Treasure Quest Enoshima -- On a small island near Tokyo, people armed with Nintendo DS portable game consoles are scouring the terrain in search of clues that will lead them to a secret treasure. The activity is part of a unique, virtual-meets-real-world game called "Treasure Quest: Enoshima - Treasure of the Dragon," which was developed by Rush Japan, a Tokyo-based company that specializes in planning treasure hunts and tourism-related events.

The free game is open to Nintendo DS owners with the means to travel to Enoshima, a small island (4 kilometers in circumference) in the town of Fujisawa about 50 kilometers south of Tokyo. After picking up the free software, players are sent off to interact with their DS and move about the island in search of clues, which are obtained through both the physical environment and the game console. The game makes use of the DS's wireless capabilities, and at certain key locations on the island where players obtain clues, the on-screen scenery matches that of the physical surroundings. Players can locate the treasure after obtaining all the pieces of the puzzle and putting them together to solve the mystery, which the developers claim is no easy task.

Rush Japan, who developed the game as an innovative way to stimulate tourism, hopes the Nintendo DS's popularity with people old and young will attract a diverse group of players to the island. Their goal was to create a game that both the players and the locals would appreciate.

The treasure hunt is held from 10 AM to 4 PM every day until February 19, and reservations (required) are being accepted online through the Treasure Quest website. (The website and game are in Japanese.)

[Source: Shonan Keizai Shimbun]