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“Papers, Please” [2013]

Lucas POPE

“Papers, Please”


In this game, the player assumes the role of an immigration inspector in Arstotzka, a fictional country in which civil wars and conflicts with neighboring countries have just ended, and “examines” arriving persons who wish to enter the country. The player’s failure to recognize fake passports leads to terrorist activities, while on the other hand, being too suspicious may destroy the lives and dreams of good citizens. The ratio of failed and successful examination results directly affects the assessment and salary that the player needs to feed his/her family, and the decision as to whether to grant applicants the desired entry stamp or send them back results in various realistic situations. This is how the work highlights the problem of ethicality in the act of “pressing a button” that video games generally involve.



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