‘Among Us’ needs to be the 2020 Game of the Year: Here’s why
Despite government shutdowns, quarantines, and social distancing orders, many people have found a way to safely gather in giant groups. How? How can you possibly hangout with your friends during a raging pandemic in a way that isn’t potentially perilous? The answer is simple: online.
Among Us was created back in 2018 by InnerSloth, a small studio in Redmond, Washington, but didn’t pick up acclaim or popularity until 2020. During this past spring & summer, the game has received players at an impressive rate, with a whopping 85,000,000 current mobile downloads, and thousands – sometimes hundreds of thousands – of people playing at any given moment.
How did this social deduction game get so popular? Of all the things people could latch on to during the time of corona, why this? Let’s take a look at what makes Among Us so appealing, and why it needs to be the Game of the Year.
Social distancing & deduction
This year, Among Us has infiltrated the cultural zeitgeist, with streamers & YouTubers making videos about the game that accumulate thousands of views. Amazon caught onto this popular game and uploaded it to their game streamer, Twitch. Ultimately, YouTubers & Twitch members began livestreaming Among Us gameplay, collecting subscribers and introducing their audiences to the game.
So what exactly is this game? Well, it’s a party game that riffs on classic social deduction games like Mafia & Werewolf. You can either download it on your smartphone for free, or pay five dollars for it on Steam and play it on your desktop. To play, you have to have a group of between 4-10 players. Among the players will be 1-3 impostors.
The crewmates (non-impostors) wander the spaceship doing menial tasks like swiping ID cards & solving puzzles, while impostors try to kill people. When someone discovers a dead body, it’s up to the entire crew to determine who’s “sus” or suspicious. Then, the players are suddenly thrust into an exciting game of cat-and-mouse with one objective: find the impostor using your social skills, or hide you’re the impostor through deception.
Easy to play
If you’re a crewmate, you can win by finding all the impostors. If you’re an impostor, you can win by killing enough people. No matter the outcome though, you’re guaranteed to have a great time.
The game itself is extremely user friendly, (exemplified by the ability to explain it so quickly!), so anyone can jump right in. Young kids, teens, and adults play it, so it’s something we can share in a culture that currently feels so divided. It’s also a cure for boredom when you’re at home and there’s not a whole lot to do.
Additionally, not only can you play with friends and feel as though you’re no longer social distancing, the game also has public lobbies where you can play & chat with strangers. Though this isn’t as popular a method of playing, it still offers an opportunity to meet and hang with new people – and, hey, in 2020, we’ll take what we can get!
Game of the Year
So why should Among Us be the game of the year? Well, besides the atmosphere of community it inevitably inspires, the game is also a perfect analogy for this dystopian universe we’ve been thrown into in real life. The characters are trapped with nowhere to go, and forced to deal with unexpected circumstances. Many people find it to be a great distraction from having to deal with an actual pandemic they can’t do much about.
Loyal fans of the game can get excited for more, too. In August, InnerSloth announced that it would develop an Among Us sequel, and, although those plans were cancelled a month later, InnerSloth wrote in a blog post: “We have a lot of other things planned too, we just need to prioritize and organize all our plans. Stay tuned!”
Whether you’re a gamer or not, it’s hard to deny that Among Us is the perfect game for our era. If we’re forced to stay inside a little longer, InnerSloth still has our backs.