“I saw blue vent! I knew he was sus since the first round. Vote him out!”
These may be phrases that you’ve heard while walking down the hallway during class breaks or advisory. What you’re overhearing is most likely a discussion about Among Us, a video game that has recently sky-rocketed in popularity. Its abrupt appearance left many students with the same question: what’s the deal with this game?
The key components of Among Us are lying, deception, and wit. These skills morph into strategies and provide hours of fun with friends. The simple game is a great way to pass time with classmates under COVID-19 restrictions and serves as a distraction from our world’s unrelenting chaos.
When entering a round of Among Us, four to ten players are transported to a spaceship. Each player is privately assigned a role as either a “crewmate” or an “impostor.” The objective of the crewmates is to complete critical tasks around the ship. The impostor’s goal is to wreak havoc on the spaceship by killing crewmates and unleashing sabotage. When a body is found, an impromptu meeting is held to discuss the identity of the impostor.
After gathering evidence, everyone votes on the identity of the suspected impostor. However, if you are unsure and feel as though you lack enough information, you may skip and forfeit your vote. The votes are revealed and the game continues until either the crewmates win by completing all their tasks or the impostor executes enough crewmates to prevail. The myriad in-game settings allow players to change the number of impostors, the number of tasks, the map layout, and much more to keep the game interesting.
Among Us was launched in 2018 by Innersloth, an indie game company consisting of only three developers. The game received scant attention in its early days. According to Innersloth programmer and business manager Forest Willard, it averaged a mere 10-50 players daily this past July. On September 21, over 60 million worldwide users played Among Us.
How could an online game possibly go from collecting dust to being an overnight smash hit? The biggest reason is the impact COVID-19 has on our social interactions. With life seeming dull and monotonous lately, Among Us provides hours of safe, social fun.
With such an overwhelming number of players, many celebrities have decided to join in. American rapper Soulja Boy has amassed 600,000 followers on Twitch, a live streaming platform used by most professional gamers. He is well known on the platform for his Among Us streams.
Logic, an American rapper, streams Among Us on Twitch and has also gained a large following.
With life seeming dull and monotonous lately, Among Us provides hours of safe, social fun.
Even professional athletes, like the Steelers’ wide receiver Juju Smith-Schuster, are playing. Most notably, Congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) and Ilhan Omar took part in an Among Us streaming event with some of the most well-known players. The October 20 webcast reached a high of 430,000 live viewers. Remarkably, this massive turnout gave AOC’s stream the title of the second-highest number of concurrent viewers. The stream, which can still be accessed on Twitch, currently has around 5.5 million views. The goal of the event was to encourage Among Us players to get out and vote in the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. Simultaneously, it served as an escape from all the tension and stress caused by the election season.
The massive following of Among Us highlights the need for peer interaction in times of social distancing. So, throw your space helmet in the ring and take a stab at it, whether you’re a crewmate or impostor.