By Rachel Blumin
When Among Us was originally released in 2018, it didn’t receive a lot of attention. So why now, two years later, is this low-quality-graphics video game suddenly all the rage?
The game is set on a spaceship, and the Crewmates must complete tasks before the Impostor kills them or sabotages the ship. The fun comes when a player reports the dead body of another Crewmate, or someone calls for an emergency meeting. During these times, players are taken to another screen with a chat for everyone to argue about who the Impostor is. The person who gets the most votes for Impostor is then ejected from the spaceship. When the Impostors are ejected, or all the Crewmates complete their tasks, the Crewmates win the game. It’s a simple, fun, and surprisingly social game.
The success of this game is astonishing, especially considering that the team who designed it is not large enough to play a full game themselves, with only three developers total. All three colleagues met in Oregon State University. Forrest Williard–known as Fortebass online–is the main programmer and co-founder, while also handling the business end of Among Us. Marcus Bromander, known as PuffballsUnited, is the other co-founder, and also the creator of the Polus map. Amy L., also known as Aemu, is the artist behind the graphics, and currently works on merchandise. The trio created the company InnerSloth, and have developed several games throughout their careers.
After two years of no recognition, the game has exploded in popularity due to Twitch, YouTube, and TikTok streams. James Charles, Markiplier, and even Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have live streamed the video game on Twitch. But it’s more than just streams that make Among Us so popular. Tons of meme accounts, fanarts, and fanfictions are fueling interest. Each color has its own self-asserted personality and backstory, and everyone has a different opinion (Although there is something I think we all agree on: Red sus). It wasn’t a surprise to see plenty of brightly colored astronauts with ram horns or cowboy hats roaming the streets this Halloween.
Whether you’re constantly playing it every free moment, before classes and in the lunch line, or you’re just casually viewing the streams, it’s hard to deny the social connection Among Us has granted to so many people during such an isolating time. While players can play with strangers, many call up a friend (or ten) and play together. This game can make or break a friendship. Liars are exposed, loyalty is doubted, and intelligence is tested. But hey, when the chat lights up with “where” and “sus”, it’s hard to stay away.
Hopefully one day we’ll sit less than six feet apart from each other, look back and laugh at how we risked everything to not be launched into the void. For now, though, pick your favorite color, switch to a different color because someone else stole yours, slap on that random flamingo floatie, go have fun swiping the card in Admin fifty times because it’s “too slow” or “too fast”, and then get killed by your so-called friend in Electrical, desperately wishing the other Crewmates would find your body while you wander around as a ghost. Sounds fun, right?