Papers, Please by Lucas Pope
Unique. Retro. Weirdly atmospheric. Darkly humorous. Easily the best bureaucracy sim you’ll play this year.


In “Papers, Please” the year is 1982 and you are a border guard who is assigned with protecting a fictional Eastern European country from smugglers, terrorists, and typographical errors by scrutinizing passports and permits for discrepancies. If you do your job well and don’t make waves, you may earn enough to both house AND feed your family for another day. On the other hand, make the occasional “error” in the right person’s favor and maybe you can earn a little extra.


The graphics, sound, and interface are an excellent fit for the 1980s setting; PC gamers of a certain age may love this game for the nostalgia factor alone. The gameplay consists of dragging documents around a desktop and comparing them against each other, with rewards given for quick accurate work and penalties given for errors — this has no right to be any fun, but somehow it works. It is also the lens through which you experience the game’s various stories; as powerless as you may feel, you are in a position to change the life of many of the characters you meet, for better or worse.


Glory to Arstotzka!


game: papers, please

developer: lucas pope

publisher: lucas pope

release date: august 08, 2013

other games like it: life & death (from jake smith and don laabs) and phoenix wright (from capcom)

author: samwise