Thursday, April 18, 2013

Papers, Please

Well, this is brilliant.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun had a story earlier this week about a game in beta titled Papers, Please, where you play as an immigration inspector. Here's a description:
A Dystopian Document Thriller. 

The communist state of Arstotzka has ended a 6-year war with neighboring Kolechia and reclaimed its rightful half of the border town, Grestin. 

Your job as immigration inspector is to control the flow of people entering the Arstotzkan side of Grestin from Kolechia. Among the throngs of immigrants and visitors looking for work are hidden smugglers, spies, and terrorists. Using only the documents provided by travelers and the Ministry of Admission's primitive inspect, search, and fingerprint systems you must decide who can enter Arstotzka and who will be turned away or arrested.

That may sound quite mundane, but the appeal of the game lies in its ability to wring a surprising amount of tension and stress out of a life where you inspect documents all day. There is terrorism, and fraud, and pleas for help, and you also have a family at home who depends on you to survive, but your income is tied to how many applicants you can process during the workday. If you make a mistake, you can be fined, but if you don't work at a steady pace, you won't be able to make enough money to feed your family.

It's stark and depressing, and I mean that as an absolute compliment.

There will be a wide divide on this game. Some of you will play it and think it's the most original, intelligent game you've played in years. Others will try it and absolute despite it immediately.

I also consider that a compliment.

The beta is publicly available, and I don't think there's ever been a game quite like this one.

George Orwell would have highly approved.

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