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Papers, Please is a puzzle simulation video game created by indie game developer Lucas Pope, developed and published through his production company, 3909 LLC. The game was released on August 8, 2013 for Microsoft Windows and OS X, for Linux on February 12, 2014 and for iOS on December 12, 2014. A port for the PlayStation Vita was announced in August 2014, and was then released on December 12, 2017.
In Papers, Please, the player take on the role of a border-crossing immigration officer in the fictional dystopian Eastern Bloc-like country of Arstotzka, which has been and continues to be at political hostilities with its neighboring countries. The game takes place at a migration checkpoint in Grestin, a border city split between Arstotzka and the neighboring country of Kolechia, and a fictional parallel of the Cold War-era division between East and West Berlin. As the immigration officer, the player must review each immigrant and return citizen's passports and other supporting paperwork against an ever-growing list of rules using a number of tools and guides, allowing in only those with the proper paperwork while rejecting those without all proper forms, and at times detaining those with falsified information. The player is rewarded in their daily salary for how many people they have processed correctly in that day, while also being fined for making mistakes; the salary is used to help provide shelter, food and heat for the player's in-game family. In some cases, the player will be presented with moral decisions, such as approving entry of a pleading spouse of a citizen despite the lack of proper paperwork, knowing this will affect their salary. The game deals with the issues of keeping up with immigration policy in an ever-changing political environment. In addition to a story mode which follows several scripted events that occur within Arstotzka, the game includes an endless mode that challenges the player to process as many immigrants as possible.
Pope came upon the idea of passport-checking as a gameplay mechanic after witnessing the behavior of immigration officers through his own international travels. He coupled this with a narrative inspired by spy thriller films, having the immigration officer be one to challenge spies trying to move in or out of countries with fake travel documents. He was able to build on principles and concepts from some of his earlier games, including his The Republia Times from which he also borrowed the setting of Arstotzka. Pope publicly shared details of the game's development from its onset, leading to high interest in the title and encouraging him to put more effort into it; though he initially planned to only spend a few weeks, Pope ended up spending about nine months on the game.
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Papers, Please System Requirements
- Operating System: Microsoft Windows XP / 7 / 8
- Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo
- RAM: 2 GB
- Video Card: OpenGL 1.4
- Hard disk space: 50 MB