Among Us 1

AMONG US: How One Game Is Killing Boredom

This lockdown, we have been constantly searching for and craving respite from our increasingly monotonous lives.

Until recently, indie multiplayer game Among Us remained a relatively untouched title on Steam’s Store. The game, which is played with up to ten people (locally or long-distance, with friends or strangers), features a cast of differently-colored little spacemen whose goal is to resolve all their ship’s issues (or “tasks”).

Among Us 2However, these tasks are made ever more difficult as one to three “Impostors” run around sabotaging and killing their other “Crewmates.”

In the fast-paced and minimalist action of the game, people are able to report dead bodies or other suspicious (or “sus”) behavior, which leads to arguments in the chat about who the impostor is.

The real fun begins when a body is reported: players must convince the other crewmates who they think should be ejected out into the void. Friendships can be made, alliances can be forged, and bonds can be broken in a matter of seconds as players hone their lying skills and flex their charisma.

But what is it that makes Among Us such a phenomenon? The answer is multifaceted.

For one, the design of the game is simplistic and the rules are incredibly easy to learn. For Crewmates, the goal is to finish all your tasks. For Impostors, the goal is to either prevent your quarry from finishing all their tasks or make sure you are the last ones alive. These rules never change, and this easy design allows for pretty much anyone who is interested to try their hand at joining the crew. During quarantine, these types of minimalist games with compelling objectives have been so wildly popular due to their accessibility. According to InnerSloth, the developer of Among Us, the game reached over three million players in late September.

Among Us 3But the accessibility isn’t the only reason people like this game. One theory I have is that the mechanic of lying—which, essentially, the game encourages the player to do—is just so fun.

The satisfaction gained from killing a crewmate and subsequently lying to get away with it is such a refreshing concept. We don’t often get to feel good about lying in our personal lives, but Among Us subverts that, instead imploring Impostors to lie to one another in order to survive. With such sparse mechanics, the trajectory of each round is essentially decided by the players and their chemistry. I feel that this is a hallmark of truly successful multiplayer online games: not holding the player’s hand throughout the course of the game, but rather letting the players determine the course.

Ultimately, though, the real joy of Among Us comes from the sheer camaraderie engendered by completely ganging up on someone.

Sure, it sounds mean. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been falsely accused of impropriety in this game and, thus, ejected. However, this simple little indie game has really had an impact on our culture in such a short and tumultuous time of our generation.

The game and the endearing little guys featured therein have inspired various memes, works of art, music remixes, etc. The phenomenon continues, with a reported over 200,000 daily users, according to InnerSloth. Even though there is not a whole lot to take artistic inspiration from, the game’s growing cult following has become one of the United States’ most fervent fandoms. As the time in lockdown (or, pseudo-lockdown) goes on, so does our need for a brief break from the hectic nature of our daily lives as of the past few months.

IMAGE TAKEN from Steam


IMAGE TAKEN from ImgFlip