Papers, Please is a graphical adventure game developed and published by 3909 for the PC (via Steam,, and the Humble Store) on August 8, 2013. Described as a "Dystopian Document Thriller", players control an immigration inspector for the fictional Soviet-style nation of Arstotzka during Cold War-era 1982 (right after a six-year war with neighboring Kolechia).

As inspectors, players have the powers (and responsibilities) to control the flow of people entering Arstotzka through their half of border town Grestin. Players must inspect the credentials of incoming civilians (noting any irregularities) and either accept or deny entry. As days go on, the rules of entry change (adding further complexity and difficulty) and players are introduced to new techniques and technology to detain terrorists, smugglers, pimps, and other undesirables. Players are also tasked with processing as many people as possible in order to earn money to feed their family and keep them warm through the harsh winter.

Throughout the story, national and international politics become complicated, and players must make difficult decisions (leading to any one of the 20 possible endings).


Story Mode:

In Papers, Please, the gameplay centers around fact checking and searching for discrepancies in paperwork presented by applicants. Each day begins with a new set of instructions that have been influenced by story events. In the beginning, the player's job is relatively simple with having to only check Arstotzkan passports and deny entry to all other nations. As time moves on, the game introduces more complex procedures and the player will eventually have to cross check work permits, entry permits and even conduct intrusive scans to search for contraband or weapons or in some cases verify gender.

The primary tool of the trade is the Rulebook, which is updated with all the relevant new directives which the player must enforce. With all documents out and open, the player enters an investigation mode where they click any two items to check for discrepancy. For example, if the entry permit has a different passport number than the passport itself, one need only to click the two items to enable the option to question the applicant and possibly detain them. In the case of missing paperwork, the player must simply highlight the rule in the Rulebook and the tabletop.

Each day, the player is afforded two warnings before there are consequences for making mistakes during checkups. The player is given the opportunity to help people, which will be reflected in the next day's newspaper.

Endless Mode:

When the player manages to survive story mode with their job intact, they will receive and unlock a code for endless mode. Endless mode comes in 3 different forms, and each of those forms has four selections which dictate which documents and rule set will be included (from the simple rules from the start of story mode, to the more complex ones at the end of story mode). There are separate leaderboards for each of these modes/rule sets for a total of twelve leaderboards.

The timed course gives the player ten minutes to correctly process as many people as possible. Each person correctly accepted/denied gives a point, and making a mistake docks 30 seconds from the time and doesn't give a point. This mode stops immediately when the clock hits 0, even if the player is currently dealing with somebody's documents.

The perfection course does not have a set time limit; it terminates when the player earns a citation. The player is encouraged to move quickly by getting bonuses depending on the clock. (+10 for processing somebody within the first minute, dwindling down to +1 at ten minutes and remaining that way for the rest of the round.)

The endurance course also does not have a set time limit. The player earns a point for each person they correctly process, and citations remove points. For each citation, the amount of points removed is increased (first citation being minus five points, the second being minus ten points etc.). It terminates when the player runs out of points.

A Dystopian Document Thriller:
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.


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