At rideOS, we have regular “random rides” with other members of our company. In a random ride, two or more people are randomly selected through a Slack application called Donut to do a non-work activity together. It’s a great way for people in the company to get to know one another in an informal setting!
Justin and Julie doing boxing for their random ride.
Before COVID-19, we had a variety of in-person random rides, for example having a meal together, doing some rock climbing, visiting the California Academy of Sciences, and even boxing! Since the pandemic started, we have been working from home, so naturally, our random rides have also generally been distributed activities. Eating together (virtually) is still a big hit, as has cooking and baking together!
We made fluffy Japanese souffle pancakes in parallel.
Recently, for one of our random rides, Nilan suggested playing Among Us. Among Us is a video game by Innersloth, that can be played on Windows PCs, as well as Android and iOS devices. It’s been gaining in popularity, and a number of us had either played a game or two, or had heard of it and wanted to try the game out.
The game itself is a little like Werewolf and Mafia, where some members of the party are secretly on the opposing team, while the rest of the party tries to figure out who to trust. In Among Us, some members are “imposters” while the rest are “crewmates.” Everyone starts in a space station, and the crewmates’ goals are to complete their assigned tasks and/or vote out the imposters. Conversely, the imposters’ goal is to assassinate the crewmates.
Our first foray with Among Us was in a 4-person random ride. The minimum number of players for Among Us is 4 people, so we figured that we had just the right number. However, it turns out that the game gets more fun with more people, so we ended up playing with 4 other random people (the game allows random match-making). While the experience was fun, we figured that it would be much more fun if we had all 8 (or more) players from rideOS.
Along comes our most recent random ride. We organized a team-wide random ride event, for anyone and everyone interested in playing Among Us together. There was widespread interest, and ultimately, about 17 of us decided to play!
Our massive random ride (not everyone was visible in this screenshot).
We all joined a Zoom meeting, and one great feature of Zoom is the ability to create breakout rooms, with random assignments of people to rooms. Since each Among Us game is capped to 10 people, we played 2 games simultaneously in the breakout rooms, then rejoined the main room to chat for a bit, before splitting into 2 new groups for another round of games, and so on. That way, we would have different compositions of players for each game, so everyone would have the opportunity to play with everyone else.
We had a great time, and we thought that it would be fun to share some of the shenanigans that happened during the games.
In our first game, I was assigned the role of an imposter and one of the first things I did was to sabotage the space station’s reactor. When a sabotage occurs, the crewmates have to resolve the issue before the timer runs out, or the game ends with the imposters winning. Since many of the crewmates were first-time players, they were still learning how the game worked and how to complete tasks as a crewmate. Hence, they were unable to fix the reactor in time, and the game ended pretty quickly! Oops 😆
Who is “Impasta”?
In another game, 8 of us used our names (seen floating above our avatars above). One person decided to go with “Impasta”, and we could not figure out who it was, since they stayed silent when we were asking “Who’s Impasta?” Technically, we could have gone through a process of elimination to see who wasn’t one of the 8, but as you can see from the screenshot above, we were bunched up on the top-right of the lobby, so it was difficult to see all the names (although Impasta stood out).
In that game, I don’t think we ever found out who “Impasta” was. Later on, I was matched with “Impasta” again, and we were on the voting screen of the game (which happens when someone discovers a dead body and/or calls an emergency meeting). During the voting period, typically accusations would fly around about who the imposters are, and people would need to defend themselves. At one point, someone asked, “Justin [Wei], why aren’t you saying anything? Are you the imposter?” And then Justin replied, “I can’t talk. I’m dead!”
At that point, a lightbulb went off, and a number of us went “Ohhhhhhh, so Justin is Impasta!” because “Impasta” was the only one who had been killed at that point. If not for that event, I wonder if we would ever find out who “Impasta” was! Later on, after the random ride was over, we shared the above screenshot in our slack channel, and at least one of us still didn’t know who Impasta was (since they were in the other group when Justin was revealed). Well played Justin! 😄
Ghosts watching the imposter in action.
One way for the imposters to win is to kill most of the crewmates in the space station. After a player is dead (whether killed by an imposter, or voted off the space station), they become ghosts that can still observe the goings-on in the space station, but are unable to communicate with the living players.
In one game, Alex (and the other imposter) were very proficient in maintaining their guise while killing the crewmates. After I had been killed (I was a crewmate this time!), I floated around watching Alex in action, and in the screenshot above, Akshay and I watched as Alex hunted Mei down in the Electrical room, before he killed her and won the game for the imposters.
In another game, during the voting period, Alicia (a first-time player) was trying to convince us that she wasn’t an imposter, and that she didn’t know what was going on. However, that sounded very suspicious to the rest of us, and Alicia ended up being voted out. It turned out that she was telling the truth, and she was a crewmate! Oops! In a different game, Alicia pled innocence again with the same reason, and this time, she even said, “I know I sound guilty, but I swear, I’m innocent!” That sounded extremely suspicious, so again, Alicia was voted out of the airlock. This time, she was… a crewmate! Double oops! 🤣
All in all, we had a ton of fun playing Among Us for our random ride! We enjoyed it so much that later that week, a number of us played it again, this time with some of our significant others. Random rides have been a big hit in our company. It’s great to work with nice people, and also to do fun activities together!