How the smash hit “Among Us” caught on

Online game allows groups of friends socialize during quarantine

The+main+cover+poster+for+the+game+%22Among+Us%22%2C+released+on+June+15%2C+2018.+

Image courtesy of InnerSloth

The main cover poster for the game “Among Us”, released on June 15, 2018.

Aditya Shukla

 

After being introduced to the smash-hit game Among Us by his friends, senior Conner Yin has been playing it throughout the school year, hopping on to the game almost every day. After hearing about the game through social media, he was properly introduced through his friends, learning more about the game.

 

“Among Us” is a free online murder mystery video game where “crewmates” attempt tasks while “imposters” try to sabotage and kill all of the crewmates. Crewmates report dead bodies and engage in meetings, where they can choose to eject certain suspects. If they eject a suspect who is the imposter, crewmates win the game. According to Yin, the game’s functions are simple but effective in providing accessibility to all players.

 

“One thing that’s really important is that the game is quite easy to learn,” Yin said. “You don’t need to have that much gaming knowledge and experie

Players can choose to vote and eject certain suspects, who can then be revealed to be the imposter. GIF by Aditya Shukla | Used with permission

nce to be able to be good at this game. All you really need to do is be able to be sociable, and be able to talk with other people.”

 

Yin heads a popular Discord server for the game, with over 150 members. He joins the server’s voice chats and plays with his friends. According to Yin, the main appeal to the game is the social interaction and purpose he finds when talking to friends.

“One of the main things that separates [Among Us] from typical other games is it’s a social deception game,” Yin said. “You have to talk with other people and convince other people, and that gives the kind of social connection that people are lacking during this time. Whereas like, if you play like a typical first person shooter game, there’s not that much of that social connection — you’re just playing. But [for] this game, the point of the game is to interact with other people”

The game has a built-in text chat where players can communicate with each other to ask questions about where they were and what they were doing. However, sophomore Naomi Baba believes that chatting through text is ineffective and does not help in finding out the imposter. 

 

“I’m usually on voice calls because I think it’s easier,” Baba said. “[Text chat] is like a cooldown. So if someone’s blaming you and if you’re the [imposter], [players] type really short sentences instead of long paragraphs. It’s not really ideal — just talking would be easier.”

 

Baba has joined multiple Discord servers to play the game, where she gets invited to matches and can engage with other players. An “Among Us” Discord server holds different voice channels for each region – North America, Europe, China, Southeast Asia, and much more – where up to 10 people can join each call and participate. 

 

– where up to 10 people can join each call and participate. 

Each region has voice chats that hold 10 people for each lobby. Photo By Aditya Shukla | El Estoque

The game has continued to increase in popularity, now one of the top selling casual Steam games, charting as the second most popular game behind battle royale “Fall Guys.” Released in 2018, the game only gained popularity this year, which made developers stop production of the sequel, “Among Us 2,” in late August and continue to support servers for the original version. 

 

Each game typically lasts about 15-20 minutes, with one of two outcomes: either the crewmates win or the imposter(s) win. “Among Us” can also be played in a multitude of ways, with a collection of three locations and easy modification of game rules. For freshman Aashi Venkat, this means that a person without any experience in the game can easily win the game. 

“[The player] should be doing the tasks [the game] give[s],” Venkat said. ”But some people try a lot harder than other people. So you’re allowed to go whatever pace you want to go at.”

 

Due to the game’s growing social media presence, Baba says that the game can sometimes be full of trolls and cheaters, so she does not tend to play online with random players very often. Baba also states that the open sandbox nature of lobby creation lets her enjoy games with friends more often, while also mentioning the repetitive nature of her teammates .

 

“You can play different game modes,” Baba said. “So like yesterday we played hide and seek on Among Us. And I think with random strangers, you wouldn’t be able to play that kind of mode. [However], when you’re playing with your friends they can know your playing style and they can tell if you’re the imposter. But like, if you’re playing with random strangers, it’s kind of easier in a way.

 

While Baba states that the trend of trolling is commonplace in “Among Us”, Yin believes that the base game itself has enough variety and content to satisfy most players. The sandbox state of the game is not only through the mechanics, according to Yin, who states that each discussion can go differently depending on the situation, but there are a multitude of strategies one can use to win the game. 

Players can join lobbies, change their appearance, and do tasks. GIF by Aditya Shukla | El Estoque (Aditya Shukla)

“Everybody tries out different strategies every game,” Yin said. “You have to react to what other people are doing, and I think that makes each game feel different. You can be good at the game, but there’s no winning strategy that will win you every [match].”