How the 2020 Election has influenced the viral hit game Among Us

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AOC’s Among Us stream has influenced many eligible Generation Z voters to take part in the 2020 presidential election. Graphic courtesy: Leeann Shu (‘22).

Though released in 2018, the mobile game Among Us began gaining popularity in September 2020 among teenagers and streamers. Now with quarantine separating all of us physically, Among Us serves as a perfect means to have fun and engage with others. It is a collaborative, multiplayer game that people can play with their friends or with random strangers via the public server. The game reached its peak relevancy when Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez decided to sign on and play a livestreamed video game on Twitch, hoping to encourage her young audience to vote in the 2020 election. 

Here at Webb, many students also try to stay connected with one another through playing Among Us. Many class and club meetings have used the mobile game as a fun activity for students to take part in.

“For such a simple game, Among Us has allowed me to have an in-depth connection with my friends online as we use the entirety of our critical thinking skills to try and figure out who’s lying,” said Dean Woelfle (‘21). “While talking and playing other games with friends is fun, Among Us permits an extremely high level of strategy and results in either intense satisfaction or jaw-dropping astonishment.” 

This simple yet captivating game has already exceeded 100 million downloads and its popularity is only continuing from there. Among Us is also popular among various social platforms, such as YouTube and TikTok, connecting “influencers” together who come from many different backgrounds. For instance, James Charles, a YouTuber well-known for his makeup tutorials and challenges, has recently played Among Us with many other YouTube gamers, and they shared their fun and excitement with their fans through livestreams. 

Among Us has established many great connections, however none is as extraordinary as Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s. AOC used a livestreaming platform called Twitch, to encourage early voting among new voters. She held an audience of up to 439,000 for several hours as she played with streamers such as Corpse Husband, Pokimane, and Hasanabi.  

This comes at a time where a great number of politicians have tried to connect with younger voters and failed to do so properly, resulting in somewhat robotic, gimmicky phrases, or social media trends. AOC, however, stays away from that. She has been livestreaming for a while on platforms such as Instagram or Twitch; she knows how to hold an audience and is entertaining to watch. 

Many people had positive reactions, saying it was an organic way to engage with young voters. Viewers were also happy how AOC was able to use her platforms to speak credibly and directly to millennials and Generation Z, with Nicky Danino, principal lecturer in Computer Science at the University of Central Lancashire, calling this “a well-orchestrated political move.”  

“AOC and Ilhan Omar, congresswomen, playing with popular gamers and influences like Corpse Husband and mxmtoon felt like a fever dream,” said Abbie Oh Arroyo (‘21). “It was cool to see them interact in ways that I interact with my friends and in a way created familiarity. We always see the political sides of these congresswoman but to see a fun side was so humanizing. I feel like our generation connects more with social media influencers because these are everyday people who connect with us through humor and showcasing their lives. It’s so important that these influencers use their platform to speak about voting because they have such a huge impact on the youth.” 

AOC’s Among Us stream is just one instance of how the 2020 elections impact many of our everyday leisure activities. In fact, following AOC’s stream, the Among Us game was soon overwhelmed by spam attacks that launched a cluster of pro-Republican messages to players. Players were also constantly locked out of games and met with hackers, making the game frustrating and less fun. 

These incidents may seem small in the larger scheme of things; in fact Developer InnerSloth is pushing an emergency update to address the hacking issues. Nevertheless, AOC’s livestream serves as a major step towards the integration of politics on our societal culture. It is important to remember that AOC’s livestream is not the only example of political influence on our daily activities. The week before election day, social media platforms began to raise awareness and encourage people who are eligible to vote. If you scroll through Instagram or TikTok, you will find plenty of posts that address this long-awaited presidential election, with many famous influencers urging their fans to vote. 

“The 2020 election between Trump and Biden will be a key cornerstone of American society, at least in these next few years,” said Will Allan, humanities department faculty. “Because America is so diverse, the election will impact individual regions differently, and the outcome of it has the potential to really upset people who have contrasting beliefs.” 

This nail-biting election will certainly test America’s ability to stay unified and leave a lasting impression on all walks of life. For AOC to stream Among Us and use that as an opportunity to encourage young people to vote reveals just how much of an impact young voters can have on the election. It will be interesting to see how much of an extent political forces will blend with the cultural aspects of our society in the future.