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Unsolicited: Play Papers, Please Creator's Nightmarish Junk Mail Game

Sweepstakes letters, credit offers, charitable donation requests, timeshare invitations… I’ve been diligently filling in form letters on behalf of each and every one of these companies as part of Lucas Pope’s new paperwork project, Unsolicited [official site].

The Papers, Please creator submitted the game as part of the Ludum Dare game jam. The theme was “You Are The Monster” and it’s a horrible-but-great experience in which you help send unsolicited mail.

Part of me is desperate to get all of those letters correctly filled out and sent each shift – just one more bit of junk mail! – and part of me hates that I’m even doing this in a game. Each of the blank fields in the letters must have the correct information, but it’s in a slightly different format in the drop-down menus than it is in your company data so there are lots of little moments where you do quick conversions of dates or need to seek out a name in both a surname alphabetised list and a first name alphabetised list.

I also started to worry I might be even worse than Pope’s vision of the player monster because I’m sitting here going “BUT WE COULD JUST FORMAT THE DATA CORRECTLY AND THEN USE MAIL MERGE AND REACH THOUSANDS”.

Thing is, the game has just become something else. Something darker. I won’t spoil it for you but I will say it’s in keeping with previous work.

You can play it free of charge online if you fancy.

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Philippa Warr

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