First Critical Play

For my first critical play, I played Among Us (by Innersloth) on the iPad. Even though this game is popular with a variety of people, its target audience is between the ages of 14 and 30 years old. Each round of the game has 4-10 players. There are different roles for players, with the two main ones being a Crewmate and Imposter. Crewmates have the ability to navigate around and their objectives are to complete in-game tasks (like clean the vent and space reactor) to keep the spaceship setting in operation but also not get killed/figure out who the Imposter is. The Imposter pretends to be a Crewmate but their actual goal is to kill all the Crewmates and sabotage the tasks.

Each round ends when a Crewmate sees a dead Crewmate and reports it. At this time, the crewmates collaborate to vote on who they think the Imposter is. If they find the Imposter, the game ends. If an innocent Crewmate is voted out, they are “ejected” and observe the rest of the game as a ghost. More complex versions of this game involve adding more roles that have special powers. For example, engineers can more easily navigate through the spaceship through vents, shapeshifters can turn into another Crewmate for some time etc. The limited resource is our lives and the special actions that some roles have. The game is structured to have one person (Imposter) vs. everyone else (Crewmates).

Among Us also has a chat feature, which allows Crewmates to gather to form alliances and discuss strategies. In comparison to other games in the genre, I would say it is very similar, with an exception to the theme and extra ability to do tasks. In Mafia or Werewolf, if you don’t have any special role (e.g. Villager), you just sit there and in a sense, can’t really contribute as much to the game. However, in Among Us, normal Crewmates have tasks to complete while also trying to figure out who the Imposter is, making the game more appealing to all. Additionally, the game has many types of fun involved, such as fantasy (make-believe scenario), fellowship (working together to find Imposter), and discovery (finding new tasks on the vast map of the spaceship). The many types of ways to have fun in this game definitely make it more attractive to a wider audience.

Even though the game has been extremely popular since the pandemic, I personally did not find it that fun. As a first-time player, there were too many controls and buttons to navigate on the screen with no tutorial. By the time I had gotten the hang of it, the round had ended and I was ejected because of my “suspicious activity,” which I felt was a fail for me. The third time I played, I was the Imposter and was able to successfully kill 3/4 of the Crewmates, so that was successful. To make the game better, I would remove a lot of the side text and only have the available actions and joycon on the screen—the other stuff felt very cluttered and I had a hard time paying attention to my avatar moving around. I would also suggest having a practice run-through for newbies to understand the rules of the game, especially because there are so many moving parts.

About the author

CS 247G (Spring 2022) + CS 377G (Winter 2023)

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