• Miranda Allison

Among Us: The Hype Behind the Viral Gaming App

What started off as a fun and simple game, has taken the internet by storm. From memes, TikToks, and articles (like this one), people are losing their minds over this game. It's hard to scroll through your favorite social platform without seeing the infamous astronauts. It's usually accompanied by people saying things like, "red is sus", and various comedy bits by influencers.

So what is this app? And why is there no escape? With all the hype over this new trend, it's hard not to question the phenomenon. As obsessed players ourselves, we decided to dive deep into finding answers.

Here's how one app became a worldwide sensation.

The Creation of Among Us

Among us was initially released as an app back in July of 2018 by American Company, Innersloth, but didn't gain its "cult-like" following until the mid-2020s. Most of its popularity came from YouTubers, specifically the ones who game as they started playing and live streaming the app on their channels. They were showing their fan base how the game works and the simple yet engaging strategy behind the format. With this being a free app that can be played on any device, fans raced to the app stores to download what was soon to be the most infamous game of 2020.

How Does it Work?

Among Us starts out with a home page where you can choose to play locally, online, or enter a code that was created by a host. It's similar to the structures that gaming systems use where you can choose different gameplays. After choosing one, the user can then enter a room with friends or other online players to get started. This is where it gets juicy.

Each user chooses colored astronauts as their avatar, there are also accessories you can add for free or at a small cost. Once everyone is ready, the host of the room starts the game. Each user will then figure out if they are a 'Crewmate' or an 'Impostor'. Each round, the mission of a crewmate is to run around a ship and complete tasks while trying to avoid being killed by the impostor. While the impostor's mission is to kill off all the crewmates without being noticed.

Every round there are up to three impostors that need to be discovered by the rest of the players. Once a body is found or an emergency meeting is called, all (living) participants will get a chance to chat with one another and vote for who they believe is the impostor. Majority wins. If the impostor(s) kills the majority of the crewmates without being caught, impostor(s) win. If the crewmates catch the impostor, the crewmates win. Seems simple right? Not exactly. With various tasks to complete and never being sure who the killer is, you must always watch your back, or you could be the next body found.

Now some of you reading this might be familiar with this concept. Well, you would be correct if you feel like you've heard it before. The digital game Among Us has some serious influence from several childhood games that were traditionally played in person, like "Body, Body" and "Werewolf".

In Body, Body, an outsider would tap someone on the head while everyone's eyes were closed, signaling that they were the killer. Then all participants would walk around the house, backyard, neighborhood, etc., trying to find out who the killer was. The killer would simply tap someones back and the person tapped would lay on the ground. Once another participant found the body they would yell the name of the game, "Body, Body!", where all living participants would discuss and vote out who they believed was the killer.

The main difference between this old game and the new app Among Us is the digital platform it takes place on, and the tasks crewmates must complete during each round. Even though the similarities are uncanny, no one is mad about it. The childhood game was fun in our youth, but being able to play it again in adulthood allows us to relive those fun moments and get that youthful spirit back.

What's With The Hype?

To be honest, no one really knows. YouTubers stated that videos that contained the words, "Among Us" in the title were viewed 4 billion times in September 2020. It used to be a game reserved for the gaming community, but now the entire internet has fully embraced it.

One of the main speculated reasons for the spike in usage was the world's number one searched word, COVID-19. With social distancing and many people being separated from friends and family, this game was a fun way to interact with loved ones in a competitive and strategic virtual game.

TikTok has added to the hype as it quickly became one of the main platforms to promote it. That being said, none of the promotions have been from the creators of the app themselves, it's all user-generated content. It's no surprise as influencers and creators are always the first to jump on a new trend, which is currently this app. From wallpapers for your phone screen to plush stuffed astronaut avatars, Among Us is taking over all areas of pop-culture. So don't be shocked if your family's Christmas lists include Among Us merch (we know ours will)!

The Future

With all the hype, we can only assume there will be added features to elevate gameplay and bring a new twist to a current classic. Currently, Among Us has added some additions like anonymous voting, bug fixes, and taskbar notifications. The company is very good at communicating when they are undergoing changes and what the changes mean for users.

Some updates you will see in the future include a new game map that is larger than the current three provided, friends lists so you can continue to play with players met on the app, and brand new, never before seen tasks.

With updates specifically designed to enhance elements for entertainment purposes, they have also taken an interest in helping people with disabilities to enjoy the game, as well. They are currently working on creating updates to assist individuals who are colorblind, as well as professional translations for multiple languages to allow everyone to comfortably interact in the chat room.

So now you know all there is to know. Have you gotten a chance to play Among Us yet or did we just convince you? Let us know in the comments below.

To join in on the fun, simply download the app and plugin a username.

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