Piker’s chat was effusive as well. “What a wonderful day,” said Piker, grinning into the camera. Chat rolled on: “TOP QUEEN ON TWITCH” and “LET’S GOOOOOO” accompanied crying Pepe the Frog faces. An ad for the Marines played. Then, Anys went live. “I’m so hyped I want to throw up,” she said to 30,000 viewers. “I think this is the coolest thing I’ve ever done in my life, actually,” she said.
Next came Ocasio-Cortez. “This is pretty insane,” she said from a tiny square at the bottom of the screen to 163,000 live viewers. Soon, 200,000 more would arrive. Admitting she just started playing Among Us last night, Ocasio-Cortez described how, with two unscheduled hours yesterday, she ran into Best Buy asking for webcams and mics. There weren’t any, because of the pandemic, so she outsourced to her community. Grassroots.
“Is it weird we’re calling you AOC?” Piker asked. “You guys can call me AOC. Mike Pence can’t call me AOC,” she replied with a laugh. She troubleshooted her audio a little, with chat’s feedback.
In the first match, Ocasio-Cortez was named the imposter, tasked with murdering and sabotaging her cohort. “No!!!” she yelled. “Oh my god. Oh my god.” She buried her face in her hands. Back when she was doing community organizing work, she confided, someone asked if she’d ever considered going into politics. “Oh, no way,” she said at the time. When they asked why, she said, “It’s because I’m a bad liar.”
Ocasio-Cortez killed her first player, the singer-songwriter Maia “mxmtoon,” and accidentally reported it to the group herself, a possible giveaway that she was responsible. As they debated who the imposter is, Ocasio-Cortez buried her face in her hands. The next round, after much deliberation, she killed Anys, Twitch queen bee with over 6 million followers. After Ocasio-Cortez stuck a knife in her back, Anys demurred: “It was an honor. It was an honor to serve you.” She bows.
Ocasio-Cortez is no stranger to Twitch. Last January, she dropped in on a Donkey Kong 64 stream to raise money for transgender kids alongside games YouTuber Harry “Hbomberguy” Brewis. As recently as July, after the military launched Twitch channels in attempt to recruit gamers, Ocasio-Cortez introduced an amendment to prohibit “the use of funds for recruiting via video gaming and e-sports platforms.” (The House voted it down.). Ocasio-Cortez also isn’t new to gaming. She’s ranked a respectable Silver III in League of Legends, although she says she hasn’t played in a while, and in May made virtual house calls to Animal Crossing: New Horizons players’ islands.