‘It lets me be my sneaky self’: Streamers explain the impact Among Us has had on the LGBT+ community
Last summer, during the height of the pandemic, one game spiked in popularity uniting gamers, influencers and even Congress with its charm, wit and silly fun – and that game was Among Us.
Originally released in 2018, the game takes place in a space-themed setting, where teams of four to ten crewmates (with one or two being imposters) attempt to identify the saboteur(s) by avoiding being killed and completing assigned tasks around the map.
From those relatively straightforward origins, Among Us has become one of the biggest sleeper hit games the gaming world has ever seen, Among Us became an immediate fan favourite amongst Gen Z and social media influencers alike.
From queer Youtubers attempting to find a boyfriend on Among Us to politician Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez logging on to play alongside Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, the game’s effect on pop culture is more than visible.
Speaking with two trailblazing LGBT+ Twitch streamers – Ben Thompson and BlizzB3ar – we asked them their thoughts on the game and whether or not they felt that it truly united the LGBT+ community.
Hi, guys! How did you get into Among Us and what do you enjoy the most about the game?
BEN: I initially began playing during its initial hype phase. (Among Us) had been around for a while but began gaining recognition in the streaming space due to how hilarious any given moment can be. I remember seeing a clip of MermaidRoyal absolutely howling at the fact she was asking for help – because she didn’t know how to get into a vent – in public chat and before you know it I’m playing this game with some amazing people creating my own funny moments.
Among Us allows me to be my best, yet sneaky, self. What a lot of people don’t know about me is that I’m very believable and can run a story about how I definitely couldn’t have been an imposter. On a lighter note, this game has introduced me to an array of creators I might never have met before. Although first impressions can be a little jarring as you’re having to lie to each other to win the game, I’ve definitely made some good friends just by being in this space.
BLIZZB3AR: I got into Among Us after watching a couple of folks on Youtube play it. I wanted to try it out, so I gathered a group of friends for a stream collab one night. I got really into it because it was a chance for you to use all your brain cells and basically play a game of Clue! (Cluedo in the UK). I am a huge fan of board games. What I enjoy the most about the game, though, is that it’s a perfect opportunity to get a bunch of friends together and create some funny moments.
Why do you think the LGBT+ community had such a positive response to the game?
BEN: It’s one of those games where your labels do not matter. It’s a free space in which you get to put everything aside and be a character that’s just trying to survive (or complete tasks!). It’s the thrill of ‘anything could happen’.
BLIZZB3AR: It’s an amazing game where you can get a bunch of personalities together. You can share a fun time, share a laugh, try to solve a whodunnit, and just create memories. Plus, the lobby size is bigger than most games so that can equal more fun.
Do you believe the game united the LGBT+ community? If so what effect do you think it had on the queer gaming community?
BEN: In the creator space, absolutely; there aren’t that many games like this out there. Every time I play I just know that it’s going to turn into a ‘wine night’ and I’m going to have a blast with old and new faces!
BLIZZB3AR: I don’t think this game was a major unification for the queer community, but it definitely was a positive force during the pandemic. Personally, I met a lot of queer individuals in the gaming community by being invited to Among Us lobbies. Before Twitch, I didn’t really have a lot of queer friends in real life due to the area I am in, but I was able to come into this space and make A LOT of queer friends online. That in itself is comforting because now I am around a group of folks who understand some of the experiences I have gone through.
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Do you think that the LGBT+ gaming community is stronger than before and if so why? What has changed? What could be changed?
BEN: Definitely! This past year the LGBT+ community has had time to simmer and take a look at what really matters. From what I’ve seen we’re working harmoniously and have fine-tuned a space for ourselves where there hadn’t been before. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still a lot of gatekeeping and that’s always going to happen but we’re slowly but surely breaking down doors. We’re being recognised for the content we’re creating and not our labels.
BLIZZB3AR: I would say yes. What changed was the pandemic. A lot of us went into streaming as a way to cope with the scary times. From there, we met other individuals who were in the same boat as us and started making our own little queer communities and spaces on the Twitch platform. Although I have limited knowledge of the queer community before Covid, I do believe it’s been growing. Also, I don’t see any necessary changes other than continuing to uplift and protect queer BIPOC in gaming spaces.
Finally, what advice would you give to someone from our community about wanting to get into gaming and streaming?
BLIZZB3AR: You’re gonna get some bigots and trolls that come into your space. Ban them. Block them. Keep moving forward. Keep doing your thing and playing the games that make you happy. You are doing great!