Widely lauded as the most influential and important game of 2013, with its impact still reverberating through the independent scene today, #PapersPlease pulled the paranoia of the 1980s Eastern Bloc and placed its citizens' fates in players' hands.
In the game the player dons the role of an immigration inspector in Arstotzka, a fictional communist nation shrugging off the dust settling from a six year war with neighboring Kolechia after having reclaimed the border outpost town of Grestin. Directed by the Ministry of Admission's rigorous jurisdiction, the inspector must dedicate themselves wholly to the safety and prosperity of Arstotzka, for lurking in the sinuous queues of immigrants are spies, smugglers and terrorists that threaten their country's fragile peace.
As the sun sets on each shift, the rulebook becomes increasingly intricate, requiring more documents to prove a visitor's right to entry and more thorough searches of automatically suspicious citizens of Kolechia. Correct use of the red and green stamps will keep your glorious Arstotzka proud and secure, but will you turn away an elderly lady desperate to see her son one last time?
When you're forced to scrimp and save so that your family have bread on the table, will you be tempted by a bribe surreptitiously slid from a smuggler? Will you survive to see Arstotzka rise again as a golden, global power, or will you gaze down at your spattered hands after its tragic implosion?
Big questions for a weekday afternoon. All humor aside, these are quandaries that were all too real during this tumultuous period of European history, and still hold significance amidst today's international conflicts and humanitarian efforts. Fans stated that they soon realized that their playthroughs of the game were shockingly similar to the struggles their relatives had undergone, showing that these grim realities emulated in Papers, Please were not so distant after all.
A film adaptation of the game couldn't be more timely
Lucas Pope, developer of Papers, Please, revealed four production shots of the future short film, flaunting dimly lit, bleak sets and an astonishing attention to detail.
Audiences expect most video game-to-film adaptations to come with a healthy amount of hammy dialogue, a few mile-high explosions and more impossible stunts than you can (safely) shake a stick at. However, Papers, Please aims to offer a serious examination of our human values as well as our current sociopolitical climate.
As freedom and power becomes an even greater moral minefield with each breaking headline, the short film will undoubtedly inspire a number of questions from fans new and old. Whether or not we're ready for the answers, remains to be seen. Glory to Arstotzka!