Friday, August 14, 2020
Video Game Tourist

Let’s Enjoy A Hong Kong Trip with Sleeping Dogs 1 – North Point

Sleeping Dogs North Point ScreenshotLet’s Enjoy A Hong Kong Trip with Sleeping Dogs - North Point

Sleeping Dogs is in my opinion, the best 7th Gen video game to enjoy a virtual Hong Kong trip with.


Ever been to Hong Kong?

If you have, I sure you’d agree with me when I say the former British colony is such an incredible mix of the East and West, the old and the new, and the rich and the poor. Within moments of stepping foot in Tsim Sha Chui, or Wan Chai, or just about any other Hong Kong district, you are surrounded by so many unique sights and sensations. While irresistible food seems to beckon you from every other cafe and restaurant.

If you have yet the chance yet to visit this amazing city, well, it’s a pity, but not an entire tragedy, for there is an easy way to do it virtually. In 2012, after years of transfer and development difficulties, Square Enix published what is now celebrated as one of the best open-world games of the 7th generation. Inspired by the popular triad movies produced in abundance by Hong Kong, United Front’s Sleeping Dogs is a dazzling, brutal and poignant adventure centred on an extended mission of undercover cop Wei Shen. With the game’s open-world featuring the most renowned areas of Hong Kong Island, this is a game practically made for virtual tourism. I’d go to the extent of saying it is a must-have title for all video game tourists.

Hong Kong Evening View from Victoria Peak.
Hong Kong. One of the best destinations for an Asian city trip.

But First, a Brief History of Hong Kong, the “Stage” of Sleeping Dogs

Hong Kong has been inhabited since prehistoric times but it remained largely unknown and unmentioned internationally till the First Opium War.

After that disastrous fracas, Hong Kong Island was reluctantly ceded to the victorious British Empire by Qing Dynasty China in 1842. Further defeats saw Kowloon also lost to Britain in 1860, followed by a 99-year lease of the New Territories in 1898.

Satisfied with its new possession of one of the best deep-water harbours in the world, the British went on to establish a crown colony, one that continued to grow and prosper till modern times. British control of Hong Kong subsequently lasted all the way to 1997, when all three territories were finally returned in full to the People’s Republic of China. (Amidst much unhappiness, might I add) Today, Hong Kong remains one of the leading cities of East Asia. In addition to being a global economic and cultural powerhouse.

What the Name Means

The name “Hong Kong” might be confusing for new visitors. Translated as “Fragrant Harbour,” it can refer to the first island ceded to the British or the entire ex-colony.

Generally speaking, usage of the name under most situations denotes the various territories as a whole. However, in daily conversations, some locals might still use the name to refer specifically to Hong Kong Island.

To give an example, “crossing over to Hong Kong” could mean going from Kowloon to Wanchai, Central, etc, by crossing over gorgeous Victoria Harbour. To add to the confusion, some travel literature also refers to the crossing in this way.

Hong Kong Island Location.
Hong Kong Island in dark green. The remaining area in light grey represents Kowloon and the New Territories. | Source: Jc86035

Sleeping Dogs, Our Travel Vehicle

Quick Links

North Point

Aberdeen & Kennedy Town

Central & Victoria Peak


All game screenshots are owned by United Front Games and Square Enix London.

Coming back to United Front’s Sleeping Dogs, this was my first proper open-world game on the Xbox360. With embarrassment, I’d share that I didn’t even have a clue what “open-world” was till I played Sleeping Dogs. For that matter, I didn’t even know about the game beforehand; I downloaded it for free from Xbox Live Gold.

Five minutes into the game, and I utterly captivated. Not only did the game contain spectacular action and an engrossing story, Sleeping Dogs reproduced the best of Hong Kong Island with astonishing flair. While Hong Kong sights have appeared in games such as Bujingai, never before has the fragrant harbour been rendered on such a scale, and with such detail and sound! To share again, Sleeping Dogs was the game that inspired me to someday write articles about traveling the world through video games. Till today, I still regularly replay it, mostly just driving around the vast areas while listening to the in-game soundtrack. Each time, I never failed to experience the enjoy of a virtual Hong Kong trip, all from the comfort of my living room.

Story

Sleeping Dogs is a classic Hong Kong gangster triad story. Protagonist Wei Shen is an undercover Hong Kong-American police officer tasked to infiltrate the powerful Sun On Yee Triad, the top criminal organisation in the dense city. His combat prowess soon captures the attention of the leaders of the triad, and before long, he is promoted to the rank of a branch leader.

As the triad descends into open civil war over who is to be the next chairman, Wei Shen finds himself locked within the power struggles between the two most powerful Red Poles (commanders). This gives him the golden opportunity to cripple Sun On Yee for good. On the other hand, the slightest mistake could result in a horrific death at the hands of the triad’s most notorious torturer.

Our Guide for this Hong Kong Trip, Officer Wei Shen

Officer Wei Shen from Sleeping Dogs.
“Follow me closely in crowded places. Don’t do what I do not tell you. And enjoy yourself.

Sleeping Dogs Hong Kong Trip Itinerary 1: North Point (北角)

North Point

The starting area of Sleeping Dogs, North Point (北角), or Pak-Kok­ in Cantonese, is a mixed-used urban district in the northeastern part of Hong Kong Island. Densely populated like the rest of urbanised Hong Kong, the area has a variety of architecture ranging from public housing estates, to luxury apartments, to public infrastructure like ferry piers. In recent years, North Point is also one of the main locations to enjoy traditional Cantonese opera, thanks to the venerable Sunbeam Theatre at the heart of it.

North Point is typically not on the itineraries of packaged Hong Kong trips, travel operators preferring instead to bring their guests to the more famous street markets in Mong Kok and Jordan. I wouldn’t say this is right or wrong, but having been to North Point a couple of years ago, I found the area more serene than the touristy areas. This is a good and convenient district to get a feel of how Hong Kong residents typically live. Nowadays, it’s probably also where a lot of attractive AirBnB offers are found.

North Point Picture References

Chun Yeung Street, North Point, Hong Kong.
Chun Yeung Street (春秧街) at the heart of North Point. There’s a busy street market here. | Source
King's Road Footbridge, Hong Kong.
Footbridge at King’s Road. | Source: Stomatapoll
North Point, Hong Kong.
More street scenery in North Point. | Source: Legoleehk

Update Nov 8, 2017: Check out my new photos of the night market!

Sleeping Dogs: North Point

Sleeping Dogs Day Time North Point Screenshot
“Let’s begin our North Point Hong Kong trip by taking a ride around the area.”
Sleeping Dogs North Point District
Pak-kok is nowhere near being the most attractive part of Hong Kong. But it’s where you can feel the real city.”
Sleeping Dogs North Point Day Driving Screenshot
“I’ll show you a secret spot.”
Sleeping Dogs Pier Side Screenshot
“The waterfront here is not as pretty as that in Tsim Sha Tsui. But again, it is more down to earth.”
Sleeping Dogs Screenshot
“Evening’s coming. Let’s head over to the Night Market.”
Sleeping Dogs Rainy Evening Screenshot
Dew. Evening shower. Quick, follow me!”
Buying food in Sleeping Dogs Xbox 360 Version.
“We’ll eat something while we wait out the rain.”
Sleeping Dogs North Point Night Market with Wei Shen
“All right. Free time. Try the snacks or get some new clothes. Don’t upset stall keepers by bargaining too hard. Meet me at the restaurant across the road when done.”
Sleeping Dogs Golden Koi Kitchen
“Finished shopping? Good. Give me a hand with dinner. We’re having Cantonese style roast goose.”
Sleeping Dogs North Point Night Driving Screenshot
“For our final itinerary, let’s go for another ride around North Point. Hong Kong might feel crowded and gritty to some tourists, but no one can deny it’s beautiful when the lights come on.”
Sleeping Dogs North Point Apartment
“Your accommodation for this evening. It’s basic. But there’s hot water and clean sheets.”
Sleeping Dogs Street Combat Screenshot
“Get a good rest … while I deal with some other matters.”





All screenshots are from the XBox360 version of Sleeping Dogs. A Definitive, High Res version has since been released. Naturally, the graphics are even more awesome in this enhanced version.

More References

Hong Kong Night Market scenery
A crowded Hong Kong night market.
Roast Goose Soup Noodles.
Delicious Roast Goose Soup Noodles. A must-try on any Hong Kong trip!

Like what you see? Support the game by getting a copy of Sleeping Dogs today!

Read my other Video Game Tourist posts.

Summary
Sleeping Dogs: A Virtual Hong Kong Trip Part 1 – North Point
Article Name
Sleeping Dogs: A Virtual Hong Kong Trip Part 1 – North Point
Description
Sleeping Dogs was my first open-world game on the Xbox360. In my opinion, it’s still one of the best games to enjoy a virtual Hong Kong trip with.
Author
Scribbling Geek
the authorScribbling Geek
The geek divides his free time between video games, movies, anime, and attempting to write decent short stories. Oh, and trying not to sprain his fingers from playing demisemiquavers on his Electone.

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