I don’t think there are many people, at least around me, who don’t know what Among Us is, and even if they don’t know, it’s likely that they have come across a meme or someone who plays it, but… What is it about and why is it so famous? Let’s take a brief look.
A Little Bit of Background
Among Us is a videogame created in 2018 by an independent company called Innersloth. It’s currently the 2nd most viewed videogame in the world, with one and a half million simultaneous players, and only League of Legends surpasses its total figures.
This online multiplayer platform shows us a spaceship floating in space, with 4 to 10 crewmembers performing maintenance tasks to keep the ship in good working order. However, among them, there are undercover agents whose objective is to kill the others without being seen. The rest of the crew must discover who the impostors are.
Why is it so much fun? There are certain moments of crewmember dialogue, for example after reporting a dead body onboard (which might sound harsh, but is actually cute) or seeing something suspicious, in which they may blame someone or defend themselves from other people’s accusations. These situations are often hilarious, and different discursive strategies, lies or even flareups between shipmates may appear.
Now that we know more or less what it’s about, let’s see why I believe this game is so popular during lockdown. The different reasons covered below might work for videogames, apps, designs or whatever we want to develop.
This game can be easily obtained, maybe because it was developed independently in 2018. For those who have the chance to play it on the computer, it isn’t pricey ($4.99), and those who cannot do that have the chance to download it and install it on Android and iOS for free. No one’s left out, as opposed to, for example, Fall Guys, which also became popular, but which is expensive and has several requirements, so much so that a PlayStation or a mid-range PC is needed to play it.
In my opinion, the social factor is vital. Most of us have a group of friends and our get-togethers are fun, until we run out of things to talk about. Well, Among Us allows us to play and develop different strategies (especially when you get to be the murderer), but also to relax and try different roles, in order to entertain our peers. It’s like the perfect board game, because we get to play it from home. Besides, it’s worth mentioning that, since we’re still in lockdown, the game opens up another channel of communication through which we can interact with our friends, but one that doesn’t involve social media.
3) Mini games
This might not be important to some people, but I personally love performing tasks that work as mini games inside the platform. Since these are simple tasks, they allow us to stop thinking about our everyday life. We focus on solving these tiny fictional problems without losing sight of our main objective, which is to discover who the undercover agents are.
4) Design and Usability
I’ve read several tweets in which people expressed their surprise at such a “simple” game being so popular, since there are games with excellent character design, mechanics and graphics. However, the simplicity of Among Us makes it easy to understand. Because its graphics are simple and plain, it’s not necessary to have a very powerful device to play it. The game can be accessed from any type of computer or mobile device. Also, the commands are simple and the characters are cute, especially when we dress them up with special clothes or hats. The simple animation style, without too many special effects, makes us think of a time in which Flash Player was used to make videogames, mostly at the beginning of the 2000s. So, everyone over 30 may even feel a bit nostalgic. In sum, sometimes less is more.
You may not know it, but just as there are Youtubers, Instagrammers and Twitterers, there are also Game Streamers. The current lockdown situation has seen many more people starting to use the famous streaming platform Twitch in order to show their content. This in turn has created many new game influencers, who recommend games that everyone else plays later. Figures don’t lie: streamers who play Among Us get tons of viewers, mostly because, in general, they play with famous people, which makes everything more appealing. This made the game the second most viewed category on Twitch, with an average of 145,638 viewers.
The Boom of Among Us
There are probably other reasons why Among Us has become so successful and millions of people in the world are playing it right now, even if they didn’t play online games before. The questions now are: How much longer will this boom last? Will this popularity continue or will a new game come along and succeed it? Only time can tell.