Tag Archives: games

Among Us: the Games of 2020

In a year like 2020, full of social distancing and health precautions, everyone is looking for a way to enjoy their time in isolation. With the help of popular gaming YouTubers and streamers, the 2018 game, Among Us, has become a smash hit in 2020.

Among Us, created by indie video game company InnerSloth, is a 2018 online multiplayer “social deduction” game that has sky-rocketed in popularity in 2020. 

The games’ rise in popularity has been accredited to the increase of gameplay from big names both within and outside of the gaming community. These names include but are not limited to YouTubers Markiplier, Pewdiepie and Jacksepticeye, as well as Congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar.

Illustration by Serena Rodriguez

The game has risen in popularity due to the user-friendly platform as well as the widely understandable gameplay. The game is comparable to party games such as Mafia, where a number of players are attempting to get away with murdering the rest of the group.

In Among Us, a group ranging from four to 10 players are dropped into a spaceship and then designated as either a “crewmate” or an “impostor” at the beginning of each game. 

Crewmates have the job of going around the ship and completing designated tasks while attempting to figure out who the impostor is among the group. 

Impostors have the mission to kill regular crewmates without getting caught. They have to navigate the map by running after crewmates and venting to different rooms, all while faking tasks to blend in. 

As online meetings and distant interactions become the new norms, this real-time multiplayer game has become a game-changer. Although Among Us seems just like a digital version of party games Mafia and Werewolf, it has opened a new world for multiplayer online games. 

The game full of small space people has garnered such a dedicated fanbase over the course of the last few months. With endless hours of content from the game, fans have created content inspired by the online game. 

The success of the video game has been strongly influenced by the continuous stream of Among Us related content. Twitter accounts such as Among Us Struggle Tweets and No Context Among Us, fans of the game can enjoy Among Us outside of the game itself. 

Although Among Us may not remain among us (see what I did there) forever, it has made an impact in gaming and the idea of having fun while still accommodating for safety precautions such as social distancing.

What To Play During Your Virtual Game Night

Most of us are now knee-deep into self-isolation and possibly going insane. Although it is extremely important to practice social distancing, it is equally as important to stay connected. Luckily technology today makes it easy to interact with friends virtually. Zoom has quickly become a saving grace. But zoom parties can get boring when all there is to talk about is what you ate for lunch, something cute your dog did and the funny meme you just saw on twitter. Liven up your next zoom meetup by making it a game night using these online party games:

Kahoot!

Photo Courtesy of Kahoot!

The game you dreaded in high school now has a new purpose. Kahoot is free, easy to use, and debatably has the best background music. Before your next zoom meeting, have each of your friends create a Kahoot quiz with questions about themselves. The host shares their screen showing the quiz questions and each player uses their phone to answer. It is the perfect game to see who knows you best.

Remote Insensitivity

Photo courtesy of Pexels

Remote Insensitivity is the virtual version of Cards Against Humanity you have been in need of. The free site allows you to share the game link with up to six players and synchronizes it to everyone’s devices. The creators, PlayCards.io, have other free games like checkers and go fish on their site and they also give the option to build your own custom game. 

Photo Roulette

Photo courtesy of PetaPixel

Here is another free trivia app that might get too personal. The Photo Roulette app is available for iOS and Andriod and allows up to 10 players per game. In each round, the app will select a photo randomly from one member’s camera roll and players compete to guess who the photo belongs to both quickly and accurately. Here’s to sharing embarrassing selfies and screenshots with your zoom party!

Quiplash

Photo courtesy of JackBox Games

This will quickly become your go-to game. Similar to Cards Against Humanity, the game provides prompts and the players write in their responses. The players then vote for the best response to the prompt. Quiplash and its crude humor would work perfectly as a drinking game. The game requires 3 to 8 players and is currently on sale for $4.99.

Drawful 2

Photo courtesy of JackBox Games

This elevated version of Pictionary will have you questioning any and all of your artistic abilities. Each player is given a quirky prompt to draw, then the other players try to guess what the picture is. Points are rewarded for guessing the picture correctly and for having a popular response. This is another game by Jackbox games and is on sale for $4.99.

Psych!

Photo courtesy of Psych!

This game was created by Ellen so you know its a good one. Play the “And The Truth Comes Out” deck for a personalized experience. In this game, each player answers a question about a different player. Once each person has submitted, all the responses are revealed and the players vote on their favorite. Since this game is mobile, it can also be played without a zoom meeting, but seeing your friends’ reactions is the best part. 

Interactive media is on the rise

In today’s fast paced digital age where the entertainment industry is becoming more and more competitive, content creators have to find a way to keep their viewers watching. Interactive storytelling, otherwise known as choose your own adventure, is one of the ways they’re doing that. 

Illustration by Sierra Rodriguez

Although interactive storytelling, a story where the viewer gets to decide what happens to the characters, has been around for decades, content consumers and producers developed a widespread fascination with the concept after the release of Netflix’s “Bandersnatch,” a film where viewers had control over the actions of the main character just by clicking a button. The film became a worldwide hit according to Netflix’s vice president of product, Todd Yellin.

Image courtesy of Netflix

“It’s a huge hit here in India,” Yellin said in Mumbai during a keynote in March as reported by Variety. “it’s a huge hit around the world.”

Many viewers liked having control over the story and enjoyed actively engaging with it. Fans could even rewind and change their choices to see different outcomes to the story. As a result, viewers found themselves watching the movie longer than the suggested run time of an hour and 30 minutes.

Image courtesy of Unsplash

“I watched [Bandersnatch] multiple times,” Michael Garcia, a Stephen F. Austin State University student said. “I spent like an hour and a half after trying to get all of the different endings.”

Netflix has made other interactive series like “Puss in Boots: Trapped in an Epic Tale,” but it was not until the release of “Bandersnatch” in December of 2018 that the choose your own adventure medium became popular.

“We realized, wow, interactive storytelling is something we want to be more on,” Yellin said “We’re doubling down on that. So expect over the next year or two to see more interactive storytelling.”

Netflix has released only one other interactive series since.

Other entertainment entities have also tried their hand at interactive storytelling. Tinder debuted in early October, Tinder Swipe Night, an interactive 5 minute episode where Tinder users are faced with “moral dilemmas and practical choices,” according to the Tinder website. The choices a user makes allows them to match with people who made the same choices.

Eva Perez, a University of Texas at Austin student said that Swipe Night was a fun way to use the app.

“It’s like playing a mini video game,” Perez said. “It’s kinda funny to choose super out there choices knowing you don’t have to deal with the consequences in real life.”

Although Perez said that the Swipe Night does not help her make any good matches, she still plans on playing it.

“I’ve only gotten to play it once out of the three times so far, but though It’s not making me any considerable matches, I’ll play for fun.”

Photo courtesy of Unsplash

Both “Bandersnatch” and Swipe Night had premade choices where viewers could only choose the options provided to them, but other media platforms have used write in answers to decide the fate of their stories.

In February of 2018, former projection design graduate student, Alex Gendal produced, “It’s Your Funeral,” an interactive murder mystery theater performance where audience members used their cell phones to text in suggestions for the actors.

Courtesy of www.alexjgendal.com

“I wanted to kind of create a live performance that dealt with more interactive elements and engaging elements,” Gendal said. “And then I also wanted to involve technology…..The goal was actually to have the audience be aware of how much they had control.”

After each performance, Gendal surveyed audience members about their interactive experience. According the polls, 46% of audience members felt very engaged.

Gendal also asked whether or not viewers would be interested in seeing more interactive performances.

“Over half the people who came said yes,” Gendal said. “I think a lot of that was because of smartphones, because of getting them engaged…. It actually gets you into the story.”

Interactive media will continue to pop up in the future, Gendal said, because it draws in a younger audience. 

“It draws in a younger crowd that’s obsessed with phones and stuff like technology,” Gendal said. “People want to be part of a performance, [they] want to be part of the action, even in some small way.”

“There’s a future in [interactive] technologies.”