🎮 Among Us
From Letter 47
So I finally played Among Us! Although I love video games, I’m generally kind of skeptical of party games / board games / things adjacent to it. I’m very impatient and don’t like waiting for people to make their decisions, I don’t like having to read through rules and process them—I’d much rather just play and figure it out. Luckily, Among Us allows just that! I played a LOT of Mafia in high school, as I was a theater kid and it seemed to be something we were all into—the best parts were being the narrator and picking elaborate death stories. Among Us is great because you get to do silly little tasks and actually work toward something—when I played mafia, I preferred being one of the mafia people because you actually got to do something. In Among Us, I do not want to be the imposter!!!! I’m very bad at it. I was the imposter three times in a row and just kept saying I didn’t know how to play in order to play innocent. Highly recommend playing with friends and opening up a Discord voice chat—Jill and I played with a handful of folks and it was just a good hour of silliness.
🔗 Permadeath by Marlin M. Jenkins
From Letter 40
I wanted to read this essay as soon as Summer recommended it in the letter, because good video game writing is my weakness. The essay is about permadeath in video games, but it’s also about life and depression and death (like, real-life death) and I wasn’t expecting it to make me cry but it did. This line, in particular, stays with me: “A game presumably driven by your decisions but if you’ve made enough mistakes, enough bad choices, then you have to watch it happen. Your agency in the script has limits.” I’ve never played a game with permadeath—the closest I’ve come is Fire Emblem: Three Houses, which is the first in the franchise to offer a “casual” mode so people like me can enjoy the game without having to worry about their units dying halfway through the game and never coming back. But even then, you can’t play the game without killing some characters, permanently, in the end. Someday, maybe, I’ll play the game on classic mode, with permadeath turned on.