Gameplay Journal Entry #7
This week, I’ll be talking about Papers Please!
Papers, Please is a game set in the fictional country of Arstotzka, in the year 1982. The player is in control of a border agent for this totalitarian state, and must decide who can enter the country. The player must also help the agent’s family, some of whom are sick. As the game progresses, the player may follow different paths to unlock different endings. Game endings may vary, from following all instructions of the government and being praised, from helping the revolution against the government begin. The game itself gives insight as to how immigrants are treated, especially when trying to enter a fascist country.
Games such as Papers, Please permit players to go through situations they would most likely never experience in real life. “Playing such games can have a political impact because they allow players to embody political positions and engage in political actions many will never have previously experienced…” (1) Although one could argue that the experience gained would also depend on the factuality of the game itself, games can still give a general idea of a situation. I, in my life, am highly likely to never be a border agent for a country, so a game such as Papers, Please can help me glimpse into the power fascist countries have, especially at the most basic level.
(1) Bogost, I. (2006). View of playing Politics: Videogames for politics, activism, and Advocacy: First monday. Retrieved March 02, 2021, from https://firstmonday.org/article/view/1617/1532