It couldn't be a coincidence. On Saturday afternoon I bought Papers, Please. I played it for one short hour. That night I went to a friend's house and before long we were talking about Australia's own issues with immigration. Papers, Please is a game designed to instigate conversation and it succeeds.
The interesting thing was this: while I define myself as very liberal in my politics I was supremely conservative whilst playing Papers, Please. If I was even slightly doubtful about the veracity of someone trying to enter Arstotzka I stamped 'Visa denied' and felt nothing. Zero regret. I think people who play video games are often conservative by default. They simply don't want to make mistakes.
I don't think I played enough of Papers, Please to make any kind of decision on its quality. I don't even know if that kind of judgement will ever make sense. Papers Please isn't really fun to play, it's not a fun little diversion. It's an experience you learn from.
But in that regard it's essential. It's a game that demands you talk about it. It's important.
Anyone else here playing Papers, Please? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.