Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Papers, Please: sending people off to die

Quite a grim game, it must be said, and difficult as well.  You play as a border control official in a 1980s communist country, and must verify passport details and grant or deny access.  As you work through the game, the complexity of your task increases - entry tickets, entry permits, work permits, ID cards, fingerprint searches, X-ray scanning ... all of this serves to slow you down, you make mistakes, and you serve fewer travellers in a day.

And serving fewer travellers is bad, as you get paid per traveller and it's not just you relying on your salary.  You will find yourself faced with choices over who gets the needed medicine, and whether food is affordable.  Couple this with days ending early due to terrorist attacks, and you may soon find yourself alone.

The game's currently in beta and ends after a few days.  There are some intriguing plot narratives which start to open, with people asking you to refuse entry to a certain individual to protect them, cards passed across with secret society details, and husbands and wives broken up.  There's a repeat character that turns up with fake details each day, and I'd be intrigued to see if he ever gets everything together.

It's brutally hard to keep your family well, and for the final game I hope there's an easier mode (maybe unlocked after playing the main difficulty, which highlights the difficult conditions in those countries at the time) where you're not expected to earn quite as much.  Even after much practice, the third day still saw me with virtually no savings to carry forwards.

I recommend that you all play this at some point, whether it's now or when it's eventually released.  Details can be found at

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