GG.PRO, a hotel management and consulting company, has installed dozens of security cameras and more than 100 QR code displays in the ruins of the former ホテル愛花夢 "Hotel Aikamu" in Kobe, Japan, to create a real abandoned hotel escape adventure game called "Q Search!" opening on Tuesday, February 22 and running through Thursday, June 30.

In addition to providing thrills with this amazing location and a murder mystery backstory sure to please fans of Japanese horror and escape games alike, there's an additional aim behind this unique project. While 廃墟 haikyo (ruins) exploration has become more popular in recent years, the trend has also resulted in an increase in unauthorized entry, theft, and vandalism of abandoned property. GG.PRO seeks to contribute to local crime prevention by providing a way for players to enjoy the cool setting but in a safe and legal way. In fact, in previous trials of escape adventure games at the ruins, no crimes were subsequently reported.

Social problems associated with abandoned buildings

With dilapidated hotels, factories, and large commercial facilities scattered throughout Japan, there is no end to the vandalism, arson, and theft of materials by trespassers. In general, abandoned buildings are seen as a problem in Japan because they spoil the landscape and may become a breeding ground for crime, so there is an urgent need to review the abandoned building management system and establish laws to prevent crime in the community.

However, demolishing abandoned buildings is not feasible for a number of reasons, including resolving ownership rights, prohibitively high costs, and the challenge of creating added value to the region. Furthermore, due to the high cost of ownership, crime prevention measures are limited to the installation of barricades and cutting off utilities, with no regular patrols possible.

The ruins of the Aikamu Hotel

About Q Search

Q Search is a fictional narrative adventure game in which visitors must clear a number of conditions in order to proceed to the final destination, with the goal of uncovering the truth behind a horrific murder and appeasing the vengeful spirits associated with the now-abandoned building where it happened.

The QR codes contain important information such as stories, hints, and messages. In addition to reading the QR codes, your smartphone is required to (1) illuminate the areas you'll investigate, (2) communicate with the organizers, (3) receive information, and (4) use other applications. The time limit is 40 minutes. Communication skills are essential as all participants must work together to read numerous QR codes and reach the goal efficiently. (Knowledge of Japanese is highly recommended).

Promotional video:

Event details

  • Name: Q Search!
  • Venue: Former Hotel Aikamu (4029-1 Karato, Arino-cho, Kita-ku, Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture)
  • Period: Tuesday, February 22nd, 2022 to Thursday, June 30th, 2022 (no regular closing days)
  • Open hours: 18:00 - 23:00 daily
  • Capacity: Max. 8 people per session
  • Fee: 1,650 JPY/person (tax included)
  • Participation Method : Reservations must be made in advance through the official website
  • Payment Method : Credit card payment in advance through the official website, or on-site payment by cash or other means (prior notice required if you wish to pay on-site)
  • COVID-19 measures : Thorough hand disinfection, promotion of mask use, 24-hour ventilation, small group size
  • Official website (Japanese only)

Future goals

GG.PRO will continue to invest a portion of their profits on crime prevention efforts, working with a wide variety of companies, organizations, and local governments to create a new business model, aiming to complete a sustainable abandoned building crime prevention scheme. Q Search! is also scheduled to be held in Shiga and Osaka prefecture within the next year.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.