Hi Patrick, I keep seeing lots of screenshots of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez playing some game involving little Telly Tubby-type creatures. What’s all that about?
Hey Josh. So basically AOC (and Ilhan Omar, for a bit) is playing a video game called Among Us with some internet-famous people, and she’s broadcasting the whole thing live on the internet to anyone who wants to tune in!
How does the game work?
It’s a social deduction game like the party games Mafia or Werewolf, basically, but set on a spaceship or space base or something. Players are either normal players or an impostor. Players have to continually complete tasks to stay alive, while the murderer(s) stalk their ranks, sabotage the ship or murder players. But if a body is discovered, or players get suspicious enough, everyone gets together for a meeting and votes someone out. If there’s ever an equal number of impostors to regular players, the impostors win, and if all the impostors get voted out, it’s a victory for the normal folk. By the way, it’s common etiquette only to talk to one another in the meetings, so fast talking and frantic persuasion is the best path to victory.
NAH THEY HAVE AN AOC AMONG US FANCAM NOW DKKDJD pic.twitter.com/GUpMT4GyK5
— ❦ (@freyasolo) October 21, 2020
So the premise of the game is to deceive and mislead people until you win? Sounds like politics!
AOC agrees with you – she basically said that verbatim, right after another player blatantly lied to her face and then proceeded to backstab her to win the game!
AOC: "I can't kill Poki, Poki's so nice"
Seconds later: pic.twitter.com/SzCOqRRKFn
— Tim Young (@shindags) October 21, 2020
Why are they doing this?
Among Us is free on PC and mobile, so it’s a huge hit with the kids these days … and the teens … and the 20-somethings … basically anyone with a computer, an internet connection and a vague awareness of what Twitch is. AOC and Omar are pitching this as a way to get the ‘get out and vote’ message to a youth audience. Possibly they also just wanted to stream on the internet with friends, because that’s pretty fun.
How many people have been watching it?
Looks like they peaked at about 430,000 viewers, and it was at about 400,000 or so when they wrapped. That’s worldwide though.
correction: AOC's debut stream has now peaked at 439,000 viewers, making it the third highest individual stream by viewership in Twitch history, only behind the Ninja/Drake collab (628k) and shroud's return (500k)
the newest streaming superstar has arrived
— Rod Breslau (@Slasher) October 21, 2020
Wow, that’s a lot of people. How many people usually watch Twitch streams?
Well, the record is about 628,000 when Drake was streaming with well-known streamer Ninja on Fortnite, but those are megastar numbers. Regularly popular streamers might pull anywhere from the low thousands to low hundreds, while regular folks without an already existing social media following might get 10 or so viewers – if they’re lucky.
Will it win new voters?
Probably not new voters – if you’re excited about Democratic celebrity AOC streaming on Twitch, you’re already four-fifths of the way to being a terminally online leftist in any event. But it could encourage more people to talk about the stream and about voting, and AOC was encouraging people to proactively make “voting plans”, voter suppression being what is in the United States, so it certainly can’t hurt.
Is this the first time politicians have been using video games to try to encourage people to vote for them?
I seem to recall multiple politicians, Hillary Clinton included, trying to get in on virtual MMO Second Life back when that was the next big thing, but that was mostly unofficial. Certainly this is the first I recall a politician even knowing how to play a video game at all, let alone exhibit some competence in it and seem genuine while doing so. Most gamers tend to see politicians, who are generally older and less tech-savvy, coming into their space as at least a little suspicious. Or to put in Among Us terms … a little suss.