Junk Explained: What Is ‘Among Us’ And Why Are 100 Million People Suddenly Obsessed With It?

'Among Us' has become everyone's favourite lockdown game, despite flopping when it released in 2018.

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As we’ve had to spend more time at home during COVID-19, a lot of people have turned to playing games to pass the time.

At the start of the pandemic, Animal Crossing was all the rage as people swapped the gloomy real world for their peaceful, virtual garden-tending fantasy. Then in August, the energy switched and everyone quickly became obsessed with Fall Guys, which focused on trying to out run and sabotage everyone else in a series of Wipe Out-esque races.

Now, the latest game to sweep over the internet is all about deceit and deception. If you’ve been on social media at all in the last month, you’ve likely seen a screen-recording or two of a game full of different coloured blobs running around a spaceship accusing each other of murder.

This, my friends, is Among Us — the mobile and PC game that’s on its way to becoming one of 2020’s most popular games.

What Is Among Us And How Can You Play?

Among Us has a fairly simple concept, which is probably why the game has been so successful.

Similar to the classic Werewolf social deduction game, where people have to guess who among them is the wolf that is killing all the innocent villagers at night, Among Us requires players to out who they believe to be the murder on their team.

In a group of four to 10 players, the randomly assigned “crew” have to complete menial tasks aboard a seemingly always-broken spaceship before the chosen “impostor” murders those on board, sabotaging the team. Using secret air vents to move around the ship, if an impostor is caught killing a crew member, emergency meetings can be called to out the impostor directly for murders, for using these vents or for generally just sabotaging the ship.

After crew members plead their case to the rest of the team by asserting what they saw, the group votes on who they think the impostor is. The person with the most votes, innocent or not, is then booted out of the spaceship and hurled into space — if the impostors are eliminated or all tasks are completed, the crew wins.

But the real joy of Among Us is that even when impostors are caught out, great lying skills and a whole lot of gaslighting often means these murderers don’t get eliminated and end up winning the game. And it’s this interaction — full of lies, manipulation, and often times, stressed shouting — that makes not only playing, but also watching other people play, Among Us so damn fun.

If you have a laptop, you can download Among Us for $5 USD through Steam or grab the game for free on your mobile — as expected, you’ll have to deal with some ads though or pay $1.99 USD to remove them.

But while the game is an online multiplayer — meaning you can play with strangers if you so wish to — the best rounds of Among Us are played between friends. Knowing what makes your friends tick, and using the type of person they are against them throughout the round, makes shifting blame a lot easier and picking out the real impostor a whole lot harder.

And with a real drop in social connection due to the pandemic, the drama, finger-pointing and guaranteed laughs that come with Among Us explains why the game has become so popular in recent weeks.

All The Best Memes And Clips Flooding Social Media

Despite getting released back in 2018, Among Us only rose to fame in the last few weeks. During its initial release, the game had a peak average player count of 2.3 people, according to Steam Charts. But in the last 24 hours, that average player count currently sits at an impressive 362,100 people.

In fact, Innersloth — creators of Among Us — announced that this past weekend saw 3.8 million concurrent users across PC and mobile, and a total of over 100 million downloads and 60 million daily active players.

The sudden success of the game can be attributed to a number of high-profile Twitch streamers and YouTubers — like PewDiePie, Tfue, and Jacksepticeye — filming themselves playing Among Us for their subscribers. The unexpected popularity of the game even resulted in Innersloth cancelling their plans for a sequel to instead focus on taking the original to “the next level”.

But even with so many players, the good thing about games that focus on deceit and deception is that you don’t even have to play to enjoy the game. Arguably, watching gameplay of people lying through their teeth to try and evade detection is just as fun as playing yourself

The #AmongUs hashtag on TikTok alone has already garnered over six billion views. From watching the tactics some crews use to catch out impostors to hearing the genuine stress in an innocent player’s voice as the guilty accuse them of wrongdoing is just hilarious to watch.

And as with anything that blows up online, memes about the game have started to pop up too, as people share their love-hate relationship with Among Us, its tasks and their lying crew mates.

So if you haven’t downloaded the game yet, it looks like it’s time to get amongst Among Us like everyone else.