From "Animal Crossing" to "Fall Guys," it seems 2020 has been the year of online multiplayer video games; "Among Us" has been no exception.
“Among Us” is an online multiplayer game, first released to Android and iOS in June of 2018. When first released the game was named “Spacemafia,” a reference to its inspiration, the real life party game Mafia. The game was later released to the digital video game distribution service Steam in November of 2018, eventually being renamed “Among Us.”
Nearly two years after its initial release, “Among Us” is an international success, having earned itself a devoted fan base, Instagram meme pages and even fan art. It’s difficult to go online without seeing references to it. Not only this, but in conversations offline I often find it to be a popular topic. It seems that there aren’t many people I encounter who haven’t played this game, thoroughly enjoyed it or at the very least know someone else who’s played it.
At its core, “Among Us” is founded on a fairly simple concept: deception. Players are categorized as either crewmates or imposters, and it is the job of the imposters to remain disguised as they eliminate the crewmates. If the imposters manage to eliminate all of the crewmates before they either complete the allotted tasks or deduce who the imposters are, then the imposters win. The concept is relatively simple, and the tasks and graphics that accompany it present a similar tone.
When I first played this game nearly a month ago, I was hardly aware of the mass following or even what the game was about. To me, it was simply a game my friends and I could all play together, no matter how far apart COVID-19 was keeping us. Many of us have very little experience with gaming, so the free, mobile version of the game attracted our attention. It finally allowed us to take part in the world of online multiplayer gaming our friends were already immersed in.
With simple visuals and tasks, the game was hardly overwhelming, and we found ourselves able to master the mechanics quickly. After all, this game is not about lofty design or complicated missions; it's about the people playing it. I truly think this is where the appeal of the game lies.
Although the graphics and game play of “Among Us” aren’t as meticulous or refined as some other high-end games, I believe it is remarkable because it is accessible. This is a game not merely marketed to seasoned gamers but to anyone who has an Android, iPhone or Steam account, as well as a penchant for playing with friends. Whether you are communicating via the game’s text chat or through external services such as Discord, this game gives us a chance to experience something together. To me, it makes perfect sense that in a time like this, when we are realizing the importance of companionship and connections, a game like “Among Us” would finally be given its time to shine. It allows for us to be together in a world that, at the moment, seems determined to keep us apart.