Familiar looks in make-believe worlds

Local | Bernard Charnwut Chan 7 Nov 2018

Hong Kong's urban landscape - neon and skyscrapers - has become part of global popular culture.

Science fiction fans know the futuristic city in the 1990s' movie Bladerunner was inspired by Hong Kong. And many backdrops in the Japanese animated film Ghost in the Shell are in Hong Kong. The locations are popular with tourists because of it.

More recently, Hong Kong has been appearing in computer games.

According to a post by academic Hugh Davies at the M+ Stories website (https://stories.mplus.org.hk/en), around 140 video games feature Hong Kong in some way. Most of these games were designed overseas. But many of them draw on Hong Kong cinema, including martial arts themes.

And as with the films mentioned above, many of the visuals in these games portray futuristic cityscapes that are clearly borrowed from Hong Kong's architecture.

And they are not always ultra-modern scenes. The grimy and chaotic Kowloon Walled City appears in great detail in several games, including ones featuring zombies or monsters. In Japan, there is a physical three-story games arcade modeled on the now-demolished Walled City.

The M+ Stories platform is produced by M+ Museum in Chinese and English, and it aims to engage with the community by sharing ideas and background about the museum's work. It includes blog posts and videos as well as interactive online exhibitions.

Other recent subjects on the site include photographs of the celebrated Holly Lee and a conversation with curators explaining how they do their work. Check it out.

Bernard Charnwut Chan is chairman of The Jockey Club CPS Advisory Committee


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