The Real-Life Precursors to Among Us’ Crewmates
The meteoric rise to fame that Among Us enjoyed this year was as much of a surprise as the rest of 2020. With over half a billion players, the cultural phenomenon let people of all ages forge and break friendships amidst the clutches of a pandemic. Designing a game geared towards social gameplay that is both co-operative and competitive and giving it away for free on mobile platforms was a formula that worked wonders.
InnerSloth’s minimal yet iconic crewmates took center stage, inspiring all kinds of fan art and tributes. You can imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon an eerie cursed image (a national pastime in 37 countries) that was in fact very real. It doesn’t take a dead historian to spot the similarities.
The image of a gas mask conjures up all manners of horrors. But a baby gas respirator confirms the presence of unspeakable evil: that war consumes all. The mere thought is frightening. The first parallel that wedged into my mind was the bond shared by BioShock’s infamous duo: a Big Daddy and a Little Sister. While I won’t get into specifics, the former is a hulking mass of metal that protects a skinny child who is ironically immune to damage. It’s a shame that real life doesn’t offer training wheels.
In 1940, England was not a part of the European Union because the latter didn’t exist. The German Blitz raided the streets of London with consecutive nights of bombing runs. Day One alone saw 337 tons of bombs devastate the city. As with every blow of tyranny, the poorest were hit the hardest. It was a time of turmoil when nations were relentless in their participation in the Second World War. The human cost was immeasurable but I am thankful that the world is a (relatively) better place today.
A photograph from a collection at the Imperial War Museums, this picture was taken during a gas drill at a hospital in London. Fearing that the bombs dropped by the German Luftwaffe were poisonous, gas masks were circulated across the city. Hitler’s ‘Operation Sea Lion’ whittled London’s morale bit by bit with constant raids, striking fear into the bravest of the Allied forces. Babies cocooned in baby gas respirators would have done little to bolster said morale. But it was necessary.
I’m fairly certain that these miniature suits weren’t coloured because making a baby stand out is the last thing a war needed. The respirators also had handles to secure the child in the event of an evacuation.
While it does look like a punishing regime of cruelty, the picture also stands as a testament to humanity’s defiance in the face of conflict. The notion carries credence in 2020 as well with friends and foes in coloured suits among virtual imposters in a bid to outlive the pandemic that knocks at their doors.