Among Us: Why is it so popular?
[This article is collaborated by senior Cynthia Wang and junior Laurence Shao]
A game of distinguishing friends from enemies, Among Us has won overnight fame, even though it seems like an extremely simplified version of Mafia, a classic social deduction game, or even a socializing app, according to others.
Junior Hayden Williams mentioned that he “enjoy[s] the simplicity of the controls and the strategy involved. Makes for a fun game.” The game derives simple rules and clear goals. Players must work together and complete tasks around the map while avoiding the Imposters, who appear in the same identity but aim to assassinate them. “It’s a lot simpler with a simple objective where skill isn’t simply from having good reflexes but rather from having a good strategy. That’s a subjective point though,” he added.
While the game was initially released on June 15, 2018, it only became well-known recently, becoming one of Twitch's most streamed games and accumulating over 400,000 Steam players as of September 2020. Three key factors are responsible for its success: social context, sense of personal accomplishment, and the expression of creativity.
With everyone locked inside their own house, socialization has been much-needed, besides FaceTime or Zoom, Among Us came in as a fun alternative. Through getting people together, both friends and strangers, the game provides people with an online platform to hang out and create connections. In addition, junior Peter Akcan shared his opinions on how this platform differs: “It is different because it has a unique plot and purpose. In games like Minecraft, you are only trying to survive (unless you play multiplayer) whereas, in Among Us, you are trying to kill under stressful conditions and finish tasks.”
Furthermore, the game satisfies the audience's desire for thrill and excitement in the process of deceiving and solving. With all players being anonymous to each other, players are free to cover up their own identity with lies and verbal tricks, assassinate others under tension, and scapegoat an innocent. Admitting it or not, most of the players obtain a sense of excitement from these cloak-and-dagger activities. Meanwhile, those who succeed in identifying the liars also feel a sense of accomplishment.
The game also stands out with its adorable animation and tolerance of gamer creativity. With unique game features, accompanied by a cartoon-like design, the game alleviates the stress that people have when playing Mafia while implementing their strategies. “The strategy involved, although incomparable to the likes of chess, checkers, and other classic board games, is sublime. Learning how players react to their tasks and when to finish a task or kill somebody is so important and adds so much to the experience,” Akcan pointed out.