Frames of Preference: Papers, Please

Papers, PleaseThe recently-release PC game Papers, Please is a fascinating simulation of the border checking office of a fictional Eastern Bloc country in the 1980’s. The player has to examine documents for each immigrant, and choose to allow them in or not based on various discrepancies in their credentials. It’s both oddly compelling and hard to play because of how these simple actions make the player feel. Do I let the poor mother in because her son is dying, even though the birth date on her passport is wrong? Having to make ends meet to feed your family and keep them healthy adds to the misery and monotony of the game. The art style is similarly drab and oddly sterile, which fits with the endless repetition of the passport checking. It’s a unique experience that’s more thought-provoking than fun, but it balances puzzle elements with genuine pathos in a way most games don’t dare to.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s