Updated: May 9
What's going on everyone?
I have recently been teaching about immigration issues in the United States and for whatever reason I hadn't though of using the game Papers, Please with my students even though I knew the game existed. Papers, Please, created by Lucas Pope, the same developer for The Republia Times, tackles issues of mass migration and border security. You play as a border security agent who decides which people get to enter your country. You can find my lesson for Papers, Please here.
Since I was in the midst of teaching about The Immigration Act of 1924, which placed massive restrictions on immigration to the United States, I decided to quickly put a lesson a together so that my students can personally interact with this content. While the game does not include the exact same restrictions as the Immigration Act of 1924, it lets us play with overall theme of immigration restrictions/issues that we still face in the United States today.
The game tasks you with observing documentation of incoming migrants and deciding whether or not they are legally entering the country. You can follow the rules, or you can begin letting in people who are not legally allowed to enter. You make real choices that will have lasting effects throughout the game. Do you turn away everyone, including refugees, or do you show compassion for those who need entry? Doing so, however, will put you and your family at risk.
I already taught this lesson and will write about the results in more detail later, but I can tell you now that my students were very invested and were eager to make connections between the game and real life. It was extra evocative because I teach in a school dedicated to an immigrant population.
It's a great game that I recommend any teacher play with their class when discussing immigration and migration. I specifically connected it to the Immigration Act of 1924 in the United States, but the lesson can easily be modified to fit another time, or place. Check it out and let me know what you all think.