Modern Game Design: part I.


All right! A new game, a new adventure! It’s Sleeping Dogs! Hong Kong kung fu action thriller, baby! Let’s go kick some ass!


Okay, me and my man Jackie Ma are getting pretty tight. He’s my way into the triads, so that I can bust some hoodlums. Let’s go meet the gang.


Oh man, Hong Kong looks amazing!  I mean, we’re not even in the city proper yet, but look! Clotheslines hanging across cramped spaces, dozens of air conditioner fans hanging out of windows…


…and here’s a food stall! You can see the chickens hanging up above, that’s neat.


Hey, this guy’s carving up some poultry, right out in the open! I wonder if this is a common sight in Hong Kong?


Wha…what? But…I didn’t even do anything yet! Come on, I was just looking around! Can’t you wait for a bit, Jackie? I’ve never been to Hong Kong before, Jackie, let me look around!

Okay, so Jackie’s not going to wait for me. All right. Let’s go meet the triads instead.


Hey now, tough guy. You think you’re all that, donch’a? Must be nice being part of the triads, huh? What’s that? You want me to boss around some vendors? Sure thing, muscle man. Yeah, we’ll play along for now, Mr. Bigshot, yessir.


Wow. This is really cool. I guess there’s some sort of festival going on, with dancers and confetti and traditional music. I really feel like I’m in the middle of Hong Kong, this is pretty awesome! I can’t wait to explore this place, but first, let’s go back to the restaurant for a sec…



Hey! I barely moved! I’m literally only a few steps from where you started me, game!



Again? Seriously? I wasn’t going to go far, I swear! Don’t you trust me, game? Don’t you want me to explore this awesome place you made?

Fine, I get it. Don’t leave Jackie. Jackie is my lifeline, stick to him like glue. Stay with him so we can extort money and issue beatdowns like the game wants us to. Whatever you do, don’t leave Jackie, or…I might hurt his feelings, I guess.


Okay, we’re done shaking down vendors. The mission’s a success, we got some money, some new clothes, and best of all, no more Jackie! We’re on our own, free at last! There’s a whole city ahead of us! The atmosphere of this place is really great, I can’t wait to find all the cool things waiting for me. This woman at this stall wants me to do a favor for her, but I think I’ll see what else I can find first.


Goddammit, game! What the hell is wrong with you?  This isn’t even an important mission! The gang isn’t asking me to do this favor. I’m not even sure they know who this lady is! I don’t know who she is, either! But somehow, my job as an undercover cop is tragically undermined by not making a delivery for this woman who I probably will never see again. Right.

You know, I get it. I get that you’re trying to teach me, game. I understand that I have to stay on the rails for a bit before you can let me loose. But can’t you find a better justification for it? Can’t you find an easier way to herd me in the right direction? There have got to be better ways of forcing me along the path than this brute force method of an instant Game Over screen.

Well, at least these failures can’t get any dumber.




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