Death by Prox(y)amity: Participation with the Pandemic through the mobile multiplayer game Among Us (2018)

Lee, A. M. (2021) Death by Prox(y)amity: Participation with the Pandemic through the mobile multiplayer game Among Us (2018). In: Communities and Communication, 24th April 2021, Staffodshire University (Online via Zoom).

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Abstract

As in-person social interaction became the primary mode of transmission of the Covid-19 virus, alternative modes of social interaction were adopted to maintain interpersonal communication during the pandemic. Games, both analogue and digital, became a safe and engaging mode of communication often enabled by accelerated developments of video conferencing software such as Zoom.

Within an analysis of the mobile multiplayer game Among Us (2018), this paper will question the influence and potential effects of the game’s internal structures on participants’ sense of the real and ‘imagined communities’ (Anderson, 1983) when played over video conferencing software. Arguing that new modes of camaraderie are developed through a shared ‘definition of the situation’ (Goffman, 1986) within online environments. This research will identify how the current pandemics ‘state of exception’ (Agamben, 2005) is paralleled and processed through the game mechanic of the “emergency meeting” echoing the activities of the Daily Briefings, including the number of the dead, that have defined representation of U.K Covid response.

This paper will further assert that hyper-real substitutions for physical connection can be built through virtual environments. This will be argued as actualised through both an ‘autopoietic feedback loop’ (Fisher-Lichte, 2008) that is produced by the participants, though what Jan Murray describes as ‘procedural authorship’ (1999) of the virtual space. Within this process of a collaboratively constructed situational understanding, participants of Among Us are argued to roleplay new narratives of avoiding proximity through a zero-stakes game of digitised murder, whilst simultaneously processing the pandemics ‘state of exception’.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV1199 Games and amusements > GV1469.15 Computer games. Video games. Fantasy games
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
T Technology > T Technology (General)
Divisions: Academic Areas > Institute of Arts and Humanities > Theatre
Event Title: Communities and Communication
Event Location: Staffodshire University (Online via Zoom)
Event Dates: 24th April 2021
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Debbie Bogard
Date Deposited: 10 Feb 2022 09:16
Last Modified: 10 Feb 2022 09:16
URI: https://eprints.chi.ac.uk/id/eprint/5866

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