You may have heard about the new game Among Us, where everyone is “sus”(Suspicious). Memes and plenty of videos have been made about it, but what actually is Among Us and why is it so popular?
Among Us is a Sci-Fi murder mystery game developed by InnerSloth. Released officially in 2018, two whole years ago, it was fairly known then but has become one of the most popular games played and streamed in 2020. It is difficult to pinpoint why it has gained a huge resurgence so late, but big streamers on different platforms have helped boost its popularity the most. But perhaps the popularity is because the game is extremely simple to learn and start playing.
You and a crew of up to 10 people have to complete various tasks, some as simple as pressing buttons or connecting wires or more difficult, like the card swipe. If all the crewmate’s tasks get done, the crewmates win. Unfortunately, this means that you have to split up from others if you want to get these tasks done quickly. But when you’re alone you risk getting murdered. However, even in death, as a “ghost” your duty is to continue the game and finish your tasks.
There is at least one to three secret imposters “among us.” These imposters will kill crewmates and sabotage the mission. The imposters win if they manage to kill enough crewmates without being caught or if the crewmates don’t fix the sabotages in time. This means in between missions, bodies of dead crewmates will hopefully be found and reported. In this meeting, the crew will discuss what everyone was doing and maybe deduce who the imposter is; or fail miserably and vote out an innocent person, slowly destroying friendships.
Some of these objectives can have animations on them called visual tasks. When the task is completed, proof of it being complete is shown, letting other people know that you are not the imposter. Lately, more and more people have turned visual tasks off, making it harder and more suspenseful to play. As a crewmate, you must stop the sabotages from ending the game-like reactor melting or oxygen depleting. If you see a dead body you have the option to report and civilly discuss what happened, but if you can’t prove your innocence, other people may think you are the imposter and self-reported.
You and one or two other players will be imposters and your goal is to blend in as much as possible. You’re gonna fake tasks and pretend to be a crewmate. Eventually, when the opportunity comes, you murder people. This may seem like an overpowering place to be in but your ability to kill is on a timed cool down; you can’t just kill everybody in sight.
You will get caught though if you kill in front of others. To help your escape from a crime scene go smoothly, there are vents throughout the maps that only imposters can use. These vents make it like you were never there in the first place. If people see you go into a vent though, you better do your best to kill them before they report you. As an imposter you can sabotage enemies by closing doors, turning off the lights, making the reactor meltdown making it easy to split up groups and divert crewmates away from a body, and turning off communications so the crewmates can’t see their tasks or use security systems. Learning how each of these work can benefit you as an imposter. As an imposter, you can self-report the bodies of the people you kill, meaning that you kill someone and then report the body of that person you killed; therefore, making it a risky play to go for so it’s best used sparingly. Moral of the story, murder someone and blame it on someone else.
There is no in-game voice chat, so some people can talk on the popular chatting app such as Discord, Snapchat, or Facetime, or in the in-game text chat. But, you must mute if you are dead or doing tasks. There is an online mode where you can play with random people. Of course, it’s better when you play with actual people you know.
The cool thing about Among Us is that there are no set rules. You and your friends can decide the map, number of imposters, kill cooldown, player speed, etc. Owen Carvahlo, a frequent player of Among Us, appreciates the creative freedom of the game.
“I think that’s actually a good system. I would honestly just make sure that they always think about updating the game.”
There are three different maps you can play on. There is The Skeld, a spaceship type map which is the most popular one; Polus is a more outdoors map; and then there’s Mira HQ, a smaller map with less hallways and isolated areas. Each of these maps have unique tasks and a couple overlapping tasks, like wires are in every map.
In addition, each map has its own security system that anyone can use to get more information. The Skeld has cameras to see some corridors all at once. In the admin room there is a system to see how many people are in each room. Mira has a computer that says where people are in real time and a device showing how many people are in each room. Finally, Polus has security cameras and a vital system that lets you know if anyone has died. If you don’t find a body, you can call an emergency meeting by pressing the emergency button located where you spawn in any of the maps. You can do it to have actual discussions or just mess around.
Pros: Among Us is free to download on mobile devices and on PC for five dollars. In addition to this, it is very easy to learn. After three or so rounds, you could have an idea of where everything is and how to get there. The game has also helped build relationships and gain new friends. The art style is very funny and simple. Cons: One example of a con is that the servers are way too small since they are limited to only 10 people. Plus, even though the game is two years old there are only three maps and no voice chat making it a little awkward to play sometimes.
“Among Us is a great game, and allows people to communicate with their friends and people from all over,” said Carvalho. “And honestly, it’s just really fun to play, and it can only be improved in a couple ways, but I’m so happy that lots of people are playing it so that people can use it for a long time.”