Research, Inspiration and Merchanics

Papers Please Logo © Lucas Pope


Papers Please, a game based on the mechanic of choosing decisions that have consequences or follow the rules but be harsh. This was a big influence to my game but instead of making decisions about who to let in, you choose on what activities to do. The activities will affect the time of day and your stats.

With this mechanic being new in games I thought it was a good idea to keep the mechanic in my original game but changed the idea because there wasn’t an end goal but still keeping the ‘choosing decisions’ mechanic. Papers Please is more in-depth as you play as a Border Control Inspector and you have to do multiple jobs like Date Checking, Country ID Code on each passport, Finger Sprint Scanning and sometimes help people by letting them through or rejecting them entry into Arstotzka.


Another thing I looked into were the Adventure books, where you change pages depending on your decisions. An example book for this is “The Abominable Snowman” by R.A. Montgomery. This book is apart of the Choose Your own Adventure 1 Series with other books where you create your own story by choosing your own decisions.

This series were popular and quite known in the 80’s by any kids that were reading at the time. Some people may not know how this could be possible but I’ve got an example: “If you make a hasty retreat to your car, [upon being attacked by a bunch of monkeys] turn to page 29.” Alternatively, “If you decide that the chimpanzees are not as dangerous as they look and rush to give aid to the man, turn to page 3.”

I used these as research because they give good examples of how decisions can change the story dramatically. I used the feature from the books of the decision changing while using the research from Papers Please. Papers Please is where I came up with the idea to make my game a clicking game instead of controlling an actually ‘player’.


Play Test

It was this video “play test” research that helped me find the health bugs where the game would crash if the progressbar value went over 100 or below 0.


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