Tabula rasa and why Among Us inspires fan creations

(Image Credit: Innersloth)
(Image Credit: Innersloth)

Fans of Among Us have created a massive deluge of content inspired by the game, from drawings to short films.

It’s not uncommon for fans to produce art based on their favorite games and shows, but fans of Among Us have inspired wildly different styles and themes in such a short time. Among Us has managed to do this by creating characters and worlds that enable players to project themselves into the game.

Among Us and the tabula rasa

Tabula rasa characters have been a part of storytelling for as long as storytelling has been a thing. The simple idea that a character is a blank slate lacking any and all preconceived ideas about the world is one that is fundamental to many types of stories, but has a particular role in gaming.

Because players are agents in the story, and not merely passive observers, players have a deeper connection to the events that take place throughout normal play. Reading about the cause and effect relationship of a characters actions and being an active participant in those causes and effects are fundamentally different.

As a result, tabula rasa characters are even more impactful in games than in other storytelling mediums. A player isn’t simply watching or experiencing a story, they are driving its events and actively pushing towards an outcome. This is why characters with minimal backstory or personality can still become gaming icons as players wield their character like an author wields a pen.

But Among Us doesn’t have a story… right?

Wrong! There is almost always some kind of story to be told, and in Among Us, that story is the seemingly normal day-to-day ongoings of a team stationed at a research lab, on a ship, or even a colony. It might not be War and Peace, but for Among Us, the story is merely the window dressing needed to let player’s minds wander.

What really matters is the characters, short, faceless, inexplicably cute figures given the job of maintaining whichever location they find themselves in. With nothing more than a color and a small amount of customizability, Among Us lets players imagine themselves as part of the crew, and inspires them to create their own world as they solve puzzles and discuss the murders of the day.

Most importantly, these figures are incredibly simple to portray, and lend themselves well to cross medium artistry. Player interpretation has led to players reimagining Among Us as a courtroom, a cute playroom, or as a dark and terrifying space station.

Simplicity and interpretability are the driving forces behind the Among Us community’s creativity, and they have both led to wild and intriguing interpretations of the game’s events.

Edited by Nikhil Vinod
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