Thursday, April 13, 2017

Papers, Please (PC)

"Morality, like art, means drawing a line someplace." --Oscar Wilde

Source: Screen Capture from Game

Papers, Please is politically charged, simulation game created by 3909. You play as a resident of Arstotzka who has had their name drawn for the October labor lottery. This means you get to work at the border and process the lines of people trying to get into Arstotzka, for any number of reasons. It’s important to follow the rules, or you may be penalized—and you have a family to take care of.

You’ll have to budget your earnings to cover your rent, food, and heating expenses, and medicine if anyone should need it. This gets harder and harder to do as the game goes on. As you go to work each day, you receive new rules and policies to follow. For example—one day  you may need to only check a person’s passport, and entry papers, but the next day you may need to verify a person’s passport, entry papers, and perform extra checks for specific nationalities also. It gets complex, and time consuming. You need to work quickly though, since your pay is determined by how many people you service during your work time.

The time limit can cause you to feel some serious pressure, as you are concerned about making mistakes, but also making enough money to feed your family and keep them warm. You can also buy booth extras(shortcuts which really help), or upgrade to a better apartment. However, you also have to beware your own neighbors. Happen to accumulate too much wealth(such as through accepting bribes…) and you neighbors may tip off your government, who will then swoop in and confiscate all of that wealth, leaving you cold and broke again.

Source: GiantBomb

I have tried to play through the game about 4 times, and 14 days is the farthest I have made it into the game. This game is full of moral dilemmas. If a man has the proper paperwork, but his wife doesn’t, would you allow his wife to pass through with him? Or would you deny her entrance? How about a woman who begs, telling you that she will be killed is she is forced to return to her country? Ordeals like this are what makes the game difficult for me, because deep down I am a bleeding heart. But it is also what makes this game so compelling.

The characters themselves are interesting, and act in a way that makes them seem real. The emotions that they convey in their desperation can be heart wrenching. This game works out best if you can be cold and keep your priorities in order. Heck, while I was typing this blog entry I was editing my tumblr page layout and watching a Rob Dyke stream on Youtube. But, I digress. 

The controls for the game are point and click, and the booth upgrades you get, or at least the ones that I had gotten, integrated some keyboard controls to be used as shortcuts. Such as pressing shift to bring out the "accept" or "deny" stamper instead of having to take the extra time to move the mouse to the side to click. The keyboard controls really were helpful to get through the immigrants quicker.

The graphics of Papers, Please are attractive, retro pixel styled graphics. I always liked the retro pixel aesthetic, and the grim appearance of the graphics are complimented by the harsh music and sound effects. 

Overall, I really enjoyed Papers, Please. This game is political, emotional, and intense. Just when you think you’re doing well, something is guaranteed to happen to knock you down a peg. While you’re down, Arstotzka is likely to kick you while you are down too. In any case, you can get the game on Steam *here*. The price is normally $9.99, but you know me—I got it on sale.

Let me know if you’ve played Paper, Please, and what you thought about it! How far did you make it? Were you able to complete the story mode? Comment below!

Happy Gaming, Friends!



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