By Serena Goldstein ‘24 and Shira Mack ‘24, Staff Writers
Walking by a ninth-grade classroom these days, you may hear some strange language like “Blue’s sus!” and “I saw Yellow vent in O2!” Heschel freshmen often spend their time at school playing Among Us, a fast-paced multiplayer video game that up to 10 players can join— a perfect number for a Heschel pod.
In Among Us, every player is assigned a customizable character. There are 1-2 “imposters” who try to eliminate the other players, who are called “crewmates.” Imposters use floor vents to teleport to other rooms and stealthily kill crewmates, who then turn into ghosts. The crewmates run around the spaceship completing minigames called “tasks,” such as fixing the wiring in the electrical room. Simultaneously, the players try to identify the imposters.
The game has helped ease new students through their transition to Heschel. Sari Goodman, a freshman new to Heschel, had first heard about Among Us from her sisters but was not particularly interested until she got to Heschel. She plays with her Thursday pod during their breaks and lunch. Even though Goodman is a new student, she quickly got to know the students in her pod. “I can talk to people across the room when normally having a conversation with someone across the room would be a little disconnected,” Goodman remarks. Isaac Silberman, another new student in the class of 2024, downloaded the popular game at the beginning of the school year. He mostly plays in his Wednesday pod during lunch and at home while on FaceTime with friends. When asked why he thought the game became so popular, Silberman said, “Once a few people start playing, everyone wants to join in. The game is also interactive, communal, and easy to learn.” Silberman pointed out, “For people who don’t know each other, Among Us is a great way to introduce yourself and find a common interest.”
Freshmen joining the high school from the Heschel middle school also connect with other students through the game. Elizabeth Ciment, a returning freshman, first downloaded Among Us because of her friends’ interest in the game. She plays mostly in her Thursday pod but also occasionally at home with her brother. Ciment remarked, “Among Us creates a feeling of belonging to a community because of all the excitement you feel in the room. Also, the game brings together people who usually would not talk to each other, and that is really essential for grade bonding.”
Ninth grader and returning student Sam Steiner commented, “I started playing the first Wednesday of in-person classes because a bunch of the kids in my pod were playing, so I also wanted to play. I usually only play Among Us at school during lunch, and that’s when other people are playing. I think it’s easier to relate to people by having this thing in common with everyone else.”Joseph Eskin, the ninth grade dean, recalls seeing freshmen playing Among Us in many pods during breaks and lunch. He has even played a couple of games in a ninth-grade Thursday pod. Although he hasn’t gotten the hang of how to play Among Us just yet, he says, “It was fun to be in on the game and to try to convince my students I wasn’t the imposter.” He also said, “I think Among Us allows students to interact in normal, high school ways even with the social distancing rules we have in school. I see students who play the game building friendships, working together, goofing around, raising their voices, getting competitive, and most of all, laughing.”