I have movies that define an era in my personal life. They radically change the way I see the industry. A side effect is that for the following couple of weeks after watching the movie, all others seem to suck. They just don’t compare. This wears off with time, but the benign scar still remains.
Thankfully, I’ve had the luck of having the same feeling with the gaming industry through “Papers, Please”. This game challenges the very fabric of games themselves. It is an experience like no other. As a designer, it will make you doubt everything you’ve ever believed in.
“Papers, Please” takes a grim premise and a seemingly simple mechanic and transforms them into a pioneering work of art. The game starts slow, and you don’t really know what to expect. In fact, some players may even be turned off. But it doesn’t take long before you it grabs you and doesn’t let go. You’ll be surprised to be so engaged in a game of such simplicity.
Above all, the game brings a new way of storytelling. It defies all conceptions and drives its narrative in unconventional and original manners.
If you’re a game designer, you must play this game. Scratch that. If you’re interested in the history of gaming, you cannot continue living without playing “Papers, Please”.