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Video game ‘Among Us’ as a space for communication
Year of production: 2021
0:00 [Music] 0:02 to start with 0:03 the best way to learn what among us is 0:06 is to play it 0:07 it's you could write a 20-page essay on 0:09 what it is 0:10 but at its core it's it's a it's an 0:13 online 0:14 multi-pair social deduction computer 0:16 game 0:17 whereby you get to play both 0:20 competitively against your the other 0:23 players on the p 0:24 on the on the team and cooperatively 0:27 with the same players 0:28 to achieve some shared goal so typically 0:32 there's up to 10 players on one map 0:35 controlled and with the one with the 0:38 goal 0:39 of fixing a spaceship to let it take off 0:42 on that team there's between one and two 0:45 people 0:46 who are secretly tasked to sabotage that 0:49 and make sure it doesn't go off so they 0:51 have to murder 0:53 enough players so that it's so that the 0:55 actual players are down to one 0:56 okay so nobody knows who the imposter is 0:59 except the imposter themselves 1:01 or imposters you can have up to two on a 1:03 map so basically 1:05 that sounds very simple and i'm there 1:07 are board games based on this 1:09 um secret hitler being one of them um 1:12 that were 1:12 incredibly popular this has just been 1:14 turned into a digital version and has 1:16 proved to be incredibly popular 1:18 so it's cross-platform which is i think 1:20 the key to its popularity 1:21 so therefore someone on an iphone can 1:23 play with someone on an android someone 1:25 on a pc 1:26 um so the real beauty of among us and 1:30 the reason i really really like 1:31 promoting it over other games is because 1:34 communication is such a fundamental 1:35 thing 1:36 for all of us and i've met 30 year olds 1:39 who have poorer communication skills 1:40 than 10 year olds 1:41 because it's not something that's really 1:42 really hit on the head except really an 1:45 informal education sentence 1:46 and we find that the most vulnerable in 1:49 society 1:50 often possess i won't say poor 1:53 communication 1:54 skills but not as refined as those who 1:56 are traditionally more successful 1:58 um so within 2:01 it's it's essentially a game of lying 2:02 but for the best experience i've i've 2:04 spoken to a lot of kids 2:05 who use text who there's an inbuilt text 2:08 system within the game 2:09 where you don't need to you don't need 2:10 to see or hear each other to play the 2:12 game 2:12 however for the best experience you 2:14 usually link it up with a with a 2:16 with a voice with another software like 2:19 zoom 2:19 discard or or google meets or whatever 2:22 else like skype even although i haven't 2:24 heard that being very popular lately 2:25 um and what the rules of the game are 2:28 that while you're playing as in while 2:30 your character is moving around 2:32 there is no communication you turn off 2:34 your camera you turn off your voice 2:36 so therefore all you can see is what you 2:38 can see in this gray area around you you 2:39 can't see anything except what you can 2:40 physically see in the game 2:41 um and then for what for whatever reason 2:45 whether someone finds a dead body 2:47 or just wants to call a meeting to 2:48 discuss it everyone turns on their 2:50 microphone and turns on their camera 2:52 and discusses what they've seen some 2:54 like 2:55 some people may have been with somebody 2:57 else for the whole game therefore they 2:58 couldn't have been the imposter 3:00 you know the imposter could call it and 3:02 say well i was with this person 3:03 there's such a level of unknown 3:05 information 3:06 that all of the players have to come 3:07 together and paint a picture together of 3:09 what has actually happened 3:11 in the hopes that the that they'll catch 3:13 the imposter 3:14 and then after that discussion which is 3:15 typically 90 seconds long 3:17 so there's a there's a time element 3:18 there as well so people not only have to 3:20 get their point across 3:21 like 10 people trying to get their point 3:23 across in 90 seconds 3:25 doesn't happen in our meetings within 3:27 work never mind 3:28 a bunch of young people who are 3:30 connected via phone but somehow 3:32 it works somehow they get it and over 3:33 time they really develop these 3:35 these very specific terms and phrases to 3:37 help paint a picture of what's going on 3:39 um and then there's a vote at the end so 3:42 people can abstain from the vote 3:43 therefore there is no vote so we don't 3:44 know or they can vote on one person 3:47 to to kick them off the spaceship 3:48 because they think it's the imposter 3:49 that person may 3:50 or may not be the imposter so within the 3:53 game then 3:54 um this is where the real value is and i 3:57 suppose it's only as good as the person 3:58 who's 3:58 who's observing and pulling out that 4:00 learning and again i'd strongly advocate 4:02 to play it 4:03 because the best way to get a good 4:04 strong feeling of what's happening so 4:07 it allows you to play on the 4:08 complexities of communication 4:10 things like um to promote people to 4:13 reflect on how they send 4:14 and receive information to even even 4:17 what type of information they're sending 4:18 and receiving 4:19 physically verbally and passively now 4:22 there's loads of other types but they're 4:23 the first things that come to mind 4:24 so physically seeing someone there's an 4:26 element of 4:28 what are they doing what are they are 4:29 they smiling or they're not is does that 4:31 person oh it's like playing poker i 4:32 guess to a degree 4:34 it's kind of like what is their poker 4:35 face how are they how are they behaving 4:36 now versus the last time 4:38 so i know they were the imposter last 4:39 time why are they behaving differently 4:40 now 4:41 so there's so many kind of calculations 4:43 going on in the mind 4:44 and that that that social deduction 4:46 essentially but what are they doing 4:47 physically 4:48 how does their voice sound what are they 4:50 saying and a really important part 4:52 of when you're when you're judging 4:53 anthony is what aren't they saying what 4:55 are they leaving out 4:56 so you get to play on that and and then 4:58 of course as much as possible 5:00 you ask them to apply this to real world 5:02 that's when the real 5:03 fun stuff works because then you get to 5:05 talk about 5:06 things like um dominant personalities 5:10 passive personalities um well say the 5:13 complexities of truth and lies honesty 5:15 and deception 5:16 do you know what is honesty what is 5:17 deception why is it that 5:19 no matter what situation we're in we 5:21 can't really fully put it in the honesty 5:22 box or the deceptive box 5:24 you know in what situation does being 5:26 direct 5:27 really is not it's not a good move joe 5:30 and then that's 5:30 that's a really good one there because 5:32 then you can play on young people who 5:33 aren't maybe living in the safest 5:34 environment 5:35 where you have elements of domestic 5:36 violence where you have an unsafe 5:38 neighborhood you know like we all know 5:41 young people who are grown up in areas 5:43 where it's probably not best to go out 5:44 after eight o'clock 5:45 you know where if if somebody says 5:47 something to you you just agree with 5:48 them you keep moving 5:49 so you can't always stand up for your 5:51 values and morals and this 5:53 there has to be an element of deception 5:54 built into us to survive 5:56 and you pull that out of young people 5:58 and you quickly get young people 5:59 understanding 6:00 something that we all throw about we all 6:02 use the word empathy and we use it far 6:04 too much 6:04 to say that i have empathy it's it's 6:07 it's the one of the most complex skills 6:09 to develop and something that young 6:10 people will be 6:11 will be developing throughout their 6:12 entire life carefully and 6:14 opportunistically is the only way i can 6:16 say that 6:17 i i try my absolute 6:21 best not to turn anything we do into a 6:23 therapeutic session 6:24 into something that would be considered 6:26 a formal discussion 6:28 so as much as possible i try to inject 6:30 as much humor as i can 6:32 so for example like let's just use the 6:35 name 6:36 tom it's like tom was lying to his teeth 6:38 that entire thing 6:39 i absolutely love how you were accused 6:41 for three votes and you somehow weaseled 6:43 your way out of it 6:44 how the hell did you manage that then 6:46 you have tom talking about well i just 6:48 stayed quite 6:49 or i knew if i reacted to you'd know 6:51 well i was lying 6:52 and then you just you push that and you 6:54 push you call someone else and say 6:56 how come how come you didn't spot him 6:58 you spotted him last time what were you 6:59 thinking and again you're just getting 7:01 this informal communication and the 7:02 slagging 7:03 i cannot i cannot emphasize how good 7:07 slagging amongst friends is again it i 7:10 mean i i don't want to get too kind of 7:12 hairy theory about it but the the the 7:15 the 7:16 subtle nuances of communication amongst 7:19 friends are are groups of young people 7:21 that are that are given permission 7:23 to abuse not abuse but but to to throw 7:26 away the traditional rules of society 7:29 and lie to each other and manipulate 7:31 each other which is among us is what 7:32 among us is doing to give them 7:35 permission to just 7:36 just aggressively chase the truth by 7:38 whatever means 7:39 necessary and then when the game is over 7:41 the rules reset 7:42 and you're back to a different set of 7:44 rules which is there which are in life 7:46 um when you get them into that mindset 7:49 they'll hurl 7:49 their hurl accusations at each other and 7:52 they'll 7:53 criticize each other and they'll they'll 7:55 give someone a reflection of themselves 7:57 that they can't that that person might 7:59 necessarily be able to apply to 8:00 themselves 8:01 um so carefully and opportunistically is 8:05 my answer 8:06 um now youth workers are incredibly 8:08 skilled people and they're probably the 8:10 worst in the world for showing those 8:11 skills 8:12 or at least talking about them or are 8:14 representing them in paperwork 8:15 um but it happens like we were just 8:19 talking recently i was i was delivering 8:20 some 8:21 uh let's say simple circuit-based 8:23 training into a group of group of youth 8:24 workers and 8:26 one youth worker said this is going to 8:28 be a fantastic way 8:30 of helping the quieter people in my 8:31 group become the experts over the really 8:34 loud people 8:35 and i said like isn't that one of the 8:37 most significant 8:38 pieces of developmental work you could 8:40 do for a young person who struggles with 8:41 his confidence 8:42 and it's one of the most difficult 8:44 things to represent on a piece of paper 8:45 and justify funding for 8:46 whereas if you say and again if i'm 8:49 going playing computer games with kids 8:50 like who the hell is going to fund that 8:52 do you know but all these subtle 8:54 essential societal rules 8:56 are being followed within these games 8:58 and you also have this opportunity to 9:00 create 9:01 an artificial environment whereby you 9:03 can or 9:04 actually you don't the kids dictate the 9:05 rules and you 9:07 follow them with purpose you then pull 9:09 out 9:10 what are those rules and why are they 9:11 applicable here where else are they 9:13 applicable where else is it completely 9:15 acceptable to lie 9:16 where is it not acceptable to lie what's 9:18 the difference between telling someone 9:20 light their face 9:21 and a lie of a mission what if you knew 9:23 one of your girl 9:24 your one of your friend's girlfriends 9:25 wasn't being faithful would you tell 9:27 them 9:27 you know where is your where is your 9:29 moral compass there and this is all 9:31 coming from a game called among us 9:33 where you lie to your friends you get to 9:35 discuss all these different things 9:37 and one of my favorite things i suppose 9:39 to discuss and of course it depends on 9:40 the young person it depends on his 9:41 circumstances or her circumstances now 9:44 the majority of my experiences with 9:45 young fellas 9:46 just because of the nature of everything 9:48 but it was um 9:49 the right time to tell lies and and how 9:52 that influences you long term 9:54 so i'm a big fan of like 9:57 look i'm not i'm not someone who says 9:59 like if you lie your soul will go a 10:00 certain way or you'll live a bad life or 10:02 whatever 10:03 but i do know and i have a lot of of 10:06 i don't know what the anecdotal evidence 10:08 i guess is the word that if someone is 10:10 okay with lying 10:11 long term that will strongly influence 10:13 their sense of self 10:14 their sense of morals the amount of 10:17 enjoyment they get out of their own 10:18 achievements 10:19 their their their ability to commit to 10:21 things 10:22 and i love playing that out with young 10:24 people saying 10:25 tell me an example of a time when you've 10:27 just consistently lied and how you feel 10:29 about it 10:30 now they'll never give you the straight 10:31 answer first time but you've planted a 10:33 little seed 10:34 you've got them thinking and inevitably 10:36 if you're if you have the opportunity 10:37 to engage with them long term you'll 10:39 you'll pick that conversation up again 10:41 and among us again it's a it's a 10:44 ruleless society 10:46 for 10 minutes online where young people 10:48 get to just vent 10:49 uh first and foremost is probably the 10:51 simplest one when we do youth work 10:53 in person we always have energizers 10:56 it mixed up whether they're simple 10:58 two-minute games 10:59 to take the young people away from the 11:01 developmental work we're doing 11:02 re-energize them and bring them back 11:04 that's the first thing you should be 11:05 using among us as 11:07 yes there's a ton of learning in it but 11:10 don't turn it into a therapeutic piece 11:12 first of all it's an energizer it's 11:13 something for them to engage in and only 11:15 when they give you permission 11:17 to discuss the dynamics that are going 11:19 on within that group do you jump on it 11:21 as a skilled youth worker you'll spot it 11:23 you'll see that opening 11:24 okay don't push the subject because they 11:26 will reject it because this is their 11:28 game 11:29 it's their rules it's their time um and 11:31 at any point they can disengage 11:33 particularly now when they're online 11:34 so seek permission without asking 11:39 judge the dynamic of what's going on 11:40 before you push the subject 11:42 and if it's not common just stay using 11:45 it as an energizer it will come 11:47 kids love discussing lies deception and 11:50 how smart they are 11:51 and this is this is an exercise on who 11:53 can who can be more deceptive than the 11:55 other 11:56 and they're always winners will always 11:57 emerge and competition will always fly 12:00 out there 12:00 and the quiet ones will become the 12:02 experts and they'll become the people 12:04 that 12:04 are giving out the advice so so play on 12:07 that don't push it is my first piece of 12:09 advice 12:10 my second piece well okay that sounds 12:12 really pretentious of me 12:14 but um another thing that i find really 12:17 effective when you're working with young 12:18 people on it 12:18 is the first few sessions are going to 12:20 be really quite they're going to be 12:22 really boring 12:23 because they won't have the lingo they 12:25 won't have the a lot of them might have 12:26 more than yourselves but it's their 12:27 first time 12:28 playing it they won't they won't 12:31 acknowledge that this is a new space 12:33 with new societal rules with new 12:34 permissions to do new things and say new 12:36 things 12:36 so you might have to dictate some of 12:38 that you might have to just aggressively 12:40 accuse someone of being the 12:41 being the imposter even if you have the 12:43 clue and laugh it off 12:45 okay and vote them off and say oh my god 12:47 i can't believe i thought that was you 12:49 because you did this this this 12:51 and laugh it um and then let them vote 12:53 you off or 12:54 have fun if you have another member of 12:56 staff in their play on it you know 12:58 torture them about just call accuse them 13:00 of everything so that you're giving 13:01 young people mission 13:02 say this is a safe space for you to to 13:05 play the 13:06 game you don't have to hold back with 13:07 your level of communication 13:09 you can this is the shared goal here is 13:11 to root out the 13:12 imposter this kind of behavior is 13:14 acceptable here 13:15 okay and then afterwards whether whether 13:19 you're in a place or not you can say 13:20 guys there's news out of rules there now 13:22 we're not online anymore you know 13:24 so so encourage the play by being the 13:27 advocate yourself so of course go away 13:29 practice and 13:30 if you're going to facilitate a group of 13:31 young people if their experts follow 13:32 their lead 13:33 take their advice ask questions and my 13:36 favorite one is always 13:37 i don't know what i'm doing and you're 13:38 running around as the imposter killing 13:40 everyone okay 13:41 and they will absolutely appreciate that 13:43 um so play with them 13:44 acknowledge that it's their rules here 13:46 okay and every game of among us every 13:48 different group 13:49 have a subtle variation on what's 13:52 acceptable in the game 13:53 so they have a different level of skill 13:56 they have a different 13:56 understanding of the game so so use your 13:59 own 14:00 discretion or our ability to assess that 14:02 and 14:03 slot in wherever you think you can um 14:06 but 14:06 constantly remind yourself this is their 14:08 game and i'm here 14:10 as a participant yes but i'm also here 14:12 because i need to observe what's going 14:14 on 14:14 i need to find out what points i can 14:16 pull on subtly 14:18 very very subtly don't be like it often 14:21 happens 14:22 um and sometimes it can come down to how 14:24 quickly you have to report on things or 14:25 justify what you're doing 14:26 but just remember among us is here for a 14:29 good while all right 14:30 and it's going to be here for another 14:31 long time so you don't have to achieve 14:32 everything in the first session 14:34 you don't even have to achieve it on the 14:35 fifth session what you have to do is 14:37 develop a kind of a status quo or or a 14:40 behavior that's 14:41 long-term and sustainable and the 14:43 learning can come over a long period of 14:45 time 14:46 and this is again among us there's only 14:48 one tool in a massive tool 14:50 that you have it doesn't have to be you 14:51 don't have to have an among us group 14:53 you could have a group whereby you start 14:56 and finish it with a game among us and 14:57 you have a topic then in the middle or 14:59 you have something entirely different 15:00 but um it does open quite a lot of 15:03 conversation for other games as well 15:05 so so listen for that and if there's 15:07 another game you know consult with your 15:08 colleagues 15:09 um or whoever it may be and see how that 15:12 can fit in as well 15:13 on a side note i suppose among us it's 15:15 not 100 applicable among us 15:17 but we used to do a lot of work on 15:18 emotional narratives 15:20 on on the theory that that young people 15:23 talk to themselves 15:24 more than they talk to anyone else and 15:25 traditionally young people in vulnerable 15:27 positions have a very negative opinion 15:28 of themselves 15:29 so we did a lot of world building and 15:31 and character creations 15:33 and as we know young people they don't 15:35 write about anything except from their 15:36 own narrative 15:37 so we used computer games like world of 15:39 warcraft or other really popular ones 15:41 regardless of what main topic it was 15:44 bunny in each of these worlds 15:45 there's a set of rules whether it be 15:48 down to a different 15:48 type of physics or a different culture 15:51 or all these various different cultures 15:53 from 15:53 from elves and dwarves and all these 15:56 other magical things 15:57 but within each of those worlds is a new 15:59 set of rules and new set of norms 16:01 and we often asked young people to write 16:03 from a narrative 16:04 that you were in that world that you 16:06 were a particular race so 16:08 you could pull out racism about an elf 16:11 you know so you're you're there you're 16:13 you're kind of lessening the risk of 16:15 offending someone 16:16 but also helping a young person to not 16:18 to have to build their entire world or 16:20 write a story from scratch 16:21 write something about a character you 16:23 know in a computer game and inevitably 16:26 like you could talk about what are their 16:27 values what do they want to achieve what 16:28 are all these different things 16:29 and then essentially what you're doing 16:31 is life story work with a young person 16:32 using a computer again 16:34 um there's so many free to play games 16:36 out there 16:37 where you have to develop a character 16:39 down to what he looks like 16:40 what his strengths and weaknesses are 16:41 her strengths and weaknesses are and and 16:43 what type of play are you going to do 16:45 where do you fit into the other players 16:47 what's your role in the group 16:49 what what you have to depend on them for 16:50 what do they have to depend on you for 16:52 and again that's one of the one of the 16:55 many many 16:56 massive advantages computer games can 16:59 give you 17:00 if you're willing to sit down and play 17:01 them and learn about them it's a huge 17:02 investment 17:03 i'm 32 and i'm still learning about them 17:05 i'm an advocate for computer games 17:08 if they're used properly of course they 17:10 can be used in a negative way but we're 17:12 youth workers that's what we do we take 17:13 what's out there and we 17:14 make it work and play with each other do 17:17 you know like start up without a 17:18 mongoose game in the office 17:20 you know play with each other um give 17:23 each other challenges like go away play 17:24 minecraft together 17:25 like it's 10 quid for a server you know 17:27 build something together in minecraft 17:29 um look at the new emerging computer 17:31 games that are coming out 17:33 and and if it i'm sure the vast majority 17:35 of managers or funders out there 17:38 if you give them the argument to say we 17:39 need to learn this they'll give you the 17:40 time to do it 17:41 and the funding to do it as well engage 17:43 in it reach out to other people that 17:45 play 17:45 get the young people to be the experts 17:46 as much as you can get them in to teach 17:48 you how to do it 17:49 that's i was very lucky to work for an 17:51 incredibly skilled manager 17:53 where i worked in a youth in a youth 17:55 setting 17:56 and he said no matter what you do let 17:59 the young people lead it 18:00 you know no matter what you're doing 18:02 you'll never go wrong if the young 18:03 people are telling you what to do 18:05 you know it's your job to police it it's 18:06 your job to make sure it's within the 18:08 confines of your insurance or child 18:10 protection and everything 18:11 but like nine times out of ten if the 18:12 young people lead it 18:14 you're on to a winner no matter what and 18:16 if anyone discovers the secret to 18:18 representing all the subtle things that 18:19 we deliver on a daily basis 18:21 i'd love to hear them um if i could 18:23 represent half of the positive outcomes 18:25 that i 18:26 managed to help young people achieve who 18:28 knows we might be able to get paid 18:30 a good living wage 18:45 you
“Video game ‘Among Us’ as a space for communication” is is the second part of the interview with Eddie Quinn, who tells more details on ways he is using the video game ‘Among Us’ to communicate with young people, to explore various themes while playing this game.
Watch this video to learn some basics about the game as well as useful tips on how you can use the game in youth work settings.
This video is part of the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on Digital Youth Work.
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