Why Among Us’ Emergency Meeting is the big social media mood

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Two-year-old subterfuge game Among Us has taken off in 2020, thanks to popular streamers and YouTubers who are currently playing the game. One of the biggest ways the game is showing up on social media is through the “Emergency Meeting” meme, a joke that expertly captures the mood of 2020.

Among Us, for those who haven’t played, is what would happen if you put Fall Guys in a blender with John Carpenter’s The Thing. In it, you are part of a crew, working together to complete tasks across a station. One to three players, however, are impostors looking to sabotage the team’s efforts, ideally killing everyone in the process. The crew needs to figure out who the impostors are, or die in space.

There are two opportunities to confront a crewmate you suspect of being a traitor. One is if someone finds the body of a dead crewmate and reports it. Everyone gets together to talk about the dead body. The second way to force a meeting is to hit the big red Emergency Meeting button. You can only do this once in a game, and its intended purpose is to confront an alien among your crew. If you see one of your crewmates suddenly slither into a vent, or bite off an ally’s head, you hit this button so you can vote the alien out to its death.

If you see an Emergency Meeting pop up, you know shit is about to go down. The chat immediately lights up with accusations and defenses. This is where clever impostors can frame innocent crewmates, or a small faction of crewmates can make their case to scuttle a suspicious player who’s probably an impostor. Things get heated real fast, and everyone but the dead can chip in with their side.

Of course, this mechanic has been co-opted by certain trolls, who take advantage of the way it forces everyone else in the game to pay attention to you. It’s common to have an Emergency Meeting go off to ask the whole lobby if they like pizza, for example. Other players have reported that small-time streamers will call an Emergency Meeting to link their stream to the captive audience.

“Emergency Meeting” is becoming an abstract tag in and of itself, a meme distinct from Among Us. If you saw a cute GIF that made you cry, or your crush texted you and you need your friends, these posts are tagged with “Emergency Meeting.”

Despite the far-out premise of deep space and aliens, I relate to the tension around sudden meetings. In Among Us, they’re simply more rewarding, as they occasionally end with triumph over your foes. I only wish I could slam a giant red button to get things done in my real life.

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