1) One of the shared themes between the two games that I played, Papers Please and The Stanley Parable, was the sense of despair invoked. In Papers Please, acting as an immigration officer and denying individuals entry to a place that they want to be is upsetting. In The Stanley Parable, realizing the dismal reality of the character’s life is unsettling.
a) I think that Papers Please intends to cause the player to question immigration policy. This seems most evident when the player experiences one of the immigrants leave the line to cross the border and gets shot on the way, despite throwing a bomb across the border. The land that you’re admitting people too also appears to have Nazi-esque colors and symbols. This alone seems to equate a strict immigration policy to the type of homogeneity that Hitler desired. The narrative definitely impacted the way that I approached the game.
b) The structure of The Stanley Parable suggested to me that I was very much so involved in the determination of the game’s outcome. Granted, the path of the game and the resultant outcomes are already determined based on your decisions, but at least your decisions impact the conclusion to a certain degree. Because the narrative is about controlling the workers in the game under a guise of free will, this structure significantly enhances the narrative because the structure does the same – it controls the outcome while allowing the player to think that she has free will.
2) Because Papers Please only allows you two options, to accept or deny the immigrant entry to the country, this structure implies the limited options of the immigrants as well as conveys a message about immigration. Just as Papers Please’s does, the structure of The Stanley Parable also mirrors the message of the narrative. This is discussed in part 1b above. The structure of the narrative, then, has the ability to strengthen and enhance the narrative itself. It appears as though the sense of limited freedom and restricted autonomy that is successfully conveyed in the structure of Papers Please and The Stanley Parable is only possible through games.
3) Playing a narrative game, such as Papers Please or The Stanley Parable, allows the individual to engage in the concepts in a new way. One can read about the limited options afforded to immigrants but one cannot experience it, as was made possible in Papers Please. The experience and rewards of choosing gaming as a medium as opposed to others is similar for the creator as it is for the audience it would seem. Again, it allows for a more unique and powerful engagement with the material. Additionally, the medium seemingly allows for greater creativity.