By Mento 0 Comments
Like the great nation of Arstotzka, I've learned how to be economical with my limited resources. For that reason, today is both the final day of Mento's May Mastery and this month's Comic Commish. I originally acquired everyone's favorite border patrol simulator Papers, Please (developed by 3909 LLC in 2013) in one of the site's frequent Steamgifts giveaways, which still technically counts as a gift. A gift that was perhaps less "heartfelt" and more "determined by an automatic lottery monitored by a cold, unfeeling computer program", but just as appreciated all the same.
Before we get any deeper into the game - and yes, it will be in the traditional Comic Commish screenshot LP format followed by a one-of-a-kind MS Paint comic - I want to wind up this feature officially. It's been an interesting May, yet although we've seen a few noteworthy releases it feels more like everyone's gearing up for E3. Let's not forget, however, that we saw possible GOTY Witcher 3 this month, and the hiring of a new Giant Bomb East staff member (though technically he doesn't start until June 1st). I've been a little too engrossed in getting this daily series to notice much else happening. I think my country had a general election? Who knows.
I think I've discussed my June plans in enough detail already, but I won't be starting my Atari ST retrospective until a few days into the month. I need to recover from the daily grind, my beloved peeps, and that means dropping off and doing some resting of the ol' literary muscles. Maybe also play a damn console game, it's been long enough. I am super stoked about showing off some games from my youth, though, to an audience largely incognizant of the Atari ST and its library. That said, many of the games I intend to show might look familiar regardless. I especially want to focus on how weird some of the ST's Arcade conversions are, and how much better games look compared to their NES/C64 equivalent. But all in good time.
April: Papers, Please
Anyway, that's the end of the first five days and about as much as I can bear right now. Needless to say the game can be quite harrowing, though the passport-checking is actually kind of addictive too, in an obsessive pedantic way. Every time you let someone through there's that slight moment of trepidation where you wait to see if the Arstotzkan government writes you up a citation for being a dumbass. Every successful applicant means money in the bank, so you literally can't afford to let too many mistakes happen (not to mention that they'll start charging you penalties you can't possibly afford).
The game has a real barebones visual design to it that works perfectly with the gritty Eastern European Soviet Bloc aesthetic the game is going for. Despite the image being a little too wide and colorful to work, it almost feels like you could play this game on the tiny monitor of some ex-Soviet Electronika 60 computer, of the sort Alexey Pajitnov programmed the original Tetris on. This visual design is most strongly apparent in the basic computer fonts - designed to minimize space - that the game employs for its in-game documentation that can also be found in countless MS-DOS games (like my dear favorite Master of Magic, among others).
It's easy to see why this game impressed a lot of people. It takes the Morton's fork storytelling of The Banner Saga, which I've raved on about enough by now, and a very addictive mini-game of sorts where you're hunting for anything wrong on a person's passport: it's easy to feel rushed and push someone through without being fully secure in the knowledge that you didn't mess up. Spending time checking all angles simply leads to having less money on the day's paycheck, so at some point you just have to say "fuck it" and go with your gut.
Anyway, I suspect I'll keep on playing this in spurts, along with Cook, Serve, Delicious!. The two are actually very similar in terms of the skill requirements, where processing items as quickly and as accurately as you can is the key to victory. That just leaves the MS Paint comic I created to commemorate this gift and its kindly donor, and my thanks to the Giant Bomb Giveaway Group for letting me win something: