Among Us and its rise to fame

Illustration by Aleah Green 

As students juggle college classes, exams and assignments, a 2018 video game called Among Us resurfaced. This multiplayer game can be played with four to 10 players, with one to three being the imposter, depending on how many people are in a group. The game takes place on a spaceship where the goal is to complete sets of tasks and successfully pinpoint who the imposters are among the group. Before the game starts, players can pick from an assortment of colors for their character, as well as any additional items like hats, masks and goggles. 

As players take part in the game, they can report bodies that have been killed by the impostor and call emergency meetings. After an emergency meeting, players must decide on whether they would like to skip the vote or vote someone they believe to be the impostor out. If crewmates pinpoint the imposter, they will win the game as a team. If the impostor kills enough crewmates, then they will triumph in victory. 

Freshman Colin Brown said he enjoys playing Among Us with friends because it tests everyone’s critical thinking skills. 

“Sometimes you have to second guess whether you know your friends or not, if you’re playing with a group,” Brown said. “When you have a group of friends to play with, it makes the experience a lot more enjoyable.”

PlayTracker, a gaming statistics database, recorded Among Us has skyrocketed in popularity over October with an estimated 6.7 million players across iOS, Android and Microsoft Windows.

Among Us quickly picked up fame in 2020 after several streamers livestreamed the game via Twitch. According to Film Daily, an entertainment news site, Twitch had a viewership of over 100,000 viewers watching Among Us livestreams.

As of Oct. 21, Twitch Tracker recorded a peak of 753,943 Among Us viewers.  

Senior Jade Luther, an Advanced Media Lab (AML) student, said the game gained popularity due to its comprehensible layout. 

“I think it became popular based on the fact that it’s a relatively simple game in a pandemic where everything is complicated, and everyone wants to let off stress,” Luther said. 

Luther has played other games that have some of the same concepts as Among Us, like the games Mafia and Secret Hitler. These games have one thing in common with one another: hidden identity. One must navigate through the game in order to target the disguised killer.

If interested in playing Among Us, free-to-play public servers are available, as well as private servers which require a six-digit code to play.

According to Among Us game developer Innersloth, they will launch some updates to the game including creating an account system and colorblind support.  Creating an account will give players the option to add friends and create a server promptly. The creator of the server can decide whether to make the server public or private and has full control over settings, including character movement speed. The server owner can also kick players out at their discretion. Colorblind support allows players who are colorblind to have identifiers for tasks that are color-based like connecting blue, red, yellow and pink wires in the electrical unit. 

 Luther said the NAU Esports club sometimes holds Friday game nights in the AML where they play Among Us. 

The AML provides club members with an area to practice and participate in competitions. There are multiple gaming setups within the lab, including a drone that has been used in AML projects. 

According to the AML page on NAU’s website, the esports club shortly picked up popularity after forming in 2018 and was awarded Best New Student Organization from NAU Student Life in 2019. Students are asked to join the club's Discord for more information on upcoming tournaments and how to sign up. Tournaments consist of video games like Overwatch, Halo and Rocket League. 

Graduate student Graham Hagerty, an employee at the AML, said his favorite part of the game is the aspect of deception. 

“It’s just really fun to try and play mind games with your friends,” Hagerty said. “There’s so many ways to play it, and they are relatively quick games. Unlike some games when you die, they still give you stuff to do.”

Among Us allows players to still participate in the game, even if they have been killed by the imposter. Once killed, players turn into ghosts, but their bodies are still left behind for someone to find. From then on, players can finish any remaining tasks they might have left and chat with any other ghosts in the game’s messaging feature. 

The game can be played on a desktop computer or mobile phone using Wi-Fi connection. Among Us is a multiplayer video game that thousands of players have caught on to in the middle of a pandemic. It is taking the world by storm, one game at a time.