Congratulations. The October labor lottery is complete. Your name was pulled. For immediate placement, report to the 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.
User reviews: Overwhelmingly Positive (8,738 reviews)
Release Date: Aug 8, 2013

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Buy Papers, Please


Recommended By Curators

"I don't like this game, but I respect it. It made manning a passport station gripping and challenging, though it's certainly a grim tale."
Read the full review here.


“Buy, study, and share this game as an example of video games as true art.”
BUY – Ars Technica

“ is absorbing, brilliantly written and causes you to question your every instinct and reaction - both in the game and in real life.”
9/10 – Eurogamer

“Papers Please is a fantastic idea, beautifully executed.”
8.7/10 – IGN

About This Game

The October labor lottery is complete. Your name was pulled.
For immediate placement, report to the 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

The communist state of Arstotzka has just 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.

System Requirements

    • OS: Windows XP or later
    • Processor: 1.5 GHz Core2Duo
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: OpenGL 1.4 or better
    • Hard Drive: 100 MB available space
    • Additional Notes: Minimum 1280x720 screen resolution
    • OS: OSX Mountain Lion (10.8)
    • Processor: 1.5 GHz Core2Duo
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: OpenGL 1.4 or better
    • Hard Drive: 100 MB available space
    • Additional Notes: Minimum 1280x720 screen resolution
    • Processor: 1.5 GHz Core2Duo
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Hard Drive: 100 MB available space
    • Additional Notes: Minimum 1280x720 screen resolution
Helpful customer reviews
692 of 750 people (92%) found this review helpful
2.7 hrs on record
Personal Rating: "Worth playing"
Traditional Rating: 8.5/10
Genre: Indie

There are a number of themes at play in the gripping and bleak Papers, Please. It's stark and almost clinical in its execution which fits perfectly with its dystopian setting where you assume the role of an immigration inspector controlling the flow of people entering the recently opened borders of the Communistic State of Arstotzka. Arstotzka is as far flung from a Utopian society as you can possibly get as your paltry daily wages are ♥♥♥♥♥ repeatedly by an ever increasing rent, the need to feed the mouths of your family and the possibility of them getting ill and requiring the need for medicine and expensive medical care.

Papers, Please is also very Kafkaesque which is only further amplified by its almost colorless graphics and brutal take on paper bureaucracy. With Arstotka ruled by an oppressive government, every day is a constant fight for survival where your eyes, ears and mind will need to be at their most finely tuned best. The sense of impending doom that perpetuates each short play-through often looms large and from all corners. Keeping your family safe and well fed obviously feeds into this but Arstotzka is, as you would have guessed, not a happy place to live. You will often be faced with smugglers, spies and even terrorists arriving at your border gate, each determined to spread their own form of misery or joy (depending on how you view the world) should you let them through border control. These occurrences can often have devastating effects on you and your families well being.

Papers, Please is also about what is means to be human in a bureaucratic society that values work, duty and loyalty to the State above the wants, needs and concerns of its citizens. You could also argue that it's about freedom (or the loss there of) and the hollow reality of what that actually means or that it's about the demise of human compassion and how human understanding and those deep connections we all have to our fellow human man are strangled to death through totalitarian bureaucracy. There are so many thematic elements on display here that it's quite outstanding. You will often be faced with situations where your very humanity will be tested. Like life - much of this decision making that you are presented with resides comfortably in the grey and will often appear inconsequential just like the proverbial butterfly who flaps its wings in the west only to raise a tsunami in the east. Since every coin has two sides, things are never quite as simple as being black or white, good or bad. One deed could easily end up further paving the way towards hell (so often laid brick by brick with the best of human intentions) as much as another could end up being the catalyst that brings about a positive revolutionary change. Your families needs will also play heavily into this this decision making where some days, just to make up your quota so that you will have enough monies to purchase medicine for your deathly sick wife or child, you will end up condemning other citizens to their deaths.

Papers, Please games are short but exciting with the possible outcome of twenty different endings. I managed on my first play through to get arrested because I had run into the red with regards to my rent. With my family sent away I was left to languish in a jail cell. Starting out simply your duty is to either approve or deny a persons entry into the country by stamping their passports. Slowly - layer upon layer is added to the game. One day you will happily accept foreigners into the country with a valid passport the next - not so - as they will need to supply you with an entrance visa or work permit. Dates on permits will need to be thoroughly checked and validated and ID numbers, date of births and genders correctly matched-up with the authorities being notified (or not) should there be any discrepancies. Your days are also heavily influenced by what is occurring in the newspapers for the day so should an escaped convict arrive at your gate it is up to you to either detain them or let them through. Things get more and more complex as your desk literally starts to litter with pieces of useful information and papers about the possible citizens approaching your gate. Get it all wrong and deny a person entry or let the wrong person through and you could face the possibility of going home with a smaller wage packet should the authorities detect your transgression. It's really up to you to decide whether or not you will benefit from this which is made all the more trickier by the fact that you are on a constant timer to process the days queues. The more successful applications for entry you process the more pay you will earn.

I would have never imagined a game centered around border control and the shuffling of papers could be this thrilling but as it turns out Papers, Please is just that. It's a simple yet effective little Indie title that is well worth looking into. I am not sure of its longevity though as I imagine sooner rather than later all the different kinds of scenarios will have played themselves out and will begin to repeat which could end up diminishing the games power. But honestly I am just nitpicking here now. Papers, Please was never meant to be a 40hr epic and I am quite thankful for that. Perhaps - later down the line the game could introduce an entire new character set with scenarios DLC, which would help keep things fresh. However, I am jumping ahead of myself here. I should still have a good few games ahead of me. Until then - Glory to Arstotzka!
Posted: June 8
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268 of 304 people (88%) found this review helpful
3.0 hrs on record
Well first off let me start by saying Kolechians might be reading this review, if you are, please seek the nearest police officer and turn yourself in for being a terrorist. That being said, I'm very proud to have the Ministry of Admission let me review this amazing and impeccable game. The graphics are amazing, lifelike even! The controls are fantastic, you can really feel the despair joy in your character's eyes as you march to work and fufill your duty to glorious Arstotzka. I've never seen such a game before. If you can afford this game with the MoA's meager generous paycheck, I'd say pick up this gem.
Posted: June 25
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657 of 926 people (71%) found this review helpful
6.4 hrs on record
*Woman walks up to counter
ME: "Papers, please. Your passport says you're a male."
WOMAN: "I am."

Posted: June 23
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113 of 148 people (76%) found this review helpful
2.8 hrs on record
Now my parents can't say I'm unemployed no more.
10/10 Glory to Arstotzka
Posted: August 8
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157 of 215 people (73%) found this review helpful
12.2 hrs on record
Arstotzka so great, passport not required.
Posted: July 11
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1,497 of 1,533 people (98%) found this review helpful
9.8 hrs on record
I had no idea what I was getting into with this game. From what I'd heard you just sit at a border checkpoint and decide if people are allowed to enter the country or not. And that's exactly what I got, but Papers, Please is so much more than that. It's not just a job simulation, it's a story of moral choices and corrupt government. It's not just about a border guard, it's about a man who struggles to provide for his family, who must work for the smallest of wages to make some of the toughest choices. You sit in your little checkpoint booth. A man comes up and hands you his passport. You skim over the information and stamp a big green "APPROVED" for him. He thanks you and starts to walk away, but before he does he says, "my wife is right behind me, please be nice to her." Sure enough, up steps a nice young woman. There's her passport. You look down and see an expiration date of last month. "This document is expired" you say. She stares at you, eyes wide and pleading: "Please, if I go back to my country they will kill me. Please let me in." What do you do? Do you risk losing your paycheck and therefore leave yourself unable to buy medicine for your sick son? Or do you abandon all morality and turn the woman away?

Papers, Please is not an easy game, nor is it free of consequences. Not only does it become insanely difficult to reivew piles of papers and make sure every little details is accrate and correct, but every choice you make determines who you are and the path you take. Will you work tirelessly for the glory of Arstotzka, or will you join the Order and be a part of the uprising against the tyrannical, corrupt government?
Posted: December 28, 2013
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