I have never questioned my morals so much while playing a game before until I played Papers, Please.
A few weeks ago, my very knowledgeable other half introduced me to one of his favorite games, Papers, Please. Papers, Please is a game that is unlike any other game that I have played before, and I sucked at it at first.
In Papers, Please, you work for the fictional dystopian county named Arstotzka. Arstotzka had just opened up its borders and you work in the immigration office at a border checkpoint. At first, you start off with only allowing only those who were born in Arstotzka though and then it starts to get complicated.
You have to start looking at all of the details on the passports and papers that are required to enter your great county of Arstotzka. For every one of them that you screw up on, you are possibly fined a fee and you only make money on the number of people you let into your country. Essentially you don’t make a whole lot of money, but have to take care of your large family on that kind of pay. Let’s just say, one of the times I played, my entire family died quickly and I lost the game.
Yet, the further you get… The more things start to get weird and you start having moral dilemmas with the choices you make. Do you let a family stay together? Do you finally let an old man though who has been trying over and over again? What do you do? This games comes with twenty possible different endings.
At first, it was a frustrating and hard game. I mean, there’s so much to look at and affirm before you let the people through, but your family is dying! THEY’RE DYING BECAUSE YOU SUCK AS A BORDER PATROL! Gawwww! So yeah, my first family died because I couldn’t afford food, heat and medicine. Of course, I had to start over.
Yet the next time, I’ve gotten far enough to where I’ve accepted a bribe from a secret group and now I’m kind of scared to go back to the game. Sure, my family is happy and healthy for once… but my character is at risk for being found out by the Arstotzka government for accepting a bribe from a nationalist group and being a traitor, while the group I may or may not help is expecting me to help! There’s so much pressure!
Then on top of it you still have to do your job. So, I don’t know… It’s a very stressful game that makes you question your morals. I’m thankful that I live in a country where I don’t have to make decisions like this.
Over all, this game makes you question what you would do if you were put into that situation. So far, I’ve learned that just by accident and not paying attention, I ended up helping terrorists and nationalists groups. Whoops. Thank goodness this is a video game.
Information on the developer: http://dukope.com/
Papers, Please: http://papersplea.se/
Lucas Pope Twitter: @dukope