I’m pretty good at ‘hard’ games. I’m not world-class, not by any means. I won’t be signed to an esports team any time soon. But I can grapplehook through Sekiro, summit the peaks of Celeste and dodge bullets in Cuphead like the best of them. The internet told me to ‘git gud’ and I got fairly decent! There is one game, however, that gives me trouble. Papers, Please.
Papers, Please isn’t known for its difficulty. The game casts you as an immigration officer for a small, fictitious, Eastern Bloc state. People trundle up to your checkpoint and you have to examine their documents before you decide whether or not to let them through. Apparently, Papers, Please is full of devious moral quandaries. Your code of ethics will be tested as you balance your duty to your nation with the burdens of paying rent and ‘doing the right thing’. It sounds great. I’m sure it is great. But I wouldn’t know. I couldn’t get past the first level.
You see, playing Papers, Please involves carefully scanning documents and teasing out tiny inconsistencies. Does this photograph match the person in front of you? Is the date right? Has their passport been stamped by the right agencies? At this point, I feel the malaise of confusion descend. I seem to have let a spy into the country. The clock is ticking. I get flustered. I have now let in a whole agency of spies, bootleggers and other assorted enemies of the people. The klaxon sounds. My shift has ended. I have been fired and my family have starved. Drat. Dyslexic people clearly shouldn’t become immigration officers.