Episode 07: Instructional Design in Papers, Please

2478680-box_ppIn Papers, Please players step into the shoes of a border control agent faced with increasingly byzantine rules to admit or deny entry into Glorious Arstotzka.

Each game-day presents you with new restrictions on what paperwork to check. The difficulty ramps up slowly but surely, and by the end of the game you’re adeptly cross-referencing 4 or 5 documents at one time in purposely limited screen real-estate.

Papers, Please somehow manages to make bureaucracy fun, in part due to a remarkably well-constructed scaffolding process that teaches players all the necessary skills and tasks.

This game gave us so much to talk about that it’s the first in a three-part series. To start, this week we focused on the instructional design techniques Papers, Please uses to teach players the ins & outs of border control work. Next week we’ll move on to related applications of User Experience design. Glory to Arstotzka!

Papers, Please is available on PC, Mac, Linux, and iPad. At the time we recorded this episode, the iPad version was broken and didn’t factor into our discussion.

Show Notes & Links:

Other games mentioned in this episode:

a pixelated interface with a passport and other official documents laid on top of each other.
As promised in this episode, here’s a look at the limited screen real-estate that Papers, Please gives you for document shuffling.

If you liked this episode, please leave us a review on iTunes or your podcast app of choice. Did Papers, Please strike a chord with one of your past jobs? Let us know!

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