The Rise of Among Us

The+official+concept+art+of+Among+Us+on+the+Steam+website.

The official concept art of Among Us on the Steam website.

Leonidas P., Felix Y., and Enaya A.

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing quarantine, a new set of games has risen to prominence. One of the most prominent among these is Among Us, a popular multiplayer game known for producing comedic moments. The game is simple; you, along with your crew of 10, need to do tasks, while two imposters (part of these 10) try to commit brutal homicides without the rest of the group noticing. After picking up steam around the summer of 2020 through a growing group of YouTubers, streamers, and professional gamers, several players jumped on board, including congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in an attempt to rally young voters.

Released two years ago by Innersloth, Among Us is a mafia-style game, focusing on social deception, deducing who your friends and enemies are, and the game of heightened trust issues and emotional turmoil. In the game itself, the villains, known as ‘Impostors,’ can kill ‘Crewmates,’ the mundane heroes, as they go around doing routine maintenance tasks. Players are not allowed to speak until an ‘Emergency Meeting’ is called to discuss possible Imposters. The crewmates win if they finish all their tasks, or if they vote out the imposters during meetings. The imposters win if the ratio of players to imposter is one to one, or if sabotage comes to fruition. The rules can be configured in numerous ways to include many game modes, such as Hide and Seek. However, the game can be modded (altered using external plugins) to present a myriad of different possibilities. The most popular of these is the Proximity Chat, in which players can hear other players in more and more clarity as they come closer. 

If it wasn’t for proximity chat,” N. Kamel (‘24), a high-schooler at ASD, said, “I think most people would stop playing.” Ironically, Kamel does not play with proximity chat. 

Additionally, the game is known for being a quite comedic experience.

“One of my most memorable experiences playing Among Us was when I heard ‘I can smell you’ as I died,” said an unassuming player.

“I play among us to spend time with my friends. I also do it to just blatantly cause chaos as everyone’s trust for each other slowly regresses to a primeval stage of violence and pure unfiltered anger,” L. Pacheco (‘24) eloquently said. In parallel, he adds, “I often cook up my next puns and make angry muppet noises. I sometimes actually think and come up with plans. However, I have found that making out-of-context jokes often works to distract people enough to kill them.”

Among Us also served as a reprieve from the stress that came with this year. An article by The Guardian described Among Us as having, “emphasis on fabrication, on blame-shifting, and on reporting other people to the authorities,” calling it “particularly 2020.” Among Us is indeed a game of cynicism and mistrust, an outlet of frustration for many in the horrors of the year. One student says she plays Among Us because “it is one of the only reprieves I can indulge in the never-ending treachery that is life.” A bit melodramatic, but not completely inaccurate.

It’s not all bad, though. “I would say that Among Us has helped me unwind and get a chance to talk to friends that I haven’t seen due to the virus,” another student said, reflecting on how the game affected her mental health. Having a natural way to connect with friends despite the global lockdowns has brought relief to the pains of isolation.

But after all, Among Us is only another facet of pop-culture, and like all things pop-culture, it must come to an end. 

One student said, “I think for a while it will be on the top, but eventually move to the sidelines. It might still be a large game but not like fresh-off-the-chopping-block big.”

Perhaps the most important thing is that Among Us isn’t as susceptible to the issues that befell other games that grew to prominence during the summer of 2020, such as Fall Guys, a party-style wipeout game/battle royale. Its main weakness was in the repetitiveness of its gameplay, which grew stale faster than white bread in a non-cool-and-dry environment. Due to Among Us depending on other players for its gameplay, it has a far more varied experience, increasing its longevity.

In short, “VIVA L’AMONG US.”P.

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