dunno man your dad seems kinda sus
To cut a long story very short, I was recently playing some video g- uh – ‘doing some industry research via Steam’ (the premier storefront/library for PC gaming, tm) when I noticed my eldest offspring (a young professional woman) was online.
That was a first, because she’s new to Steam.
I noticed she was playing Among Us.
I found this strange, as she’s usually one for weird indie games (like Undertale and Doki Doki Literature Club) and not gigantic mega-hits such as Among Us.
I tried to ask her about it, but she was all like ‘hey dad Im playing with some friends you can join us if you want’ because the only punctuation I care about is that she’s on time when she visits me.
So, I bought the game and played a few rounds of Freeplay (the training grounds of the game) and joined her and her friends (with a full spread, including random players, meaning that there were two Impostors per round).
10 players, 2 impostors. Let’s go!
Playing Among Us: Yes But Actually No
I missed the part where you change your name (pictured directly above), so in my very first game of Among Us, I had the name ‘Player’. This still mortifies me to this day. However, ‘this day’ is only like 3 days later, so maybe I’ll be over it by next week.
I mention this because my eldest (whose in-game name was GroovyGal, presumably because she is such a groovy gal) was all like ‘oh hey can you guys go easy on Player, he is new to the game’ in the chat.
Like, I could have said that myself – but I didn’t have to.
But there’s more to this than ‘my daughter is awesome’.
Bearing this in mind: What would you do if you knew your daughter was The Imposter because you saw them space-murder someone?
Here are your options:
A) Tell the crewmates you know she’s an Impostor, and why
B) Subtly imply that she’s an Impostor without giving too much info away
C) Shift the blame onto someone else
D) Shift the blame onto yourself
Yes, that’s right – I chose E) Just keep your mouth shut because you love your daughter and you want the best for her in life and you overthink video games
After the third voting session, I was still in the game. Of course I was, because one of the killers had a handicap – they didn’t want to kill me.
After the crew won (we completed all the tasks), it was time to start another round. I finally worked out how to change my name and…
Playing Among Us: No But Actually Yes
…holy crap – I was an Imposter!
I must admit that I panicked more than a little – I’d only trained for crewmate tasks, and I didn’t have enough experience at them to pretend to be a crewmate. You see, there are certain tasks that you can’t pretend to do, because they have a visual component. So, if someone sees you pretending to do them, they’ll know you’re not actually doing them.
That was when I first started getting nervous.
Like, how far can I take this?
What are the ethical issues surrounding being an Impostor?
If I’m new to the game, but I use that as an excuse for not being able to do certain tasks – when the actual reason is that I can’t do the tasks because I’m an Impostor – is that playing the game wrong? Is it unfair? Or is everything fair game?
You can’t go to a game manual to find this out. And I couldn’t very well ask chat, could I?
Well, I decided that I’d spare my daughter (she spared me, remember) – but everyone else was fair game.
But then – wait…What about her friends? Should I spare them t-
But before I finished that thought, I’d absent-mindedly killed one of them.
Playing Among Us: Maybe But Actually Maybe
There’s a scene in the film Clockwork Orange – I’m sure you know the one. Malcom McDowell has his eyes forced open. The reason for this, if you haven’t seen the film, is simple (if grotesque): They’re reprogramming his mind so that when he has violent thoughts, he begins to feel physically ill.
This is similar to how I felt when I’d begun playing Among Us, which was literally only 5 minutes before I’d hit this point.
But that kill, that first kill – it unlocked something in me. I have space-killed now. I MUST space-kill again. But not GroovyGal – never GroovyGal.
I felt like entire minutes had gone by, the change was so intense – but it had only been about 10 seconds.
Do you know what that meant to me?
This is what it meant to me: It meant that the kill timer would finish counting down soon, which meant I could kill again.
Sadly, there was a meeting called, and the crew had ejected the other impostor.
It was all down to me now. Up to me? Down to me? Whatever, I’ll take it in turns.
As the quote almost goes: I’m not trapped in here with you, you guys are all trapped in here with me but at least GroovyGal is safe.
I remember winning because I sabotaged the ship at just the right time – but that might just be the fever-dream of a crazed space-killer.
Playing Among Us: In Space, Nobody Can Hear You Overthink Things
Next round, I was the Impostor again.
I know just enough about Among Us to know that’s pretty rare for a new player.
The other Impostor was ejected not long after the start of the game, so it was all up to me again. Nobody would steal my kills this time. I decided I would kill GroovyGal if we crossed paths.
GroovyGal and I crossed paths. I did not kill her.
My weakness wouldn’t save her forever – if she was the last living crewmate, I’d be able to win without killing her.
Utilizing my years of playing the Batman: Arkham series, I soon discovered the Among Us vent system suited my playstyle.
I sabotaged the electrical system, and then sat in the vent of the electrical room. As a crewmate tried to fix my sabotage, I jumped out of the vent, stealth-killed them, and then jumped back in the vent – like some kind of deranged trapdoor spider.
A rush of adrenaline filled me. I sat in the vent, waiting, wondering, strategizing. I KNEW WHAT TO DO NOW!
I jumped out of the vent, ran to the Admin room and-
The game was over.
The crew had completed their tasks, because I was too busy trying to be clever and not busy enough space-murdering people.
You’d think I’d be like ‘I suck because I couldn’t kill my kid’, but nope.
While that definitely made the game trickier for me, it was my own mind that betrayed me in the end – and that’s the genius of Among Us.