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Spaces of Expression and Repression in Post-Millennial North-American Literature and Visual Culture

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Edited By Izabella Kimak and Julia Nikiel

The essays included in this book offer an overview of literary works, films, TV series, and computer games, which reflect current social and political developments since the beginning of this century. The contributions intend to x-ray the most crucial aspects of contemporary North-American literature and culture. Addressing a variety of media, the authors of the essays probe the many ways in which repression and expression are the primary keywords for understanding contemporary American life and culture.

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Player as a Victim of Repression and a Tool of Oppression in the Totalitarian World of Papers, Please (Paweł Kołtuniak)

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Paweł Kołtuniak

Player as a Victim of Repression and a Tool of Oppression in the Totalitarian World of Papers, Please

Abstract: The article examines the multiple ways in which Papers, Please uses interactivity to engage the player in a highly realistic world of totalitarian oppression, and explains the mechanics through which the player is forced to take part in the oppressive system.

Keywords: Papers, Please, video game, interactivity, totalitarianism

Lucas Pope’s graphical adventure Papers, Please (2013) is a game that allows players to experience a totalitarian state at two levels. The spirit of a dystopian Soviet-bloc country is present at the audiovisual level, but more importantly, the creator of Papers, Please uses the interactive potential of the medium to allow players not only to see, but also to experience a totalitarian system and, to some extent, take part in it. The game implicates players in moral dilemmas, and allows them to make decisions, but within the totalitarian system of Papers, Please each choice leads to oppression.

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