Papers, Please doesn’t fit into any established genre. The closest thing I can think of might be L.A. Noire, but this is still radically different. At its most basic, Papers, Please a game about close inspection of miniscule details, and exploiting that information to your benefit. It’s also about the constant, unavoidable stress of consequences.
Your role as an immigration inspector has you deciding who can enter the country and who cannot. There are penalties for breaking the ever-changing rules, and rewards for following your instructions. But when a known slaver tries to enter the country to kidnap a young woman, do you let him through even if his papers are in proper order? Breaking the rules means you’ll lose money for the day, which could cause your family to starve, but is it worth it?
The actual gameplay of Papers, Please remains interesting because the rules change for each level, and the choices evolve in some surprising ways. Papers, Please is one of the most inventive, genre defying games I’ve seen, and is one of the most interesting games I played in 2013.
In Honorable Mentions, the best games of the year that didn’t make the top ten are given their moment in the spotlight. While they might not be among HippoChippies’ ten best games this year, they were very, very close to making it there. This year, it came down to a list of 19 games that was trimmed into the Game of the Year list. This is one of the nine that almost made it.