Critical Play 1 – Jonathan Affeld

Name of Game: Among Us

Creator: Inner Sloth

Platforms: iOs, Android, PC, XBox, Switch, PlayStation

Target Audience: Among Us was originally intended for a teen audience as it was first rated 16+ by PEGI (Pan-European Game Information) but was later rated as 7+ after interest from younger audiences. It is also rated 9+ by the Apple app store. I agree with the latter rating as the game is very cartoony and the gore is not very realistic. The bright colors and cartoony characters make for a younger audience that I would describe as 10-14.

Notable Elements of the Game: The app has two play modes: Classic and Hide n Seek. I will discuss the classic mode for this exercise. In classic mode, players play as either crewmates or impostors. Crewmates can complete tasks to fill the task bar, react to sabotages created by the impostors, call emergency meetings, report dead bodies, and check admin map and security for suspicious activity. Impostors can sneak through vents, pretend to do tasks, sabotage the ship, close doors to trap crewmates, and kill off crewmates (has a cooldown).

Each game consists of 4-15 players online or locally. There are up to 3 impostors per match. The boundaries of the game are the given map. There are four maps to select from: The Skeld, Mira HQ, Polus, and the Airship. On the phone (which I played on), players move around by using a virtual joystick or tapping where they want to go. They interact with the map around them by tapping on highlighted objects. While the game is ongoing, players are not allowed to talk except when an emergency meeting is called. Emergency meetings are automatically called when a dead crewmate is found. Dead crewmates cannot talk once they die but they can still perform tasks to help the crewmates win. During the emergency meeting, crewmates try to determine who the impostors are while impostors try to prove their innocence. At the end of the meeting, players vote on who they think they should eject. If a player gets a majority of votes they are ejected and are dead for the rest of the game. Players can also skip voting to avoid ejecting players haphazardly. The game ends and Crewmates win when the task bar is completed or all impostors are ejected. The game ends and the Impostors win if they kill or eject all the crewmates. Players can customize their characters in game with different outfits and colors of their guy.

Comparison: This game was very similar to the mafia game we played in class. Both games had two classes with one class having the ability to remove people from the game but less people and the other class having more people. The classes also shared similar objectives. However, Among Us gave the latter class another way to win the game rather than just voting off the impostors. I thought giving the crewmates another way to win balanced the game better so that the impostors had to work quickly.

Was the game fun?: I thought the game was mostly fun. Playing the game as the impostor was entertaining and added some stakes to what you say in chat. Additionally the strategy of when and where to kill restricted what the impostor could do. As a crewmate, I felt that the game was less fun because the majority of the game was avoiding getting killed.

Moments: One of the games I played as the impostor, my partner was voted off immediately so I had to get rid of the rest of the crewmates myself. However, I hovered around one person too long and was quickly accused. Here is the interaction right before I was voted off:

Things to Change: I thought that the in game mechanic of text chat was too slow and they should instead have a voice chat system. Typing things out and defending yourself often took too long. I would also change it so that a certain number of sabotages would make the impostors win so that they can seem more busy and provide additional pressure to the crewmates.

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