What is “Among Us?”
What Parents and Leaders Need to Know.
If you read the title “What is Among Us?” and thought, “I know; it’s a pandemic, duh.” Well, you’d be right but not the direction of this blog. ‘Among Us’ is a popular mobile and PC video game that plays very much like a classic Student Ministry game on a screen. First, let’s look at what this game is, and then we’ll look at what parents and leaders need to know about it.
Among Us is a simple cartoon game where players must detect false players among themselves. When playing the game, players join either a random group of online people or ‘host’ their own game via a unique code. Once into a game, each player is assigned a different color suit.
This game is played in a space station, so you are equipped with a spacesuit, of course, and you can customize a few elements, mainly your hat. Once the group is formed, the game begins, and the game secretly assigns someone to be the ‘Imposter.’
This person has a slightly different job than the others. Everyone else is assigned crew members. Everyone is launched into assignments while in the cafeteria, and the game begins. Crew members have a variety of ‘tasks’ to get the space station back up and running. It’s their job to complete tasks before something bad happens.
“What bad could possibly happen?” Well, do you remember our Imposter? It’s the Imposter’s task to pretend to be a normal crew member and keep the others from completing their tasks and without getting caught.
The Imposter accomplishes this in a variety of ways. First is pretending to do stuff along with the crew. The other is a bit more obvious…he kills everyone else. Don’t worry, it’s cartoon violence, but it isn’t something I’d recommend a five-year-old playing without a parent nearby. Secretly trying to kill everyone off before the Imposter is found is how the Imposter wins.
However, the crew can also win by correctly identifying the Imposter before it’s too late. Once a crew member finds a body (cut in half with a spine bone sticking out of it like a ham steak), they can report the body. Once they report the body, the crew, including the mystery Imposter, comes to a meeting room where text chat happens, and people type what they saw and give the information they have.
As you can imagine, the Imposter tries to direct attention from himself and to someone else in the room. At the end of a set time, the crew can choose to vote on a person they believe is the Imposter or they can choose not to vote because they don’t have the correct information.
If they vote and send someone out who is not the Imposter, the players see the voted-off character flying through space with a note that says “They were not the Imposter.” Then the game continues until either the crew finds the Imposter or the Imposter kills off everyone.
If someone thinks they know something before a body is seen, they can return to the cafeteria and call for an ’emergency meeting.’ This calls for a vote or non-vote depending on the group.
Oh, there are ghosts. Yes, ghosts in space. Well, these ghosts are the ghosts of the killed off crew that get to haunt the space station and help finish tasks as well. This keeps the Imposter working fast and forms a ghostly crew to complete objectives. Ghosts can talk to each other in the chat but not to those still living in the game.
That’s it, and to this Student Minister, it sounds like an old group game called Mafia. However, it’s an entertaining game that can be played casually or competitively.
WHAT PARENTS AND LEADERS NEED TO KNOW
As a parent, you’ve probably heard of this game or perhaps even played it alongside your student. However, there are a few elements in this game that parents should be aware of.
1. Online play with others is easy. Yes, you can play this game locally (with people you invite), but it’s very easy on a mobile device to play online with strangers. Depending on where your parenting style falls, this possibility may be a concern for you and your family.
2. In-Game Chat. In meetings or the emergency meetings, there is text-based chatting. In the majority of the Among Us games I’ve played, the chat is about the game, but there isn’t a lot of limitations in keeping people from using certain words/language or trying to connect and communicate with someone directly (i.e. asking for contact info and such). Since online games and players can play multiple games together, it’s a possibility.
3. There are tasks, including death. I asked my eight-year-old what he knew about this game, and he said, “I know it’s about death.” Most people don’t play this game to be the crew, but in hopes, they get the random selection of the Imposter…who goes around killing the other players. It is cartoon violence, but unlike Fortnite, it does have blood splatter and such.
Ministry leaders (and families) should know that this game isn’t a small fad as it’s getting bigger. Among Us has been around for a very long time, November 2018, to be exact. So why is this game so popular now? Well, it’s because of quarantines earlier this year.
Many students in youth groups all around the country are actively playing this game with peers and strangers. It’s a subject of talk, discussion, and conflict in some cases. However, ministry leaders and families can use this game as a way to laugh and connect.
If you choose to ‘host a game,’ you’ll be given a unique game code that you can send out to friends and play with people you know, such as family members. I’ve heard of many church groups and families using this as a game night alternative sending it out to people via text and watching them join. And since you can play with 100 total people and multiple Imposters, it’s a fun-filled activity.
For more information about Among Us & to see what it looks like, be sure to check out my video tutorial HERE on what a game looks like and how to play.
Tony Bianco has been in Student Ministry for over ten years with his wife Diamend with whom they have two amazing kids. He is a former Radio DJ, Technology Reviewer, GameStop Manager, Apple Store Expert, and the author of The Family Technology Plan. You can contact Tony at www.familytechnologyplan.com.
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