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Have You Played... Papers, Please?

Step Inside The Booth

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Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

A lot has been written about Papers, Please [official site] and its political subject matter. It feels like not quite so much has been written about how fun it is to be border control agent in a totalitarian state.

This isn’t some miserabilist piece of neorealism your teacher makes you watch in history class. Papers, Please is an entertaining game about information; discovering it, retaining it, and applying it in a way that makes you feel clever when you get it right. There’s satisfaction to be had in studying the documents you’re handed, in questioning the people outside your booth, and in catching them in a lie.

The metagame, which encourages you to balance success with deliberate failure in order to earn enough money to feed your unseen family, ramps up the tension and is, yes, an ethically interesting quandary. But you’ll get the point pretty quickly. What makes me return to Papers, Please – and what makes me glad there’s an endless mode – is the simple pleasure of handling documents, scanning rules, and pressing chunky interface buttons when I’ve made my mind up.

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Graham Smith


Graham is to blame for all this.

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