North, Outlands Games, perfectly walks the line between fantasy and reality. The premise of the game is straightforward: You are a refugee seeking asylum in a strange city inhabited by even stranger creatures. (I hesitate to call them “people.”) You’ve come from some unnamed locale in the south and find yourself disoriented and confused at local customs, a confusion you convey through letters to your sister back home, which also serve to move the narrative of the game forward.
“We wanted to make a game that highlighted the Kafkaesque absurdity of a refugee’s situation,” said Gabriel Helfenstein, one half of the duo that comprises Outlands Games. “Our main goal was to confront the player with feelings like confusion, boredom and frustration without putting her in an outside or observer position. It was an interesting challenge to make an unpleasant game that is still engaging.”
Papers, Please has the player take the role of a border crossing immigration officer in the fictional dystopian Eastern Bloc-like country of Arstotzka, which has been and continues to be at political hostilities with its neighboring countries. As the officer, the player must review each immigrant and returning citizen’s passports and other supporting paperwork against a list of ever-increasing rules using a number of tools and guides, allowing in only those with the proper paperwork, rejecting those without all proper forms, and at times detaining those with falsified information. The player is rewarded in their daily salary for how many people they have processed correctly in that day, while being fined for making mistakes; the salary is used to help provide shelter, food, and heat for the player’s in-game family. In some cases, the player will be presented with moral decisions, such as approving entry of a pleading spouse of a citizen despite the lack of proper paperwork, knowing this will affect their salary. In addition to a story mode which follows several scripted events that occur within Arstotzka, the game includes an endless mode that challenges the player to process as many immigrants as possible.
During DIY Fest 2017 we decided to screen the documentary ‘Do Not Resist’, an urgent and powerful exploration of the rapid militarization of the police in the United States. Starting on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, as the community grapples with the death of Michael Brown, DO NOT RESIST – the directorial debut of Detropia cinematographer Craig Atkinson – offers a stunning look at the current state of policing in America and a glimpse into the future. The Tribeca Film Festival winner for Best Documentary puts viewers in the center of the action – from a ride-along with a South Carolina SWAT team and inside a police training seminar that teaches the importance of “righteous violence” to the floor of a congressional hearing on the proliferation of military equipment in small-town police departments – before exploring where controversial new technologies including predictive policing algorithms could lead the field next.
Vegan brunch (Mute 10)
During DIY Fest 2016 we organised a Vegan Brunch at DagCafe.