Ethics and Information Technology

, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 211–225 | Cite as

Papers, Please and the systemic approach to engaging ethical expertise in videogames

  • Paul Formosa
  • Malcolm Ryan
  • Dan Staines
Original Paper


Papers, Please, by Lucas Pope (2013), explores the story of a customs inspector in the fictional political regime of Arstotzka. In this paper we explore the stories, systems and moral themes of Papers, Please in order to illustrate the systemic approach to designing videogames for moral engagement. Next, drawing on the Four Component model of ethical expertise from moral psychology, we contrast this systemic approach with the more common scripted approach. We conclude by demonstrating the different strengths and weaknesses that these two approaches have when it comes to designing videogames that engage the different aspects of a player’s moral expertise.


Papers, Please Game design Four Component model Moral engagement 


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Games cited

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyMacquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Department of ComputingMacquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia
  3. 3.School of History and PhilosophyUniversity of New South WalesKensingtonAustralia

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