More Papers, Please

Two minor things I wanted to mention after talking about Papers, Please recently.

First, Collin shared this video with me. It’s fantastic. Glory to Arstotzka!

arstotzka civilization 5 papers please

Second, there’s a mod for Sid Meier’s Civilization V that adds Arstotzka as a nation. I don’t play Civ V, but the mod seems interesting to me anyways. It’s created by Snakeeater337 and can be found on Steam as Arstotzka (Requires BNW) for Sid Meier’s Civilization V).

Papers, Please: Complicit in tyranny through paper-pushing

Papers, Please

Every day is exactly the same. “Papers, please.” She slides her papers to me – hopefully all of them. I look at her passport. I check the Entry Permit. I validate her Work Pass. I verify her Certificate of Vaccination. I compare the papers, looking for discrepancies. Just when I’m about to approve her for entrance to Arstotzka, I realize her Work Pass expires before her Entry Permit. She seems so sincere about it being a mistake that I’m torn; for her sake, I want to grant her entry, but I’ll get fined if I do, and I desperately need money. Putting my own well-being first, I could deny her entry.

Papers, Please

But if I’m going to think of myself, I could have her detained. I get a kickback when I detain people.

Papers, Please

Choices like this are the crux of Papers, Please by Lucas Pope. You’re awarded a job as an immigration inspector in the labor lottery. While the job starts simply with only a few pieces of information, the rules become more complex as political tensions grow.

Papers, Please

Do you look out for your self and family, uphold the ideals of Arstotzka, or work to undermine the totalitarian government? Papers, Please is filled with fascinating moral choices. Unlike most games that have choices that either don’t matter or are quite obvious, you’re presented here with ambiguous situations. Is it right to let a suspected sex trafficker into Arstotzka if his papers are in order? If he really is a sex trafficker and you grant him entry, you’re harming people. If you deny him entrance, you help people, but you get fined, and you desperately need money. And what if he’s not really a sex trafficker at all? It’s scary to me to think that real people have to make decisions like these every day. By playing Papers, Please, it gives you perspective on how one becomes so complicit under a corrupt government. The job seems so dull but can have vast impact. And as you mundanely follow your orders, just being a good citizen, you allow corruption to spread.

Papers, Please

While it sounds like such a simple game, Papers, Please has an exciting story with many endings. With so much ambiguity, I don’t even want to talk about the major story branches of the game, but there are some drastically different turns with a handful of successful (albeit very different) endings and a multitude of failures. After beating the game, you also unlock the endless mode, which didn’t interest me as much.

Papers, Please

Papers, Please has been one of my favorite games since I first played it. I sunk more than 40 hours into it and earned all the achievements. Writing about games isn’t very difficult, but writing about games I love is. It’s hard to do the great games justice. (Note the lack of a post on Portal.) However, it seems appropriate that my 100th published post on this site is about a game I truly love.

Papers, Please

Glory to Arstotzka.

Papers, Please, Gamer’s Edition is full of collectibles

papers please

The Gamer’s Edition of Papers, Please was just announced, coming with a Steam key for the game, a keyring, a full set of Arstotzkan password and paperwork, Arstotzkan stamps, a Glory to Arstotzka poster, a suitcase, ink pad, approved and denied stamps, an inspector’s pin, and an immigration rule book for Arstotzka. Amazing. You can see an idea of what they believe it’ll all look like above. Note that I took the image from Gamer’s Edition.

Papers, Please is the 2013 game simulating work as an immigration officer in Arstotzka, a fictional, totalitarian country borrowing concepts of Eastern Bloc countries as well as dystopias such as that of the government in 1984. It’s one of the best games I’ve ever played, leaving the player wondering if each action they take is good or bad. For a game based on paperwork, it’s fun and really opens your eyes.

Gamer’s Edition is a new site that aims to deliver “the ultimate version of great digital games,” similar to the collector’s editions that tripe-A, physical titles get. It was designed primarily with indie games in mind, but the important requirement is that it’s a digital game. I think it’s a neat idea.

The Gamer’s Edition of Papers, Please costs $70, and they’re only producing the number that are ordered. I wish I had more money to spend right now, because I don’t have the money to spend on something like this right now. However, Gamer’s Edition seems to be a site worth watching.

Glory to Arstotzka!