On the Communist Metaphors Present in Among Us

Evan Neu ’22

Contributing Writer

The 2018 multi-player heated discussion game Among Us has been nothing short of a smash hit. Now the epicenter of internet culture, similar to Minecraft or Fortnite in ubiquity, the game has been referenced numerous times, sometimes even accidentally, through the terminology of crewmates, tasks, impostors being among us, and of course acting “sus.” Less commonly identified, however, are the major political references hidden in the game design of Among Us. Could the popularity of Among Us be partly due to the political sympathies of its predominantly younger player base?

According to a Gallup poll, “socialism” has become about as popular as “capitalism” among millennials. As of 2019, 51% of millennials have a positive view of capitalism, whereas 49% of millennials have a positive view of socialism. Many would claim that this is just an affinity for the “democratic socialism” of the likes of Bernie Sanders; however, it’s not too difficult to make the jump from socialism to full-on communism, in no small part due to popular culture. What’s more popular right now than Among Us? You’ll see shortly that this “theory,” unlike that of Marx and Engels, won’t fail to hold up.

As many of you should know, the core gameplay elements of Among Us are simple. Crewmates carry out tasks, stop sabotage attempts, and report the bodies of fallen crewmates in order to identify and “vote out” the impostor players. The impostors mimic crewmates’ activities and can also report dead bodies (even the bodies of crewmates they killed), but their main goal is to make their numbers equal to that of the crewmates.

These crewmates (or, should I say, “comrades”) do not work for a boss or “capitalist” for pay; they complete their tasks out of obligation to their command centers, which all have strikingly un-American appearances. “From each according to their ability,” indeed. Players who are assigned to be “impostors” give up their humanity, and it is the crewmates’ duty to purge them. Dehumanization of “impostors” is just a light-hearted pastime in the year 2021.

Making light of the “purging” of their friends, millennials fail to realize the death toll communism took in Soviet Russia. Under the proletariat’s dictatorship, Joseph Stalin’s dictatorship, 5 million kulaks were “voted off” (to the gulags) and killed in the failed attempt to collectivize agriculture. 750,000 government workers were also “voted off” to the gulags as well. Maybe they were just “acting sus?”

It’s no coincidence that the default color of “crewmate” is RED, but this crewmate is an IMPOSTOR! Socialism doesn’t work: vote off communism in 2024!

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  1. 1

    Interesting article, thought I’d share a few thoughts:
    1) “it’s not too difficult to make the jump from socialism to full-on communism”. This statement is false. These are different systems entirely.
    2) “which all have strikingly un-American appearances” suggests that being American is the default state of being and deviating from that is making a statement – from the contents of the article it’s easy to infer the writer sees this as a negative. This is all just false.
    3) The article moves on to the Soviet Union specifically. Kip rants and raves about the horrible atrocities committed in the USSR as if it has any relevance to the game. Somehow they conflate “voting out” and “gulags” as if bean astronauts have anything to do with them. Would they complain about murder in, say, Call of Duty, where pro-America, pro-military slogans are everywhere? I wonder…
    4) Ultimately this is a piece of propaganda. It begins with a question, complains about the increasingly socialist youth and ends with a call to action – “vote off communism”. In the process it uses Among Us (a game that has nothing to do with anything else in the article) as a vehicle to compare well-intentioned socialism to oppressive communism in the USSR.

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