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Thursday, December 3, 2020

It wasn’t me! Western students stay social by playing “Among Us”

Discord server presents a way to mingle while in quarantine

WWU Among Us logo. Source: Adam Bullard.

By Sophia Pappalau

You’d better have an alibi prepared. 

Among Us, the social deduction game where lying is encouraged, has become a popular way to compete and make friends online — and WWU’s Among Us Discord server is the go-to spot for Western players. 

Adam Bullard, a third-year student at Western, founded the server on Sept. 21. As of Oct. 22, the server has 357 members. 

“I didn’t think that anything like it [for Western students] really existed for playing Among Us,” Bullard said. “I enjoyed playing it and thought that probably a lot of other people did too.”

In Among Us, players are either crewmates or impostors. Crewmates are stuck on a failing spaceship assigned with completing various maintenance tasks. However, there are one or two players that are working against the group: These are the impostors, and they have the ability to kill other players.

To win, crewmates need to identify the killer(s) or complete all of their maintenance tasks. If an impostor is suspected or a dead body is found, crewmates can call emergency meetings; through discussion, players decide who gets voted off the ship. 

Western students use Discord’s audio feature to interact while playing the game. 

“It’s really cathartic to yell at your friends and convince them you’re not lying,” said Garnet Droppo, a member of the WWU Game Design club. “It’s not something we get to do in our everyday life.” 

Droppo said intuitive, beginner-friendly gameplay set the game up for success.

“There’s the task where you have to connect the colored wires, but that’s as complicated as the tasks will get,” Droppo said. “You can look at your screen and without reading any words [the solution] is more or less apparent if you’ve engaged in pop culture in the last 15 to 20 years.”

While games like Fortnite have skill requirements, Among Us succeeds in making itself playable to new players, Droppo said. 

“[Among Us] opened up a really special window of opportunity” because of COVID-19, Droppo said. 

“It kind of scratches that itch of socializing even though we’re all online,” said Ian Cullum, the co-founder of WWU Among Us Discord server. 

Cullum, a third-year student at Western, said the server’s text and voice channels foster dialogue around other topics. While sharing memes and pet photos, members can discuss games and life at Western.

Catherine McDaniel is taking her first quarter at Western online, but has met other students through the Among Us server.

“It’s different than meeting someone in real life and being able to say, ‘Hey wanna go grab a coffee?’ or, ‘Hey, let’s go get boba,’” McDaniel said. “But it’s definitely been a place, at least for me, where I can just join people from my school and get to know them.”

The WWU Among Us Discord server can be accessed here.

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