If you have used the internet, you are likely aware of Among Us, the recent indie smash to capture the attention of all school children and autistic shut-ins alike. It is a delightful co op game that allows groups to gather across our digital void and discover which of their friends are chillingly efficient murderers.
A group of up to 10 is assigned as crew to a space ship, and each member is assigned various tasks. But each must undertake their role in the mission carefully, because there is an imposter Among Us, one whose goal is to sabotage our vessel, and murder our crew.
But so cute! Look!
One crewmember is randomly selected as the Impostor, unbeknownst to the rest of the players. As the game progresses, catastrophes are avoided, and more and more corpses are discovered, the crew convenes meetings, voting to determine which one is the imposter Among Us. If enough vote against a member, that person is ejected into space, whether or not they are actually guilty. Isn’t space fun?
The game continues until the impostor is found or the crew is dead. I think. I’m still getting the hang of what constitutes a win.
While the game can be played in private rooms with friends, I chose to seek out a public room, since I keep weird hours, and, if I’m going to murder, it’s best to start with strangers. Isn’t that what they say?
Our first go round, I was distracted, making notes and collecting screen shots. By the first murder, I felt I should let them know that I was collecting data and had been largely AFK, so I would skip again. Interestingly, my forthrightness was perceived as “highly sus,” and I was voted into the Void.
The next go round, I decided I would keep my head in the game and endeavor to finish all of my tasks. Naturally, I was murdered nearly instantly.
It was Brown! The same culprit as the last round! SABOTEUR! It should be pointed out, that everyone enters with a screen name, but we would eventually refer to each other by our colors. Maybe we appreciate each other’s identities more in private group games.
I’m an altruistic crewmate. Even after I’m murdered, I always try to complete all of my tasks, so that my team still has a chance to win against the vile intruder Among Us. So I continued, rewiring passages and refueling the engines, merrily chugging along toward the mission. My corpse remained in the oxygen regulation bay, undiscovered. It wasn’t until the fiend struck again that a vote was convened.
Ghosts can’t communicate with the living, though we can view their chat, and talk about how dumb it is that they don’t know that it’s Brown, even though he’s struck again, and again, and again. How is this devious mastermind escaping notice?
Eventually, I had no tasks to complete, and my only objective was to haunt my murderer.
He was eerily still for minutes, but I knew this was a ruse. Several emergencies had overtaken the ship during his rest, so I knew he was still an active agent.
When the next team meeting was called, there were only four crew members left, and at least one of them was finally catching on. Note the skill of Brown’s deflection, the ease with which he prevaricates:
The debate was intense, but eventually a consensus was reached
It was only a matter of time until the craft was lost. I’m not sure we didn’t deserve it.
But my competitor admitted that he has been playing this game for over 200 hours. How can we be blamed for losing to such a well-practiced opponent? Of course, another element of this double-blind game environment is that I have no knowledge of my fellow players in the public rooms. No age, sex, race, or location is ever shared, and revealing them is viewed as unusual. It’s a refreshingly level playing field, but it leaves open the possibility that I had my lunch money stolen by some twelve-year-old, and if that’s the case, I should probably hang up my headset and burn my computer.