lock up your friends or family and throw away the key, it will cost you $24.95 per person.