Papers, Please was one of 2013’s surprise indie game successes; Lucas Pope’s attempt at capturing the emotional toll of working as an immigration officer. The challenge is to inspect immigration documents and determine whether they are in order.
The game is set in the fictional dystopian nation of Arstotzka in 1982. The border security crossing has just been opened up again. You’ve been sent there, and now live with your family in a government housing estate. You have a limited amount of time to process people at the security gate each day. You’re pay is based on how many people you get through, with fines for incorrect processing.
At the end of each day, your income and expenses (for food, rent, electricity, medicine for your wife/son/elderly parents) are shown. You need to rus to process enough people so you don’t have to go without food or turn off electricity at home. If you make too many mistakes you get fined and you don’t get to care for your family.
The art style, audio and interactions – between days via a daily newspaper, and with the people as they enter through your booth and the events that unfold during that – really help paint a picture of a desolate soviet wasteland of misery and poverty. Combined with the aim of putting food on the table for your family so they don’t starve, and it can be quite high-tension and far more gripping than you would expect.
You can get it at http://papersplea.se/