COVID-19 vaccines may be rolling out nationwide, but if you’re still looking for a fun way to connect remotely with family and friends, look no further than Among Us, a massively popular free multiplayer mobile game that encourages you to deceive your companions to win.
If you’ve spent any time on Twitter or around a person under age 30, you’ve probably become familiar with memes involving colorful Teletubby-like figures clad in spacesuits. These are the players of blood donors heroes among us, which skyrocketed in popularity over the past few months.
What exactly is this game? Why did it become so popular this past year? What does US Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (perhaps better known as AOC) have to do with all of this?
We’ve got everything you need to know about Among Us right here to get you ready for some remote gaming.
What is Among Us, and how do you play?
Among Us is an online multiplayer social deduction game from developer InnerSloth, similar to Mafia or Werewolf. You can play with four to 10 people — either people you know, or online with strangers.
In the game, you play as a crew member aboard a spaceship, airship, sky headquarters or planet base, attempting to keep your ship together and return back to Earth. But one crew member has been replaced by a parasitic shape-shifting alien who wants to eliminate the rest of the crew before the ship reaches home. Problem is, the imposter looks just like everyone else, and will sabotage the ship, sneak through vents, deceive fellow players and try to frame others, all in an attempt to remain undetected and kill off the rest of the crew. (If you have more players, you can choose to have more than one imposter, too. Here’s a guide to be the best imposter you can be.)
Meanwhile, the non-alien crew members must perform tasks to fix up the ship, and can’t talk unless a death is reported. Then, the surviving crew can openly debate through chat who they think the imposter is, and make their best guess for who to vote off the ship. If the imposter is voted off, the crew wins. But if the group accidentally votes off a crew member, everyone goes back to maintaining the ship until another body is found, and they vote again.
Why did Among Us get so popular all of a sudden?
Among Us was released in June 2018, but shot to the top of Steam and app download lists last year, reaching half a billion active monthly users by November. Why the sudden boost in popularity?
The answer seems to be Twitch streamers, as popular personalities on the online game streaming platform like Sodapoppin, Pewdiepie, Shroud and Ninja have all played. On Twitch, Among Us has 9.3 million followers — in comparison, Fortnite has 4.2 million.
Tons of Among Us memes have also popped up on Twitter and Reddit, spreading the word about the game further. It’s also possible that many people had already exhausted other distance-friendly online games with friends during coronavirus quarantines, and this was something new and easy to play from afar. Plus, the game supports cross-platform play on PC and mobile in both local and online multiplayer games, making it easier for people to play together no matter what device they’re on. Many players also use the platform Discord to chat with friends in real time as they play.
In October, Ocasio-Cortez streamed Among Us on Twitch alongside streamers Pokimane and Hasanabi, in an effort to inspire people to vote. The stream peaked at 439,000 views, making it the third-highest-viewed single stream in Twitch history. (The all-time record is Ninja’s, when he teamed up with Drake and Travis Scott in a game of Fortnite.) Viewership ranged from 300,000 to 400,000 for most of the stream.