The reason I love the Steam Holiday sale is because every year I seem to find some small, $3.00 Indie game that blows me away. This year is no exception. Last night on Christmas Eve, after everyone had gone to bed, I sat down for what I thought would be an hour, to try out some of the games I picked up on sale. One of those games happened to be Lucas Pope’s cold war title, Papers, please! On sale for just $3.99, I was intrigued by the description:
The October labor lottery is complete. Your name was pulled.
For immediate placement, report to the Ministry of Admission at Grestin Border Checkpoint.
An apartment will be provided for you and your family in East Grestin. Expect a Class-8 dwelling.
Glory to Arstotzka
Needless to say, I was up until 2am stamping visa papers.
Being a fan of every cold war novel from back in the day, I thought this little game might be fun. I loaded it up and was immediately rewarded with 8 bit graphics, straight out of the 80’s. The story quickly fills you in that you are a poor citizen of a fictional eastern block communist country, Arstotzka. After being notified of my great fortune of being randomly picked to work a border checkpoint, I’m thrown right into the job in West Grestin. Each day you receive specific orders, based on turmoil that is currently happening in the country. Terrorist attacks from the Kolechians, trade disputes from Impor, etc. Based on these events, you are ordered to deny citizens from certain countries or require further documentation. One by one, they step up to your window with sad stories of missing relatives, dying children and political asylum. To add to this pressure, your communist bosses come down with a heavy boot heel if you make a mistake. And you have a family to feed!
Dont let the graphics turn you off. Personally, I thought they added to the retro feel of the game. And yes, there doesn’t seem like stamping entry papers would be much fun as a game, but the pressure of making mistakes while trying to feed your family, just feels real to me. For a mere $3.99, this game offers hours of fun and was a complete steal!