The Game of the Year Awards were full of surprises in December 2022. Participants had to compete with Cuphead’s live DLC performance from 2021, which set the bar incredibly high. Some events came pretty close out-wowing the Cuphead jazz band — Crash Bandicoot literally stormed the place looking for things to steal while Stray won the indie award. We also got some rather cool trailers and previews of what’s coming in 2023. Among Us creators, Innersloth, revealed that its beloved murder-in-space game will receive a new mode. I think a new side of Among Us is long overdue, especially for the squeamish like myself.
According to the released trailer, Among Us will feature a Hide 'N Seek mode. In it, you will know who your killer is and have to hide from them. You can even take refuge in the Impostor vents. Saving yourself with the insight of who your enemy is changes the stakes and feel of the game.
Snippets and clips allow us to see how Among Us would play out in this mode. During each round, a person randomly becomes the Impostor. It’s like a werewolf-meets-alien transformation, how they slump on the ground before leaping into their monstrous form. As the Impostor, they seek the other players out who need to hide, evade, and use knowledge of the ship's layout to their advantage.
However, it’s not that simple. The hunted players must repair the ship while hiding, which will make "the timer go down faster" (which is a good thing in thing for those being seeked). If the hunted players are all found in succession, then it’s game over. The Impostor wins. However, if one person stays alive until the timer runs out, the survivor is victorious.
The rules seem straightforward, a premise I can easily get behind. Hide 'N Seek with stakes is a classic children’s game. Why not up the ante with threats of snapped necks in the dark?
The Appeal of Hide 'N Seek
Even though Among Us was a 2018 game, it went viral during the pandemic. Everyone — from Team Starkid to US Senators and Representatives — was playing it. It's a game that has inspired songs, animated videos, and more, the appeal of being the hunted or the hunter present. Questions of trust emerge within the game and have become a unique reference across pop culture.
I played it once and once was enough. Twice, friends ambushed me and for the first time, I didn’t know that you could re-enter the game if you wanted to keep playing as a ghost. Later, I learned that not re-entering the game can be perceived as rude and a violation of social etiquette. They don’t spell that out in the rules, only that you have to watch out for an Impostor who is prepared to kill people. Trope pages had to explain the psychological and social constructs that truly emerge within the game.
After that night, I vacillated when other invitations went out and chose not to join future sessions. It didn’t feel fun. Instead, I felt apprehensive and worried. I didn’t know who I could trust, and with people who knew some of my night time worries and holiday stresses, finding them digitally stabbing me in the back was unnerving. After a few sessions, I realized this game was not my cup of tea and got a reminder of why I do not do multiplayer.
Hide ‘N Seek is a game where no one can betray you, at least not in the murderous sense.
Find your spot and wait or navigate your way toward a designated Safe Zone. It’s not like you’ll be hiding with someone and they’ll stab you in the back or snap your neck. You know who is hunting you down and where to go in theory. If you know the layout and all the safe spots, then you can navigate through the corridors. It doesn’t seem to be perfect, as an Impostor can murder you if they catch up, but the game gives you a fairer chance of surviving.
Maybe I will actually revisit the game, rather than cringing at it. It would be nice to take a moment to spend time with my friends, even if we are so far away from each other. I would much like to not stress when playing games with friends (rather than questioning their intentions and words during Emergency Meetings) and enjoy myself.
I’m prepared to count to twenty. Who else is ready to play?
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