A hit video game Among Us all

In a year of isolation, many students turn to social games to keep entertained

A simple game that makes you think, Among Us is sure to get rid of your boredom.

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A simple game that makes you think, Among Us is sure to get rid of your boredom.

Navigating 2020 for many was challenging and complex. With the lockdown and sudden transition into remote learning, trying to limit exposure, and a whole presidential election, it seemed like the year was the hallmark of big and bigger change.

Sometimes, it’s the simple and the straightforward that matters to us. The indie game Among Us has provided an escape to hundreds of millions of players around the world.

“I liked how it was a very simple game, and I think that was a big part of the appeal.” said Sophomore Simon Choi.

Intrigued by the round, neckless alien figures running around the spacious maps, Choi decided to connect some friends together through gaming chat app Discord to play. 

“I contacted a lot of my friends and said, ‘Join my Discord server’. It was a complicated process at first to set it all up, but I found it really fun to set it up and play,” Choi said.

Discord has been a popular platform used by players to message or voice call while debating imposters during the game.

So far, Choi has played only two two-hour sessions worth of Among Us with his Discord server. Both apps help him interact with friends, despite his isolated reality.

“You have to talk a lot, and especially now, when we can’t go outside and do anything, talking is great connection,” said Choi. “The game is getting people to socialize in this time; that’s why it’s growing so popular.”

Once quarantine hit, Among Us began to pick up players and viewers on an exponential scale, having an especially large viewer impact on platforms Twitch and YouTube. On Twitch, Among Us peaked viewership on Nov. 5, 2020, with over 770,000 people watching the game. Comparatively, shooter game Valorant reached an audience of about 63,000 on the same day.

The popularity launched multiple Among Us Twitch streamers into celebrity status and attracted all sorts of people to the game, notably millions of teenagers. Downloads recently surpassed 217 million on the mobile App Store, where Among Us is free. 

Among Us was initially released on Jun. 15, 2018, as a murder-mystery online multiplayer game. 

There are two roles in the game. Imposters kill off crewmates without being caught, whereas the crewmates must finish their tasks or deduce the Imposter or Imposters, before the Imposters can turn them into colorful hams. You start each round with 1-3 Imposters. 

Sophomore Anwyn Li especially enjoys the unpredictability of Among Us. 

Li said, “People can be varyingly good at being an imposter, or variously good at being a detective as a crewmate. It’s kind of fun to watch and see how the whole thing unfolds.”

Among Us poses a striking similarity to detective card game Mafia, another strategy-based, low-mechanics game played with a group of people.

“Among Us isn’t a very hard video game to play, compared to a lot of other titles, so it lets you use your brain more, and doesn’t rely very much on technical skill,” said Choi. “It puts you on a reasonably equal playing field… lets you play more with strategy.”

Li describes the game as “addicting”. “There are a variety of scenarios that can unfold in ways and the storyline can play out,” she said. “No game will ever be the same.”