Among Us: The Modern Version of Mafia

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Among Us, a game available on mobile devices, has found a great audience in SHC students.

What is this new trend that has groups of gamers and non-gamers alike hyped?

Among Us, a rediscovered multiplayer game, has captured the attention of popular streamers, YouTubers, and Gen Z as a whole during quarantine. Initially released in 2018, a grand resurgence has recently occurred as a result of the global pandemic. 

What is Among Us?

Among Us is a mobile and desktop game created by InnerSloth in the popular game engine, Unity. Many would call this a social deduction game where gameplay is based around communication, inference, and defending oneself against an onslaught of accusations. 

Ten astronauts, or really the users, are trapped on a ship, but unbeknownst to anyone but themselves, are assigned roles: Crewmate or Imposter. Crewmates are innocent astronauts scurrying around the ship performing routine assignments, like fixing the wiring and emptying the trash chute. Their goal is to be the last ones standing. Imposters, on the other hand, are players who attempt to sabotage innocent crewmates, creating the scene for paranoia and betrayal.  

Every player on the ship is released and is periodically called back to the meeting room to discuss their findings. If someone reports a dead crewmate or calls an emergency meeting, the crew, including imposters, gather to discuss any potential suspects. This is one aspect of Among Us that makes it unique: players actually talk and defend their innocence. To truly succeed, imposters must be cunning, creative, and quick with an alibi. After each discussion, players will either vote to kick a suspect off the ship or skip the vote when there isn’t enough information to make a decision. One can either play a public game, in which communications are done via chat, or they can play a private game with their friends, communicating over a video conferencing software. Talk fast or be voted out; it’s ruthless. 

How to win as a Crewmate:  

Crewmates must complete all their assigned tasks, report dead bodies, and discover who is the imposter murdering the team. However, it goes beyond that. Crewmates must be vigilant, memorizing who they cross paths with, and vocal, describing any suspicions and evidence they may have collected throughout a round. Two ways to win as crewmates are if the group either collectively finishes all tasks or the crew votes off all imposters, and there are reliable methods to ensure a win.  

Among Us includes dozens of captivating kill animations. As a crewmate, you’ll see a bunch.

Crewmates must move as groups to ensure that an imposter cannot kill them because they would leave behind witnesses, meaning they’d be caught and voted off the ship. As a player moves about the ship, completing tasks should be obvious. Only crewmates are given jobs; therefore, an imposter would need to fake tasks to gain an alibi. Watching the taskbar move as members of the group complete assignments is an easy way to notice imposters and vote them out. Imposters cannot complete tasks, so if they were to run away after a second of being at Electrical, they’re pretending to be a crewmate. Common, or group, tasks are a specific type of job that every crew member is assigned. If an imposter’s alibi is that they were in Admin doing a Swipe Card assignment and other crew members do not have that in their itinerary, someone’s lying. Visual tasks are another way to sniff out imposters. These tasks include MedBay scans, Empty Trash, and Clear Asteroids, all of which, when completed, there is visual proof that it was done. Visual tasks cannot be faked, so they are perfect for “clearing” a crewmate if other players see the light coming from a MedBay scan, the leaves from trash floating outside the ship, and the lasers asteroids, respectively. It is essential to clear as many players as possible. Clearing the name of fellow crewmates decreases the list of suspects.

How to win as an Imposter:

Imposters, on the other hand, don’t play for the benefit of the crew. Instead, they attempt to sabotage other players, eventually killing off the entire team. With vents that allow them to travel quickly throughout the map, the ability to close doors and trap potential victims, and the opportunity to kill between cooldowns, imposters must remain stealthy but murderous without raising any alarms. 

Remember, if the imposter sabotages the lights, crew members’ visibility will be limited. The imposter’s visibility will not be, however.

The most common and effective tactics are to blend in with crewmates. They may try to fake tasks while simultaneously setting off the reactor or breaking the oxygen machine. Other advantages the imposter possess are increased vision and the ability to use vents to travel around the ship. A good imposter must not wildly kill any player in their sights. Targeting “cleared” players prevents them from talking during discussion time. A cleared player’s word is gospel. If they accuse the imposter, the imposter loses because they would have no incentive to lie when declaring a player is the Imposter. To ward off any suspicions, imposters can blend in easily, but it comes at a cost. In a game, there can be up to three imposters. It is incredibly likely that a fellow imposter will be found suspicious, and to pretend to be a crewmate, imposters should vote out other imposters that were caught. Or if an imposter wants to protect themselves or another player, they can start the conversation and frame another player. Imposters are deceitful and cunning and are what ultimately makes the game so entertaining. 

What does SHC think about Among Us?

“I just find the game ironic that it’s filled with paranoia and deception.” Taking a political tact, Isabel Enriquez, ‘22, said “[It] kind of reminds me of this election year.” 

“It definitely ruins friendships. There are times I trust the Imposter, and they turn against me,” Izzy Banayad ’22 said, also concluding that it is a “great multiplayer game, especially during these weird times.”

It definitely ruins friendships. There are times I trust the Imposter, and they turn against me.”

— Izzy Banayad '22

When asked what was enjoyable about Among Us, Dominic Bankovitch ’23 remarked on how “the game can get chaotic.”

Eoin Murphy ‘24 said, “sometimes it’s scary,” noting that “going to fix the lights at electrical feels like a death sentence. Imposters know too much.”

Kevin O’Driscoll ‘21 claimed that the game “is a lively way to engage with your friends. It is imperative that one is good at deception in order to be successful.”

Thomas Murphy ‘22 said “Yeah, it’s a great game to play with friends and is overall just a really fun game.”

Why is Among Us so popular?

Among Us has quickly shot to the top charts on the App Store, Steam, and many game review sites, ranking a 10/10 on Steam. Coverage on social media has not been shy either. Popular YouTubers such as Pewdiepie, penguinz0, MrBeast, and many others are getting in on the action with gameplay and strategy videos. On Twitch, a popular streaming site, Among Us has thousands of concurrent streams and up to 3.7 million followers. Many streamers are even hosting competitive Among Us tournaments. Even U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) encouraged viewers to vote by playing the game, making it one of the most-watched streams on the platform totaling 439,000 viewers at its peak. Social media is also feeling the Among Us wave with memes, artwork, and comics about the game. 

Many players grant the game’s popularity to the social atmosphere. In an age where people cannot safely spend physical time with their friends, Among Us provides that interaction and fun. Add this to the fun concept and minimalistic art style, and Among Us is the perfect game for a year stuck at home.