Papers Please header image videogame

Teaching with videogames: dystopian narratives and 'Papers, Please' part 2

Papers, Please is a 32-bit game that uses style, story and game mechanics where players experience the bureaucracy of evil as a passport control agent in a fictional cold-war setting.

This lesson is an optional extension to Papers, Please part 1, and delves deeper into the morality of the game.

Content note: the game contains themes and stories that will be confronting for any students with experience of immigration or refugee migration. Watch the trailer below or this collection of endings, read this review, and consider if the game is suitable for your students.

Year levels: Year 11, possible to adapt for year 10

Subject areas: Media

Technology involved: Papers, Please licence is $14.50, for this lesson we use around one licence per four students

NB. The game is 32-bit only and will not work on macOS 10.15 or higher at the time of writing

Download the full lesson plan

The lesson plan includes links to the Victorian Curriculum, indications of lesson timing, and ideas for differentiation and assessment.

In this lesson, students will

1 Read about the worldview of the game creator, and consider if/how this changes their perception of the game
2 Read critical analyses of the game and consider the way the values of the players affect their experiences
3 Write about the game and its exploration of morality using media language

By the end of this lesson, students should

media language
language around morality and media texts
be able to
present arguments for or against how interactivity affects players' experience of ethics
use media language correctly
analytical skills - writing and speaking
research comprehension abilities
understanding of media audience theories

Authorial credit

You are free to copy, communicate and adapt this lesson plan which was created by Dean Ashton, Alora Young, Emma McManus and ACMI and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.