22nd Entertainment Division Excellence Award
KABUKI-CHO DETECTIVE SEVEN
TEAM DETECTIVE7(KATO Takao / NISHIZAWA Takumi / HIRAI Masataka / HORITA Nobu / IWAMOTO Tatsuro) ［Japan］
This immersive game event spans the entirety of Kabuki-cho in Shinjuku, Japan. The player works alongside shady detectives like a former yakuza, an unbeaten gambler, and a safecracker to solve cases and become the seventh detective at the Seven Detectives Agency. Once players check in and receive their game kits with instructions, they attempt to solve various mysteries while interrogating cast members at real Kabuki-cho locations and obtaining items that serve as clues. Digital tools play a big role, too, with video clips and LINE chat app conversations with various characters. When they solve six cases, they gain access to “the final problem.” The depth of experience escape-room game company SCRAP has built up, along with a deployment that captures the contextual changes in Shinjuku’s districts, contributes to making players feel like they have become real detectives.
Reason for Award
There are tons of detective novels, films, and video games. This game, though, makes the player a character in the story. The elaborate direction is superb, giving shape to a bold setting of real Kabuki-cho batting cages, bars, and so on that set the stage. I felt it should be judged as a work of art. Playing this new diversion feels different than reading, going to the theater, playing video games, or solving an escape room. Future versions will be able to take individual experiences from different occupations and present them as a full-fledged story with real geographic areas and situations. A karaoke machine offers this kind of casual work experience. If this game expands into similar offerings, other jobs can have their day in the sun—not just detectives. Even a shuttered district can make a comeback. This is district-wide karaoke, and it has a lot of potential.