Sometimes you can trace when you fall in love with a creative work to a single moment, of joy or wit or creativity. And so it was with Sleeping Dogs, video games’ answer to Hong Kong gangster flicks.
Our story begins with our hero, undercover cop Wei Shen, between missions — quite literally, as his next objective was some ways off. On foot, too far from his motorbike and too far from his destination, it looked like Wei was about to add a touch of verisimilitude — namely, vehicle theft — to his criminal disguise. Then I saw a taxi. Salvation! I sent Wei jogging over. The game popped up a message: “Hold Y to enter the taxi”. Y! Wei opened the door. Threw the driver out. And climbed behind the wheel himself.
Oops. What happened was, I had missed the “hold” part and tapped “Y” instead. So much for “not stealing a vehicle”, but oh well. When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. When Sleeping Dogs gives you an ill-gotten taxi, you drive off (and luckily for me, there were no police officers nearby to object). But just because I had turned Wei into an unwitting car thief didn’t mean other cars on the road would disappear. In due course I ended up in the queue at a red light, patiently waiting my turn to go. So imagine my surprise when a passerby climbed into the taxi — only to open the door again and run for her life when Wei said, mildly, “Do I look like a cab driver to you?”
That made me laugh. It was the perfectly logical thing to happen in that situation — the taxi was stopped, Wei wasn’t carrying anyone, and there was no way the would-be passenger could have known he was not a real taxi driver. And yet, it was so delightedly unexpected — how often do games obey real-world logic, instead of their own? That bit of clever thinking by the developers sealed the deal for me. I can’t wait to see what else they may have in store.