Why Among Us Was the Perfect Quarantine Game

If you’ve been on social media recently, you’ve probably come across a certain group of colourful astronauts running around, completing tasks and possibly committing acts of murder. In fact, it seems all of our feeds are filled with art, cosplay, memes and TikToks related to this incredible game. No, that’s not the alien invasion! It’s Among Us!

Among Us is a multiplayer social deception game that became extremely popular in early September. Although it was released in 2018, it garnered nearly 42 million downloads on Steam and nearly 84 million downloads on iOS and Android this September alone, largely due to its popularity on the live-streaming platform Twitch. It’s even been used in relation to recent politics; New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez organized an Among Us livestream to encourage viewers to vote in the upcoming election.

You’d think that a game based around lying and trickery wouldn’t be great for you and your friends, but once you give it a try, you can’t help but get sucked in. The premise is simple: you and a group of friends are on a spaceship, and as crewmates, you have to travel around the ship performing various maintenance tasks. However, a few of you are actually imposters, tasked to sabotage the ship and kill all of the crewmates. When a dead body is found, the crewmates must work together to identify and vote out the imposter(s). The game is won when either all the tasks are completed or all of the imposters are voted out. If this doesn’t already pique your interest, here are some more reasons why you should give Among Us a try.

First, the game is really accessible. Among Us is available for free on mobile devices and for $5.69 on PC, but regardless of which version you’re using, the game is very intuitive. The buttons are large and labelled, and each task is simple enough to figure out on a touchscreen without instructions. Not only that, but the game is cross-platform, meaning mobile and PC friends can still join the same games. This is a great way to try it before you buy it, and the options let you play the way you want to, whether that’s using a touchscreen joypad or a keyboard and mouse.

The rules are very straightforward, especially if you’ve played social deception games before. Games like Mafia, Werewolf and Town of Salem also involve voting out a secret enemy, but the prime difference between them and Among Us is the ability to move around. Among Us lets you explore the game as a small astronaut avatar which is customizable by colour and can be given different names, hats and outfits. You can pick and choose and match as you wish! Being able to control these astronauts is fun, as well. You can go from dancing the Cha-Cha Slide together in the cafeteria to completing tasks to getting cornered and stabbed in a dark hallway. That’s Among Us!

This visual aspect of the game makes it so cool, too. For on, it lets you track player movement through a map function. Each room has a specific name and specific tasks, so you can make sure people are where they should be. You’re also able to report bodies you find on the ground and try to find suspects who were nearby. That physical element brings so much more to the game, as players now have the opportunity to compile information about who was doing what and where, and who had the opportunity to kill.

You can see here how Among Us becomes a very tactical game, as players group up and try to find out who’s “sus”. This element only gets better when you introduce the truly social aspect of the game: voice calling. While voice calling features aren’t officially a part of the game, it’s heavily encouraged that players communicate with applications like Discord or Skype. To make the game really suspenseful, players are asked to stay silent during rounds and only speak during emergency meetings. That means for most of the game, players get to focus on their tasks and keeping track of people (It also means no one will hear you scream when you get killed, which is kind of hilarious). Ghosts don’t get to speak at all, but if you are killed, there is the “dead chat”, where they can share the stories of their demise.

Things truly get chaotic during the meetings when you finally do get to speak. You have limited time to share information and vote someone out. Here is when everyone puts on their tactical detective hats to ask questions like, “Where was the body?”, “What tasks have you done?” “Did anyone see Green before they died?” and so on. It encourages you to talk to your friends and to trust or be suspicious of each other or to have a common goal and team up to find the imposter. Aside from being a really cool part of the game, it’s an opportunity to have some fun playing detective together.

With a maximum of 10 players per game, Among Us makes it incredibly easy to stay in touch with your friends. It’s simplicity and accessibility make it very easy for anyone to play, regardless of their experience or the devices they have at their disposal. Truly, though, the social aspect is brilliant. It’s simple, it’s fun and it gives you a great way to get the group together. That, and controlling little astronaut avatars gives you a fun way to interact with each other in the game, even if we can’t in the real world.

Really, it’s no wonder Among Us became so popular. At a time where physical distancing was necessary, Among Us encouraged friends to socialize and work together. It’s an excellent example of a game that encourages and relies on social interactions in contrast to playing a dungeon crawler alone in your room. It’s these values of simplicity and social interaction that made Among Us such a great quarantine game. So, if you’re looking for a quick and easy game to play with your friends this quarantine, be sure to check it out. Thank you for reading!