Do a task, Find the imposter. These words guide player decision making in Among Us.
As a crewmate, your life is tied to your job. Even if an imposter murders you, leaving a single bone protruding from your spliced spacesuit, you will exist as a ghost bound to help complete tasks. Your life and afterlife are tied to labour. Similar to the necessity of working class labour to survive outside of the game, within Among Us completing tasks as a crewmate is fundamental to survival.
Your jobs around the ship are reflective of the typical expectations of working class labour. Anyone can do them and they require minimal skill such as clicking a button or matching objects. Specialization does not exist. You are not an electrician, a data archivist, or an engineer, you are a crewmate and your job is to work to keep the ship running and avoid suspicion. Labour becomes simplified and subsequently menial. Every crewmate has the skills to do the job, any player can figure out the mechanics. This simplification re-enforces working class stereotypes that assume working class jobs are something that anyone can do (McAllister & Aupperle, 2017).
Since imposters (murdering aliens on the ship who are dressed as crewmates) cannot partake in this labour, working also denotes innocence. As you attempt to accuse and excommunicate the imposterous crewmates, discussions always turn to the legitimacy of one’s labour and the constant surveillance of each other’s actions on the ship. Those who do their job convincingly avoid suspicion, making labour legitimization for inclusion. In Among Us, success is obtained through collaborative ship maintenance and social deduction.
Your jobs, appearance, and simplified mechanics allude to working class stereotypes which underline the humour and secrecy of playing with others. In the end, class backdrops play.
This work is a small part of a larger research project studying social class and video games supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. You can learn more here: https://www.classandgames.com/
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