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Among Us surges in popularity while everyone is stuck at home

Amanda Salazar | The Ticker

Among Us, a game with a simple murder mystery plot, has surged in popularity over the past few months. Although initially released in 2018 on mobile devices and PC, it did not get more than five daily players until 2020. Now, with the unforeseen increase of people stuck at home due to quarantine, many have devoted their time to entertainment outlets like Netflix or Amazon’s live-streaming service Twitch.

On Twitch, which is typically considered a gaming entertainment platform, many viewers watched streamers playing Among Us that inevitably led to a snowball effect in popularity.

Among Us plays with the feeling of uncertainty, as the players are not allowed to communicate with one another via text or voice chat. The only few times players can communicate with one another are when someone reports a dead body or calls an emergency meeting.

After someone calls for a meeting or report, there is a small chat box on the top right where they can click and exchange information or suspicions about one another. A screen will appear during the meeting where they can click on one another’s portraits to vote someone out of the ship.

Unlike many other murder mystery games, Among Us has a cartoonish art style. The characters wear different colored hazmat suits with a backpack and only two legs visible. The impostor, when killing crewmates, sees the body displayed on the ground instantly. On the other hand, the victim sees a small randomly generated animation of the way they were killed.

These animations range from a cartoonish twist of the neck to a hit on the head with the back of a gun. The more interesting part is that the crewmate who was killed can still continue to play as a ghost and finish their remaining tasks or talk in a chat box with other ghosts. This level of inclusivity is what helps keep the players engaged even after death.

While the game is meant to be played with friends and has a maximum of 10 players in one lobby, there are many lobbies filled with random people. The popularity of the game has made finding people to play with even easier.

The game is available for free on mobile devices but if players want an ad-free experience, they can pay $1.99. On PC, the game is on the Steam store page for $4.99 with additional purchase options available for things such as cosmetics.

With the accessibility and availability of the game, it is no surprise that many rushed to play it with friends. In fact, there are now more active players than the servers, which host the games, can handle. To combat the full servers, players often opt to switch between European, Asian and other servers.

On Apple’s app store and the Google play store, Among Us has not left the top of the charts. The high rise in popularity inspired the indie developer studio Inner Sloth to create a sequel, but it was shortly cancelled. InnerSloth stated that the current version of Among Us was outdated and they felt inclined to improve it with a sequel but decided instead to focus on the current popular game.

Over the past few months, there have been steady updates on the game, including more options like the anonymity of voters when in a meeting and Halloween themed cosmetics. Future updates are planned, including the option to add someone in a lobby as a friend.

The rise in popularity Among Us has witnessed proves people will seek and find fun social interaction if they desire it, even during a global pandemic.

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