Viral Video Game becomes new student craze

Della Johnson | Staff Writer

A 2018 video game’s sudden rise to popularity is anything but suspicious.

Among Us, which has quickly become the talk of social media and the school alike, revolves around a simple premise: as a Crewmate, you do your tasks, keep an eye out, and accuse others of being the Impostor: the murderous and mischievous villain of the game. Players from around the world join together as tiny, multicolored astronauts on a spaceship seemingly going nowhere try and save each other’s pixelated lives.

The chat function of the game is reminiscent of earlier voter-based strategy games such as the once-popular Town of Salem (2014). Since you must actually speak to other players, personality and manipulation are factors put into play. Senior Devyn Lopez, a seasoned player of Among Us, said he appreciates this aspect of it.

“A lot of games, they’re mostly survival or shooter games,” Lopez said. “I feel like this one’s different. Because this one takes a psychological aspect to gaming, which is not very popular. You just see how other people play and how other people react in certain situations. You can really see how people act under pressure. It’s kind of eye-opening.” 

Being able to play with friends–locally and around the globe–is one of the features of the game that causes it to attract a larger audience. Players can join each other’s lobbies through codes shown at the bottom of the screen. This method of friendly interaction has moved on from just the app itself, onto common voice chat platforms such as Discord, where servers can be started solely for the purpose of playing together. Through these alternative routes of communication, new connections are often made among players.

Not only can one’s friend group be broadened, but also one’s knowledge of their friends. Lopez, who has played with friends and strangers, said he thoroughly enjoys his time spent learning about those already close to him through gameplay and conversation.

“It’s fun, trying to deceive your friends — deceive people that you’re really close with and know you,” Lopez said. “They know what you do when you lie, which is basically the point of the game, to try and win, to lie. So, playing with your friends and seeing what they would do in certain situations under pressure — it’s just really fun.”

As with most apps that make an impact on the internet, Among Us has become the source of memes, art, and merchandise. A lot of this has stemmed from the platform TikTok, where users can publish funny videos. Junior Areej Khan witnessed some of those types of videos, including one where a relationship started while people were playing the game. Khan said that she was drawn to the game initially from her friends and these kinds of videos. 

After seeing memes and being recommended to play the game multiple times by friends, Khan downloaded the app. She said that it’s the ease of playing and collaborative nature that keeps her and others coming back to play more.

“I feel like it’s a really simple game,” Khan said. “Honestly, anyone can play. It doesn’t require that much skill, as long as you can be kind of inconspicuous, so it’s pretty easy. Also, you get to meet so many random people. So it’s [fun] to talk to everyone.”

Seemingly impossible to escape, talk of Among Us and hushed in-game conversations have been heard all over Mason High School for the past few weeks. The temptation to play is also proving to be something hard to turn away from. Khan said that her frequent playing of the video game has only supported her “huge procrastination problem”. 

Amidst all of the different features and ideas around it, Among Us’ success comes down to whether or not people are having fun while playing, and they are. Lopez said the game often makes him feel happier, and even sometimes smarter.

“Nine times out of ten, playing [Among Us] makes me feel so much better,” Lopez said. “I like to think I’m pretty good at it. If you haven’t played this game, even if you don’t play video games, you still need to play it. I don’t know if this is just me talking, but I feel like this could go up in the [intelligence] games, near chess. I just love the game.”