With all the surprises that 2020 has provided, one of the most surprising trends that has taken the world by storm is “Among Us,” an online game that surpassed 217 million mobile downloads this year, according to VentureBeat.com.
Recently, Thomas Markey, a sophomore business communication major, and his fellow Stevenson University dorm dwellers have been playing “Among Us”, a murder mystery game in the vein of classics like Clue or Mafia. They play on their phones and see who among them can get away with murder, which, as Markey said, is “great, harmless, stupid fun.”
“Among Us,” which debuted in 2018, has become a popular online game during the pandemic as users can play with up to 10 friends and offers a unique social experience. Players can either invite friends to join their game via a game code or play online with people from around the world.
The concept of the game is fairly simple: 4-10 crewmates are assigned tasks to help their spaceship stay functional while imposters, who look just like the crewmates, are trying to eliminate enough of them to take over the ship. Whenever a body is found, crewmates call a meeting and try to determine who the imposters are.
Players get a few minutes to discuss and then either vote on who they think the imposter might be or skip the voting. With enough votes, a player is blasted into space, imposter or not, and another round begins. Play continues until the crewmates have either completed all their tasks or they’ve discovered and eliminated the imposters, or the imposters have eliminated enough crew members.
There are some big differences in “Among Us” from the typical online game, because, as Thomas said, “there is a lot more strategy to it…but it depends on the intelligence of the people you are playing with.”
Given the recent popularity of the game, it might come as a bit of a shock to learn it’s actually been around for a couple years.
In an interview with gaming news site Kotaku, “Among Us” artist and game designer, Marcus Bromander, chalked the delay in popularity up to faults on the developers’ end. “We’re really bad at marketing,” he said.
Chance “Sodapoppin” Morris, a popular Twitch streamer, played the game for his 2.8 million followers on the platform, which gave “Among Us” quite a boost in popularity. Soon, the internet adopted the game and elevated it, providing the best kind of marketing: word of mouth, or in this case, viral sharing.
According to the online gaming platform Steam, the game peaked with 438,524 active players on September 25. As fun as it is to play, thousands of people have also enjoyed watching others play. On Twitch, a streaming site where people go to watch live sports, travel, music, cooking, games, and more, “Among Us” has over 4 million followers.
“Among Us” has proven to be the mobile game that 2020 needed. It provides laughs and, much like everything else on the internet, has spawned many memes. The game also has provided a sense of community during a time where the community is needed more than ever before, given the ongoing pandemic. “Among Us” is available to download and play for free on both iOS and Andriod app stores and costs $5 to play on PC.