Papers, Please
Papers, Please
Video games have lied to us. For years, games made us believe that soldiers and assassins have the most exciting lives. Papers, Please exposes their deception. It showed me that blowing off a terrorist's head or backstabbing a knight pales in comparison to stamping a passport.

Okay, being an immigration officer in a totalitarian state to support a hungry family would be terrible. In Papers, Please, though, it's downright thrilling. You pore over the details of every passport, adhering to a list of changing rules to ensure that you're properly vetting each immigrant. In time you'll have to take more drastic measures like checking their fingerprints or scanning their bodies.

These investigations aren't conducted at a leisurely pace. The more immigrants you properly process per day, the more money you'll bring home for your family. As the workday winds to a close, your eyes will dart back and forth between the clock and the pile of documents in front of you. Will you risk letting an immigrant through without a thorough inspection in order to make your quota?

While you're confined to a booth for the whole game, this turns out to be a great vantage point for this Cold War era conflict. Your power to admit or deny immigrants makes you valuable not only to the government but also rebels and criminals. Everyone wants your help as they try to victimize each other. It's up to you to chart your own course through their conflicts and ensure that there's food on the table back at home.

I understand if you're still skeptical. Papers, Please is a fun game cloaked with retro graphics and a very boring-sounding premise. Make no mistake, though: the folks at the Arstotzka immigration department are having a blast.

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