This popular game has a lot more to teach than just "getting away with murder."
As Kevin Siazon explains:
"Among Us is an online multiplayer game from the developers at InnerSloth that has players working together to fix their crumbling spaceship while figuring out who the imposters are. It’s what’s known as a social deduction game, which means the game-play focuses on a conflict between two teams: the informed minority and the uninformed majority. While this may sound complicated, it’s a pretty simple concept."
"At the start of each game, you’re randomly assigned the role of bad guy (a.k.a Imposter) or good guy (a.k.a. Crewmate). The Imposters know what role each player was assigned (i.e., they know who the other bad guys are), while the Crewmates are none the wiser. In order for Imposters to win, they must kill all the Crewmates without getting caught. If the Crewmates want to win, they must either discover who the Imposters are and vote them off the ship, or finish repairing the ship by doing little tasks (which present as simple mini-games) before the Imposters are able to kill everyone."
"The only catch is that players are only allowed to talk to each other during emergency meetings, which only happens after a body of a slain Crewmate is found and reported or someone presses the emergency meeting button (each player can only press the button once per game, depending on your settings). During a meeting, players discuss what they’ve seen and vote to either kick out a suspicious player or continue on without an elimination. However, Imposters will try their best to convince the other players that they’re one of the good guys, so players must use logic to see beyond the deception and make the right choices. Sounds fun, right? There are three different maps to explore and each game only lasts around 10-15 minutes, so even if you die or get voted out, its not long before you can play again."
It can definitely sound alarming to hear your kids talk about "killing" and "murder" and throwing out rather excited accusations about other players. I have a few times peeked in on my own kid wondering what the excited yelling was about only to see that they were engaged in trying to clear their own name of any wrong doing in the game. While the game play itself is not that graphic, the kill scenes can be a little much as shown in the video below.
When other players discover the body author Kevin Siazon describes it this way: "the cartoony art style makes it look more like a colourful honey-baked ham than a corpse."
What about cost? It's free to play on cell phone and some tablets there are some costs incurred by those wanting to play it on Nintendo's Switch, through Steam, and on some gaming consoles as well. There are also DLC's (Downloadable Content) available that your student may want to purchase however it is not necessary for them to play.
What about strangers? For many parents who aren't sure about giving access to their student over the internet or have had previous trouble with teens connecting with random strangers and striking up conversations etc, you may be worried. But as author Kevin Siazon explains: "they’ll likely be playing with people they don’t know. However, there is no voice chat function within the game itself, so unless your kid connects to an external voice chat service like Zoom or Discord, they won’t be directly chatting with strangers. There is a text chat function in the game but it’s only open during “emergency meetings” and those last for only about 30 seconds." For the most part our students like to play with friends in a private session not open to the public and enjoy chatting over Discord (a voice and text messaging service).
What Might Be the Benefits? Any parent should be wary of their students spending many consecutive hours in front of a screen gaming. That being said, Harvard Medicine has an interesting article on the teenage brain and screen time that's worth reading as well (listed below).
Rose from Nerds Chalk explains the benefits this way: "Users keep coming back to Among
Us because of the psychological elements of the game. When you are a crewmate, you need to co-operate and work with others to perform tasks and identify the imposter. As an imposter, you need to be careful about the moves you make in the maps and convince the crewmates that you’re innocent.
There are important lessons that Among Us will teach you, like how a sus looking crewmate might be innocent, how names can play a role in creating deception, and no matter how badly you want to win, sometimes you get caught or the imposter manages to outwit you. You can’t learn these things from a textbook."
He goes on to further explain how schools should be using games like Among Us to help students further develop better social skills. He says: "The premise of Among Us is set around interaction. Either via chat or Discord (for audio) players come together when a dead body is reported or when an emergency meeting is called. The discussion is crucial both for the crewmates who must identify the imposter before they lose and the imposter who must conceal themself effectively. Discussions will bring introverts out of their comfort zone and teach them how to defend themselves and interact with others. Those with a penchant for investigation will take discussions to the next level too." (2)
- these articles reflect a variety of different opinions and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and values of Spring Hills Church or its employees.