Among Us: Art Reflecting the Society

Limitation: When we say that “art is a reflection of society”, there are various aspects that need to be taken into account and I wrote this article only on reflection approach, in a very generalized manner. Different interpretations can be made and we can also come up with different viewpoints on the relationship between art and society.

By now, I don’t think I have to explain what Among Us is since many of us are already familiar with the game. For me, it is surprising that I don’t only know this game, but I also played it: as someone who never even downloaded Animal Crossing in her entire life and didn’t play a single game for almost 10 years, this is a milestone.

There are many reasons behind how this game became so popular even though it is a 2018 creation of only three people and didn’t follow any marketing strategies (as we know) to differentiate itself in the competitive marketplace, their consumer base is developed organically. This popularity can be coming from many ways, nonetheless, I believe that I can provide an angle.

I deleted the game to increase my productivity, however, it came up to my mind again after learning about the reflection approach in art studies in my sociology in arts and culture course which states that “art mirrors the society”. Since creating a game can be considered as creating an artwork ( if we look at the elements that construct an art piece), I thought I can apply this game to the concept of reflection in two ways: the design of the game and the tools created within that design and the game rules.

Design & Tools

When we observe the world of Among Us closely, it is possible to notice the simplicity of the visuals: characters are pretty basic but cute looking, the game is in two-dimensional format and the most complex structure is the map (at least for me the maps are very confusing and I’m still trying to figure out how some people know the map by heart). When I first opened the game, this feature made me wonder whether if it is for kids or not since these little astronauts with colourful costumes gave me Club Penguin vibes. However, I enjoyed the fact that it has a simple design and I don’t need to spend too much time customizing my avatar which allows me to focus on the game rather than the visual aspects (I noticed this after reading this article).

The pandemic lefts us with plenty of time and thoughts on how we spend this time. For example, I used to wake up at least one hour earlier if I have a lecture at 9 am, dress up, make myself presentable and go to the campus. Now, I wake up one hour earlier again, but instead of spending that time on putting makeup on or wearing layers of clothing to protect myself from the wind, I call my parents and talk about our plans for the day. Of course, this is a personal example and might be a different case for everyone, however, this small change in my “9 am class morning routine” showed me how much importance I give to the communication. If I put the game into perspective based on my personal experience, I see that the layout of Among Us might be simple and the character customization might not be time-consuming, but having a conversation with other players in the voting process is a significant aspect of the game. Therefore, I think, Among Us reflects what we have in our daily life in this pandemic era (of course, everyone has unique experiences): less importance to the appearance and more focus on the content.

Rules

The game has really simple rules: you need to do the tasks, find the imposter if you are not the one and know a certain terminology (for example, I was trying to understand why everyone in the game was saying ‘sus’ or ‘Where?’ without any context). Also, the game forces you to learn about the maps (I never did but I remember some people in the chat were answering these ‘where?’ questions properly.) and you began to have this new words in your mind, yet, the game is still very basic.

Quarantine is effecting our memories in many way (I had to credit this idea as I read or watched it in someplace but I don’t remember where I have it from, I apologize for that). For instance, we used to go out, meet our friends, go to the campus, seeing different types of people and have various kinds of experiences. At the present times, we are having our courses online and meeting up with the friends that are special for us. There is less drama and less adventures since we are not going to parties and create some “drunk stories”. In another way, we have access to information even faster than its before and we don’t really need to memorize anything. For example, for some courses we only need to write an assignment since it would be easier to submit and get graded for, many online exams are open book and more lectures are getting recorded.

Among Us is a short game with rules that are not too difficult. We don’t even have to analyze the other avatar’s appearance too much since the characters are only differentiated by colours and hats. We only pay attention to the other players’ actions to see whether they are the impostor or not. Furthermore, I don’t even remember who the impostor was after I played the game as long as it wasn’t me or my friend, and you don’t have to remember who the imposter was. The game ends and the other one begins, there is no follow up story. I think it is like how some of us don’t even know the name of our classmates that we “meet” on Zoom.

I talked about in this article on how Among Us reflects our society, however, I’m quite sure that the creators of the game didn’t have in mind during 2018. They probably just wanted to make a game on a budget. Despite it, I believe that this game which is created two years ago, reflects our 2020 society in a way and that’s why we like it.

References

https://www.gamespot.com/articles/among-us-drives-record-high-discord-downloads/1100-6482733/

https://innersloth.itch.io/among-us/devlog/181107/the-future-of-among-us

https://screenrant.com/among-us-sus-afk-where-meaning-slang-glossary/

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4 Comments

  • Julia.J
    Posted November 28, 2020 at 10:03 pm 0Likes

    I can relate to your situation, I also never really liked to play video or mobile games. But with Among Us… First I watched my boyfriend play and I had no idea what is this whole thing about. Like, why would you be obsessed with such a basic game? I played something like thins in elementary school with my friends. But then he let me try, and this first time I was the Imposter. It felt so good, I was excited, I was planning my actions, and when I “killed” it was just pure adrenaline of the fear that they would catch me. Of course, they did, I was very bad for a long time. I really agree with you, this game, this art piece reflects society. We need something to be excited about, we need fun to not go crazy locked inside, we need interaction even if we don’t know people in the team. This game is a perfect reflection of 2020.

  • Bhumika Gupta
    Posted December 16, 2020 at 9:19 am 0Likes

    I found your perspective on Among Us reflecting our society super interesting. I hadn’t thought about it in this way. I also don’t play a lot of games nowadays but I got addicted to Among Us. I agree that its simplicity was one of the factors that attracted me as when I tried to play PUBG a while back, I found it too complicated with all the options available for customisation. The chat feature during voting definitely makes Among Us more interesting and provides a sense of communication that a lot of people crave during the coronavirus pandemic as most of us aren’t able to meet our friends and just hang out. Plus, playing Among Us with your friends, being the impostor and “killing” others gives such an adrenaline rush xD.

  • Emma
    Posted December 17, 2020 at 9:19 pm 0Likes

    Hi! I like this approach a lot. I hadn’t thought of this at all! I did too, succumb to downloading the game at some point to play with friends, and have now played it quite often, and I completely understand your comparison. We still do all of our daily routine, but just a tad different, and like you said only hold in mind the most recent relevant information because we don’t need most of it on the long run anyways. Memories of what we’re up to these days become kind of a blur and we exist in our little own ‘space stations’ of small social bubbles more than ever. This reflection on how we are all managing our lives now, sounds very accurate. I especially like your example on appearance versus content with the character design. And as simple as the game is, it is lots of fun. This makes it easy to get friends who aren’t per se into games hooked on it too and have some other platform than the standard socials for common social interaction as well.

  • mbeenham1
    Posted December 18, 2020 at 9:54 pm 0Likes

    I think Among Us is a nice addiction. I didn’t know it for a long time but when a friend of mine said that I had to install it a month ago, I felt myself addicted for a whole evening (and night, sorry 🙂 ). There is something in that game that wants us to continue playing the game. My interests started when that specific friend said that it’s comparable with The Werewolves of Millers Hollow and Wie is de Mol, a Dutch television game that is famous ‘among us’ Dutch and Flemish students. Yes, there is also one or more snitch(es) active in the game and you have to solve puzzles like in the Wie is de Mol game. (Of course, that is not our friendly teacher Mr. Mol!) The most funniest thing I found was that it connects people from all over the world. Our study association, a bit quiter due to the corona virus, relived when someone asked if people wanted to play the game. In just a few seconds a big group of members joined us. Maybe we can do that in January after all the exams and deadlines!

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