Issue 9

Papers, Please

A critically acclaimed indie game by Lucas Pope, Papers, Please offers a unique insight into the conflicts that arise between national allegiance and morality. 

Players are assigned the role of a border inspector in the fictional nation of Arstotzka – and are tasked with approving the entry of legal citizens of the country, as well as visitors from neighbouring nations with valid visas. 

With each passing day, increasingly stringent rules and regulations are placed upon the player, as the state of affairs between Arstotzka and its neighbours rapidly deteriorates. They encounter a variety of moral quandaries – such as having to decide whether to allow illegal migrants fleeing their home country in fear for their lives, or in search of their long-lost families. To add to the weight of the players’ dilemmas – each time they allow someone into the country incorrectly, their income and their family’s food rations are slashed. Thus, players must make important decisions each day – with their family’s life and their nation’s fate hanging in the balance. 

Papers, Please offers a uniquely accurate insight into modern insider-outsider narratives, the use of calls to ‘nationalism’ for masking State supported oppression, as well as the moral  dilemmas that emerge as a result of the same.

Picture Credits: Steam