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Papers, Please

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Papers, Please is an award-winning indie puzzle video game created by Lucas Pope. Set in the fictional, authoritarian country of Arstotzka, the player is a border inspector who regulates the border checkpoint in Grestin. They must determine who to admit, and who to keep out.

Development Edit

Main article: Game development

Papers, Please thematically follows the dystopian setting already seen in Pope's earlier games. The game features mid-res pixel art and many items and backgrounds use a limited palette of roughly 3 shades.[1] The game was developed in 2012–2013 and uses the OpenFL engine (previously HaxeNME).


Official game descriptionEdit

"The communist state of Arstotzka has ended a 6-year war with neighboring Kolechia and reclaimed its rightful half of the border town, Grestin. Your job as immigration inspector is to control the flow of people entering the Arstotzkan side of Grestin from Kolechia. Among the throngs of immigrants and visitors looking for work are hidden smugglers, spies, and terrorists. Using only the documents provided by travelers and the Ministry of Admission's primitive inspect, search, and fingerprint systems you must decide who can enter Arstotzka and who will be turned away or arrested."[2]


The protagonist of the game is an unnamed male immigration inspector, who has been chosen for the job via a lottery. With a mother-in-law, wife, son and uncle to take care of, the family manages to just get by each day; in addition to rent, heat and food must be accounted for at the end of the day, lest the inspector's family members will start falling ill.


Main article: Game modes
2013-08-21 00019

The main interface of the game.

The gameplay of Papers, Please mainly centers around checking and verifying documents of NPCs who wish to enter Arstotzka.

Story modeEdit

There are 31 playable days in story mode, with 20 different endings. Endings are determined by daily decisions and interactions made by the player. Initial gameplay is simple, but each new day brings new rules, regulations and features to pay attention to; failure to comply can result in penalties.

Endless modeEdit

Endless mode is unlocked by entering a five-digit code said in one of the twenty endings. A five-digit code can be entered in the game menu to play this mode. 


The game has generally received positive reviews thus far, with a score of 88/100 from Metacritic[3]. Publications such as Eurogamer, Polygon and PC Gamer (UK) have also all given Papers, Please scores between 80-90%.


  1. Initial dev log post by Lucas Pope on TIGSource forum.
  2. Copied in entirety under fair use from F.A.Q. section of Retrieved August 9, 2013.
  3. "Papers, Please". Metacritic. Retrieved August 9, 2013.

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