Hong Kong in video-games: mafia culture and urban fabric as a source of inspiration
In a recent article, Demain La Ville explores Hong Kong and its representation in video-games. The global Port City, at the juncture of Eastern and Western cultures has long fascinated filmmakers such as John Woo or Wong Kar-Wai and its particular atmosphere has in turn inspired video-games makers.
Hong Kong is a city of traditions, where Cantonese and Chinese cultures mix with Western influence. The kitschy sets of fighting games such as Street Fighters or Fatal Fury evoke this blend of cultures and the traditions of Kung-Fu, popularized by Bruce Lee’s movies. The city’s crime scenes and its various triads have also inspired the plots of action-adventure games such as Sleeping Dogs or Strangehold.
Video-games have also taken over Hong Kong’s urban fabric in their sceneries. The densely built Chinese enclave of Kowloon Walled City (demolished in 1994, but well documented), with its narrow and dark alleyways, has been a perfect set for the shooting game Call of Duty: Black Ops. Another feature of Hong Kong’s urban fabric is celebrated in both video-games and movies: the colorful neon lights which give the city its peculiar aesthetic. A fantasized Hong Kong has thus been a source of inspiration for pop culture.