What is 'Among Us' - the newest viral obsession

Anthony O'Connor
·Contributor
·3-min read

Among Us is the latest reason your kids aren’t talking to you, rush away from the dinner table with their food half finished and spend most of the day glued to their phones.

It’s the newest ‘big thing’ in the cultural zeitgeist that has captured the hearts and imaginations of the young and young at heart. It commands a huge following online and has inspired thousands of fairly inexplicable memes.

Not even that jaunty toilet paper hat is going to be able to save you now, Red.
Not even that jaunty toilet paper hat is going to be able to save you now, Red.

But what exactly is it? And why? And should you be concerned? Or try it out yourself?

Join us, as we answer those questions and more.

What is Among Us?

Among Us is an online multiplayer game for 4-10 people set on a spaceship populated by colourful, blobby-looking Crewmates. Some of those Crewmates are actually Imposters, who try to kill other non-Imposters and sabotage the ship.

It’s up to the Crewmates to keep the ship running and discover who the Imposters are before it’s all too late.

Crewmates win if all the Imposters are eliminated or all tasks are completed. Imposters win if there are an equal number of Imposters and Crewmates, or if critical sabotage remains unfixed.

And that’s it! That’s the game. Basically a high-tech version of ‘Murder in the Dark’ with cute, cartoony graphics and an outer space setting.

Never has mass murder been so adorable as Among Us. Dawww lookit his little knife! Bless.
Never has mass murder been so adorable as Among Us. Dawww lookit his little knife! Bless.

Where did it come from?

Among Us comes from American developers, Innersloth. It was originally released in 2018, but saw a massive rise to popularity in 2020 based on Youtubers and influencers talking about it and playing it on their streams.

This is likely due to the fact that in this hell year of 2020 - what with all the social distancing and intermittent lockdowns - influencers have had to dig deep into their shame piles of unplayed games.

Regardless, it’s a perfect way to be (virtually) social in these COVID-19 times.

What’s the appeal?

It’s basically a party game you can play without being at a party. There are elements of role playing, strategy and weaponised fibbing, not to mention easy-to-understand stakes and goals that encourage cooperation.

It’s also super satisfying when you’re the Imposter and manage to trick everyone and cackle with laughter as you watch them burn. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!

Is it Fortnite?

It is not Fortnite, it’s a completely different game. Stop flossing, please. It’s weirding everyone out.

Can I eat it?

What? No, not at all. Are you… feeling okay?

In space... no one can hear you scheme (except the other 3-9 players).
In space... no one can hear you scheme (except the other 3-9 players).

Is it dangerous?

Nah. In fact, compared to something like Fortnite, it’s actually a lot more strategic and involves deductive reasoning, cooperating with others and using your brain.

Certainly, as with all games, there’s a risk your kid might spend too much time playing it, instead of doing homework and taking the garbage out (like you’ve already been asked five times, Brayden), but Among Us is generally a bit of harmless fun.

Should I Play it?

Well, why not? It’s an engaging little game that is cleverer than it first appears and can be a real hoot when played online with friends.

Also, there’s nothing like showing an unexpected interest in your kid’s hobbies to make them suddenly and emphatically decide they’re not cool at all.

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