Image: IGDB/InnerSloth

‘Among Us’: the global phenomenon taking the world by storm

Unless you live under a rock, by now you have likely heard of Among Us: the game of cat-and-mouse style deception taking the world by storm. With over 60 million active daily players, the fast-paced multiplayer game is addictive, and has proven to be hugely popular among people of all ages at present.

Originally launched two years ago, Among Us has had a huge – almost overnight – rise to fame. This unexpected popularity comes after months of people spending lockdown recycling old apps such as Houseparty – making Among Us a refreshing addition to the gaming world. With so much recent media coverage on mainstream apps like TikTok and YouTube, it is no surprise that Among Us is continuing to grow by the day.

The exciting game explores social deception, deduction, and deceit, offering the potential for some very entertaining moments of bluffing and hasty accusations among players. Generally only lasting around five minutes, each round is action-packed and no two games are the same, making it extremely likeable. 

In a nutshell, the fundamental premise is that there are four to ten players stuck on a spaceship together. Players are split into one of two roles: the Impostors or the Crewmates. The majority of people are the Crewmates – ‘the good guys’ as it were. They must complete various tasks around the ship while trying to stay alive and figure out who the Imposters are via regular discussions.

Among Us is a perfect opportunity for virtual interactions, which is a key contributor to its newfound success

Meanwhile, the Impostors’ goal is to kill all the Crewmates on the ship without being detected and voted out. If the Crewmates manage to correctly identify who the Impostors are among them, before all being killed, they win.

As you get better at the game, extra elements can be added, such as the Imposters’ ability to close doors and trap people in rooms, hide in vents, sabotage things such as the lights – which reduces players’ vision – and cutting off the oxygen, which forces everyone to run to certain rooms and type in a code.

Although it may sound complex, it is very easy to pick up, and with some practice, you can truly transform your skills of reasoning and trickery. It is the ultimate test of strategy.

Among Us can be played in two ways: either in a public group with strangers online, or in a private one solely made up of people you know. Playing privately with friends arguably makes for the best experience. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, friends are frequently playing together virtually via Zoom calls. This can be extremely fun, and there are already a multitude of hilarious YouTube videos of celebrities such as James Charles playing the game with friends.

Interestingly, due to the current restrictions on social meet-ups, many clubs and societies at the University of Warwick have even organised virtual games evenings where everyone plays Among Us together on the same server (including The Boar). The game is a perfect opportunity for virtual interactions, which is a key contributor to its newfound success.

Playing with strangers sadly also has the potential for offensive behaviour

However, despite all these positives, Among Us isn’t without its flaws. Due to it being suddenly shot into the spotlight, many players have been experiencing server issues such as being kicked out mid-game, or not being able to get into games at all. There have also been countless hacking incidents, as well as cases of people demanding personal information, which can make it unsafe for younger kids who may not be as sensible online.

Playing with strangers sadly also has the potential for offensive behaviour, and many players have experienced discomfort playing with rude or disrespectful people.

Plans by the Among Us developers, InnerSloth, to release an Among Us 2 have already been cancelled, as they have instead made the executive decision to focus all their attention into improving the current game and fixing any common issues. One notable feature is the censorship of any profanity written in the group discussion chat, which will no doubt put many concerned parents at ease.

Nevertheless, the weaknesses of the game are minor, and overall, Among Us has had exceptional reviews. For instance, the collective reviews from Steam users tally up to a 10/10. Among Us is perfectly summed up by GameInformer’s Liana Ruppert, who said, “despite having basic visuals, it also has meme-quality features as seen in its comedic art style and low-budget animations. Friends turn against one another, bonds are broken, and the chat is absolutely comedic… I see the charm despite its simplicity, and Among Us provides a much-needed reprieve from reality without taking itself too seriously.”

The thrilling adrenaline rush of being an Impostor, as well as the entertaining arguments about who is ‘sus’ make for a masterpiece, and it is no surprise that Among Us has become so popular worldwide. With constant updates and improvements, fans can expect the game to stay successful for a while.

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