Imagine this: you’re a colorful little space bean who is doing tasks on a spaceship, when you suddenly see an imposter hop out of a vent. You call an emergency meeting to tell your fellow crewmates what you saw, but they don’t believe you. Your space bean gets ejected into the depths of space while a killer (or two, or three) runs amok on the spaceship. Sounds interesting, right? What I just described is the gameplay for Among Us, a game that has recently gotten a colossal popularity spike.
Among Us is a multiplayer party game that is free to play on mobile devices and is only $5 on Steam. The game’s premise is that you get together a group of people (typically 4 – 10 players), and each of you are assigned a role. There are “crewmates” who do tasks to repair the ship. These tasks can be sabotaged by the “imposters,” who can also kill crewmates and create suspicion as to who the killer is. Once a body has been discovered, a crewmate can report it, and then chaos ensues. If you play through the game chat, people can discuss and establish alibis (and suspicion). However, if you play with friends and use Discord, then yelling and throwing out accusations are bound to happen at a much more intense level. Everyone then votes someone out or can vote to skip if there isn’t enough evidence. If the crewmates guess right and eject the imposter(s), the crewmates win! However, if there are the same number of imposters and crewmates alive, the imposters win. Among Us is all about survival and using your detective skills, and is a blast when you play with friends. Since the coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we socialize, Among Us is a great way to connect with friends while social distancing.
So, why did this game come out just now? The answer is: it didn’t. The game came out in 2018 by InnerSloth, an indie game development company with a three-person team. With all the hype around the game now, most people would assume it was just released. The game hadn’t picked up traction until July 2020, when the popular Twitch streamer @sodapoppin played it with other popular Twitch streamers such as @xQcOW and @AndyMilonakis. From there, the game went from 117.6 average players in January 2020 to 2,106 average players on Steam. A few months later, on Sept. 28, the game had reached three million players across all platforms.
While the game is thriving, please keep in mind that InnerSloth is just a three-person team! You can support them a few different ways.
- Play the game legally. If you don’t have the $5 to spend on Steam, you can still play on your mobile device for free! There will just be advertisements between games (so there’s no need to pirate the game). Playing legally also means: don’t use hacks. Yes, even in a game about deceiving space beans, there are hackers.
- If you can, buy the DLC. Among Us has seven extra content bundles. Five of them are pet bundles (they follow your crewmate around and look sad when you die), and the other two are outfit bundles. The pet bundles are $2.99 each, and the outfit bundles are $1.99 each!
- Be patient with server issues. Out of the three-person team, only one of them works on the game’s programming. When there are issues, such as not getting into games, or the servers being down, be patient. The sudden influx of people overwhelms the servers; the development team never anticipated their game to become this popular.
- Don’t sell fan-made merchandise (yet). This is a controversial opinion because InnerSloth has not put out an official statement about selling unlicensed merchandise. However, as of Oct. 6 they tweeted, “Fan Merch Policy coming soon! Currently no businesses should producing any Innersloth related merchandise!” If you are an artist or small business owner looking to make or have made Among Us merch, keep an eye on their Twitter! They will be making an announcement this week. InnerSloth does have official merchandise, but it is out of stock currently.
Among Us spiked in popularity right now because of the pandemic. Since March, many of us haven’t left our houses to meet up with friends because of COVID-19. Among Us allows friends to socialize while remaining socially distant. We can hop into a Discord call, boot up the game, and yell at each other for fun. It may not be in person, but the laughs and amusement this game creates helps fill the lonely void we may be feeling. Third-year Tori Sturges can agree with this, as she said, “Even though we are currently still in a pandemic, I definitely think the game has helped me feel closer to my friends even though we are not in each other’s company.” Fourth-year Darren Simser felt similarly, saying, “The discussion aspect of the game really makes it feel like you’re just kicking it with the homies, even if it is online.” I’ve played for hours without getting bored or realizing how much time has passed because of how much fun I was having. Afterward, I’d leave the call with a massive smile on my face and giggling at dumb little things that happened while playing. The experience alone makes the game the best $5 I’ve ever spent.
Featured Photo: Courtesy of Innersloth