Among Us, released in 2018, was developed by gaming company InnerSloth, which is also responsible for the popular Henry Stickmin Collection. In just a few short months, Among Us has gone from a small indie game to a global phenomenon.
The concept of Among Us is relatively simple. Up to 10 players can join a game at once, with a preset number of “imposters,” either one, two or three, and the rest of the players are “crewmates.” Crewmates have to finish their assigned tasks, while the imposters are trying to kill the crewmates without being caught all while also sabotaging the ship. When a body is reported, or an emergency meeting is called, all of the alive players discuss who they believe is suspicious, and at the end of their discussion, they can vote to eject a player. The game ends when either the crewmates finish all the tasks, all of the imposters are voted out or the imposters kill enough crewmates.
Although the game was released in 2018, it wasn’t until the late summer of 2020 that Among Us surged in popularity. It became so popular that the developers canceled the planned sequel to continue work on the original game. Among Us is free to download on mobile devices, and costs only $5 to play on PC.
One of the main reasons why the game has become so popular is because of Twitch, the largest video game streaming platform. On Twitch, millions of viewers have watched streamers such as Ninja and xQc play Among Us.
Among Us has become so popular that it caught the attention of some of the most prominent politicians in the United States. On Oct. 20, U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar played the game with some of the biggest gaming streamers from both Twitch and YouTube to encourage people to vote.
Ocasio-Cortez’s stream is now the third most-watched Twitch stream on the platform, peaking at 435,000 views. Along with Omar, the congresswoman played with streamers such as Jacksepticeye, who has 25 million subscribers on YouTube, Pokimane, who has 6 million followers on Twitch and is the sixth most-followed streamer on the platform and others — all of whom have millions of fans.
Among Us is similar to other popular games that have been around for decades. The concept of an “imposter” among the rest of the regular players has been used in games such as Mafia, Werewolf and Secret Hitler. It should be noted, however, that all of those games have something in common that they don’t have with Among Us — they often must be played in person.
Another big reason for the surge in popularity is partly due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. With limited social interaction, young people are looking for new ways to communicate with others online. Sophie Romero, a freshman majoring in engineering, agreed that Among Us has become more popular because of its online format.
“I think it’s because we can’t really see each other in person, and a lot of people use it to play on Discord with their friends,” Romero said. “Since we aren’t able to see a lot of our friends in person anymore because of [COVID-19], being able to play a fun, easy game online is perfect.”