Among Us: The global phenomenon amidst the global pandemic

In+the+game+%22Among+Us%2C%22+Assigned+crewmates+and+imposters+await+the+game+to+begin.

Screenshot by Haley Luersen

In the game “Among Us,” Assigned crewmates and imposters await the game to begin.

Ten crewmates are trapped on a spaceship. Engines are failing, oxygen is depleting, and dozens of vital tasks remain undone. Bodies of innocent crewmates are discovered as an undisclosed imposter lurks on the ship killing and sabotaging the others.

     Time is running out.

     More and more crewmates are reported dead, forcing those who remain to vote off suspecting imposters. The secret killer convinces the others they are not the imposter, allowing them to continue their killing spree.

     Crewmates frantically roam the ship, keeping close eyes on each other in order to identify the imposter’s suspicious antics. The imposter tracks down every last oblivious crewmate. The screen goes black. 

     The crew was defeated and the imposter claims victory.

     Among Us, an online sci-fi murder-mystery game, has quickly become a global phenomenon during the COVID-19 era of 2020. Although it was released on June 15, 2018 on mobile and August 18, 2018 on PC, the game reached its peak popularity in September 2020, receiving over 100 million downloads. 

      Many of those downloads are by our very own high school students, causing Among Us to be an extremely popular topic among the halls of Highlands.

     “I started playing Among Us this week after I heard so many people talk about it,” said sophomore Natalie Harden. “It’s a really fun game.”

     The game is set in a constantly malfunctioning spaceship in one of three maps — the Skeld, Mira HQ, or Polus. Four to ten players join either an online game or a local game via WiFi. The host of each game determines how the game plays — walk speed, number of imposters, how many tasks, etc. Each player is assigned as a crewmate or an imposter — there can be up to three imposters, depending on the host’s settings. The crew’s goal is to fill the group taskbar and discover the imposter(s). The imposter(s) must kill off the crew. 

     If a player is killed by an imposter, they become a ghost and must continue their tasks. When a dead body is reported or someone calls an emergency meeting, the crew comes together to share what they know about the imposter(s). Imposters attempt to prove their innocence by accusing others or providing an alibi. After discussing, the crew votes for who they think the imposter is. The member with the most votes is ejected from the ship. The crew can also choose to skip voting if not enough information is known.

     If the crewmates successfully eject the imposter(s) or completely fill the group taskbar, the crew wins. If the imposter(s) kills every crewmate or successfully sabotages the ship, the imposters win.

     Despite being predetermined by the game, some players prefer the innocent role of a preoccupied crewmate over the imposter.

    “I like being the imposter,” junior Jude Williams said. “But it’s pretty stressful so I would prefer to be [a] crewmate.”

     Other players prefer the thrilling role of a sabotaging imposter.

     “I prefer being [an] imposter,” voiced senior Adam Flotemersch. “It’s really fun having to make split decisions that could lose or win you the game.”

     Another aspect of the game that users enjoy is customizing their character. The game allows players to choose between twelve different colors — red, pink, orange, yellow, lime, green, cyan, blue, purple, brown, white, and black. Skins, hats, and pets are also available for players to alter their appearance. Many users tend to be consistent with each round.

     “I’m usually consistent with white,” said Harden. “But I don’t really have a reason for it.”

     Many users on live streaming services, such as Twitch, and content creators on YouTube play Among Us to captivate and entertain audiences. Even some students at Highlands, including Flotemersch, participate in live streaming their Among Us gameplays. 

     “I stream [Among Us] when I’m playing with friends,” said Flotemersch. “I like to get my viewers involved in the games, too.”

     Flotemersch streams on Twitch for a gaming organization called Limit, where he averages five to ten viewers per stream. 

     “I have 500 followers, and I mainly just stream for fun and to talk to new people,” claimed Flotemersch.

     While not everyone streams their Among Us gameplays, many people in the halls of HHS play the game often. Some of our HHS staff even keep up with new game trends, especially Among Us.

     “I love playing with [my] friends since we don’t see each other all the time,” said student teacher Jackson Moss. 

     This game not only gives players a chance to interact with friends and new people, but also tests relationships with intense betrayal.

     “It’s fun to see my friends turn on each other during exciting games,” claimed Moss.

     Among Us has stimulated the drama and excitement that quarantine has not been able to offer many people, which has everyone coming back for more.