The Dark Realities of Border Control in Papers, Please
Papers, Please is a video game developed by Lucas Pope and released in 2013. Set in the fictional country of Arstotzka, the game puts players in the role of a border control officer. The objective of the game is to inspect and process the documents of individuals seeking entry into the country, while adhering to strict rules and regulations. Papers, Please gained significant popularity and critical acclaim for its unique gameplay mechanics and thought-provoking narrative.
The game’s popularity can be attributed to its innovative approach to storytelling and gameplay. Unlike traditional video games that focus on action and adventure, Papers, Please offers a more mundane and realistic experience. Players are tasked with performing repetitive tasks such as checking passports, verifying information, and making decisions based on limited information. This unique gameplay style provides players with a sense of immersion and realism, allowing them to experience the challenges and pressures faced by border control officers.
The role of the player as a border control officer
In Papers, Please, players assume the role of a border control officer working at a checkpoint between the fictional countries of Arstotzka and Kolechia. The player’s job is to inspect the documents of individuals seeking entry into Arstotzka and make decisions based on the information provided. The goal is to ensure that only eligible individuals are granted entry while denying entry to those who do not meet the requirements.
The mechanics of the game involve examining various documents such as passports, work permits, and entry tickets. Players must carefully inspect these documents for discrepancies or inconsistencies, such as forged stamps or incorrect information. They must also cross-reference the information provided with a rulebook that outlines the specific requirements for entry into Arstotzka.
The pressure to meet quotas and maintain efficiency
One of the key aspects of Papers, Please is the pressure to meet daily quotas and maintain efficiency. As a border control officer, players are expected to process a certain number of individuals within a limited amount of time. Failing to meet these quotas can result in penalties, such as a reduction in salary or even the loss of the job.
The importance of meeting daily quotas is emphasized throughout the game, with constant reminders and notifications. This creates a sense of urgency and adds to the overall tension and stress experienced by the player. The pressure to meet quotas often leads to hasty decisions and potential mistakes, highlighting the challenges faced by border control officers in real life.
The impact of political and social issues on border control
Papers, Please explores the impact of political ideologies and social issues on border control policies. Throughout the game, players encounter various political events and policy changes that affect their job as a border control officer. These events are often influenced by the political climate and ideologies of the fictional countries.
The influence of political ideologies on border control policies is evident in the game’s narrative. Players are required to enforce strict rules and regulations that reflect the government’s stance on immigration and national security. This highlights the role of border control officers as enforcers of government policies, regardless of their personal beliefs or opinions.
Additionally, Papers, Please addresses social issues such as terrorism and immigration. The game presents players with difficult decisions regarding individuals who may pose a threat to national security or those seeking asylum from dangerous situations. These decisions force players to confront the complexities and moral dilemmas associated with border control.
The dehumanization of immigrants and refugees
One of the most striking aspects of Papers, Please is its portrayal of immigrants and refugees. The game depicts these individuals as faceless, nameless entities reduced to mere documents and numbers. This dehumanization is a reflection of real-life border control practices that often prioritize efficiency over empathy.
By reducing immigrants and refugees to mere documents, Papers, Please highlights the dehumanizing effects of border control policies. Players are forced to make decisions based solely on the information provided, without any consideration for the individual’s personal circumstances or struggles. This serves as a critique of the dehumanization that occurs within the border control system.
The consequences of denying entry to individuals
In Papers, Please, denying entry to individuals can have significant consequences. For some, being denied entry means being sent back to dangerous or oppressive situations. The game presents players with individuals who are desperate for a better life or seeking refuge from persecution. Denying these individuals entry can result in dire consequences for them.
The impact of denying entry is not limited to the individuals themselves. In some cases, players may encounter individuals who offer bribes or attempt to manipulate the system in order to gain entry. Accepting these bribes can lead to personal gain for the player, but it also compromises their integrity and potentially puts them at risk of being caught engaging in corrupt practices.
The ethical dilemmas faced by the player
Papers, Please presents players with numerous ethical dilemmas throughout the game. These dilemmas often arise from conflicting responsibilities and moral obligations. On one hand, players are expected to uphold the law and enforce border control policies. On the other hand, they may feel empathy and compassion towards individuals who are desperate for a better life or seeking refuge.
The game forces players to make difficult decisions that have real consequences. They must weigh the potential risks and benefits of granting or denying entry to individuals. These decisions often require players to prioritize their own well-being and job security over their empathy for others, highlighting the moral complexities faced by border control officers.
The corruption and bribery within the system
Corruption and bribery are prevalent themes in Papers, Please. The game presents players with opportunities to engage in corrupt practices, such as accepting bribes or forging documents. These actions can provide personal gain for the player, but they also come with significant risks and consequences.
Engaging in corrupt practices can lead to penalties and even the loss of the player’s job. Additionally, players must navigate the potential consequences of their actions, such as being caught by superiors or facing legal repercussions. This aspect of the game serves as a commentary on the prevalence of corruption within real-life border control systems.
The emotional toll on the player and their family
Working as a border control officer in Papers, Please takes an emotional toll on the player and their family. The job is demanding and stressful, with constant pressure to meet quotas and make difficult decisions. This can lead to feelings of guilt, anxiety, and moral conflict.
The impact on the player’s family is also explored in the game. Players must balance their job responsibilities with their family’s needs and well-being. This adds an additional layer of complexity and emotional weight to the gameplay experience.
The consequences of making mistakes or breaking the rules
Making mistakes or breaking the rules in Papers, Please can have serious consequences for the player. Mistakes can result in penalties, such as a reduction in salary or a warning from superiors. In some cases, players may even face legal repercussions for their actions.
The impact of making mistakes or breaking the rules extends beyond the immediate consequences. Players must also consider the long-term implications for their job and reputation. This adds an additional layer of pressure and stress to the gameplay experience.
The commentary on real-life border control policies and practices
Papers, Please serves as a commentary on real-life border control policies and practices. The game raises awareness about the challenges faced by border control officers and the moral dilemmas associated with their job. It highlights the dehumanizing effects of strict border control policies and explores the impact of political ideologies on immigration.
The relevance of Papers, Please in today’s political climate cannot be overstated. The game provides players with a unique perspective on the complexities and ethical dilemmas associated with border control. It encourages players to critically examine the policies and practices that govern immigration and raises important questions about empathy, compassion, and the role of border control officers in society.
In conclusion, Papers, Please is a thought-provoking and immersive game that explores the challenges and moral complexities of border control. Through its unique gameplay mechanics and narrative, the game raises awareness about the dehumanizing effects of strict border control policies and the impact of political ideologies on immigration. It serves as a commentary on real-life border control practices and encourages players to critically examine the ethical dilemmas faced by border control officers. Papers, Please is a significant contribution to the gaming industry, providing players with a thought-provoking experience that challenges their perspectives on immigration and border control.