Video games are created to escape the routines of everyday life. There are platform games where your goal is to you stomp on turtles and evil mushrooms, while there are shooting games where your goal is to annihilate terrorists and bandits. With all those video games that create fantasies for ordinary people to enjoy, surely there won’t be a game where you can play as a government employee doing office work, right?
Except that, there is such a game that takes you to office work and that game is called Papers Please. This absurd paperwork simulation game is solely developed by Lucas Pope. As weird as the concept sounds, Papers, Please is actually a very great game. But what is so fun about playing as an officer to do paperwork? There is more to this game than that.
In Papers, Please, you are in the borderline of the city of Arstotzkha, where you play as a newly-recruited immigrations officer by the city’s government. Your job is to process immigration documents from various people trying to enter Arstotzkha, and determine whether they are allowed to enter the city or not. At the beginning of the game, you can only allow Arstotzkha nationals to enter and only if their passports are not expired. On the second day, you begin to accept foreign nationals but only if they have an entry permit while you can accept Arstotzkha nationals if they also have an ID as proof.
The objectives of the game may seem borderline-monotonous, but the developer added twists in the game. One of these twists is that the Arstotzkha government implements new rules to combat smart and tricky terrorists, spies and criminals trying to enter the city. These rules range from additional permits and documents to mandatory fingerprint and full-body scans, so the game becomes more complicated. Another twist is that you need to process enough applicants a day in order to raise enough money to feed and take care of your family. You only earn five credits per successful process and you can adjust your budget whether to feed or buy medicine for your family.
However, the biggest twist in Papers, Please is the number of mini-stories involved during the game. Some applicants actually interact with you from your desk, with a number trying to bribe you money in order to pass. On the contrary, there are applicants who desperately want to enter the city even if they didn’t follow the requirement, because they have families waiting for them on the other side. This video game rewards or punishes you for your decisions and with twenty possible endings, each decision can trigger an event. On top of that, there is a faction of oppressors who want to overthrow the corrupt government, so even the fate of Arstotzkha lies on your hands – and your stamp.
This game was actually produced and created by individuals who had their ACLS recertification online. Surprisingly, it is often those who have the most training and know-how that create the most interesting of games. Those who have ACLS recertification online are trained on how to act in an emergency situation. This includes if a person has a heart attack or stroke. While this doesn’t happen every day in the office, having ACLS online certification training is important.
Papers, Please is not the most fun video game out there, but the intrigue alone is enough to pull you in – and the storyline tugs you to complete the game and see what happens at the end.