2020 has taken an interesting shift in terms of gaming trends. In March, we covered the appeal of the peaceful (and almost addicting) deserted island getaway game “Animal Crossing: New Horizons.” However, as the year comes to a close, a new game has taken over the gaming scene: “Among Us.”
“Among Us” is an online multiplayer indie game that is similar to the game “Mafia." There are up to 10 players that are on an abandoned spaceship (or planet, depending on the map). The players are split up into two roles: crewmate or imposter. The goal of crewmates is to finish all the tasks assigned to them, whereas the goal of the imposter (which is a parasitic shapeshifter) is to kill all the crewmates before the tasks are completed. The game was released in 2018, but it only picked up popularity around June 2020, spiking from just over 2 million downloads in July of this year to over 41 million downloads in September.
So what makes this game so fun?
Recently, I talked with Riley Hetherington, the asst. life+arts editor, as we played in our favorite roles: crewmate and imposter, respectively.
Personally, I love playing as a crewmate because it’s less stressful and I love finding tricks and ways to speed through my tasks before the imposter gets to me. (Who am I kidding, I’m a horrible liar, haha)
"I prefer imposter because it’s more exciting and fun to try new strategies! Sometimes I pretend to do tasks and frame other players, and other times I try to kill every other player in the first round," said Riley. "It definitely requires being sneaky, but to me, it’s definitely more fun than doing tasks."
In terms of wild stories, I once convinced an entire public lobby to put a leaf on their head and we all became different types of vegetables and one of them sold out their imposter buddy to wander around the map with me as I did my tasks.
Riley's favorite experience, however, was during her first game in Among Us when she played as an imposter. "I had no idea what to do, but I secretly used the sabotage button and killed two other players. My friends said the imposter couldn’t be me, because they were playing so well and it was only my first game!"
Among Us works especially well as a virtual group activity as we both preferred the option of voice calling during the game's meetings to discuss who the potential imposters were. For Riley, she usually plays with her friends or her roommates. "Typing in the chat between rounds is honestly pretty annoying since you have to type horizontally, so I try to play with people either in-person or over FaceTime."
I usually play with a combination of friends and random people, since it's a little hard to gather up to 10 people for a full room. However, when sometimes, I like to play with a different set of rules with my friends so that it’s more fun (and less stressful). There’s an alternate playing type that my friends and I like to use that we called “Hide and Seek” where instead of trying to out the imposter, we just try to play a race against time as we finish our tasks then hide before the imposter finds and kills all of us.
However, following the regular set of rules, there is still a lot of ways to successfully play out the respective roles and have a lot of fun while doing so.
As for tactics for a crewmate, I usually try to do the shorter tasks first since I don’t want to stay in one place for too long and once I have a good feeling about someone, I try to pair up and have them watch my back as I finish tasks, and vice versa. There are also small tricks such as being in areas that are visible by cams (so someone can back me up) and closing the download/upload window once it hits 100% to save a couple of seconds helps too. Also, fast typing usually helps since oftentimes the first to speak takes control of the conversation.
As for imposter tips, Riley's strategy is: "to immediately follow one lone player, kill them while they complete a task, and then vent to be near others that I stay near for the rest of the round (not as brutal as it sounds!). Once the round ends, those players will know I am not the imposter because I was with them the entire game, and therefore eliminate me as a suspect. Then during the next round, I try to kill as many players as possible and hopefully win the game then!