The Phenomenon of Among Us

Among Us promotional photo (Credit: InnerSloth

Among Us promotional photo (Credit: InnerSloth

Eleanor Shaw

As the nation continues to traverse the COVID-19 pandemic, young Americans have flocked to and grown interested in an online game released nearly two years ago: Among Us.

Among Us, a free online game created by the studio InnerSloth, which is available on computers and mobile devices, has recently spiked in popularity. This popularity was made evident when Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez live streamed herself playing the game on the platform Twitch. The Congresswoman played Among Us with several prominent streamers, and the stream shattered streaming records. As stated in an article published by the BBC, “More than 400,000 viewers made it the third-highest peak on record for the game-streaming platform.” Her stream was meant to encourage voting in the younger generations of U.S. citizens by connecting and appealing to her younger audience through a medium that they love.

From an outsiders’ perspective, the popularity of Among Us may be baffling. While this may prove to be true for those first introduced to the game, one can begin to clearly understand its traction after they interact with the game. Among Us has not only proven itself as a popular game to play online, but it has demonstrated its use as a device to connect on a larger, more national scale. Despite the fact that the game concept may come across as simple, it has had a massive impact. One may even step back and wonder: why is this so?

It is common knowledge in the online gaming community that multiplayer games are a method of connecting to and enjoying the company of people. Among Us is no exception to this. For instance, while playing Among Us, those still quarantined are able to enjoy time engaging with friends and strangers while solving mysteries. This concept is best phrased in an article written by the New York Times: “Millions of teenagers and kids across the country have become hooked on Among Us, which has begun to serve as a default social platform for young people stuck in quarantine.”

This phenomenon is not limited strictly to the youth as Among Us has aided in connecting several different age groups, young and old. In the same article published by the New York Times, it is stated that: “[Adults] who can no longer hit a bar or swing by a party after work are also finding community through Among Us.” This game has provided people with an option to have fun while social distancing. Some participants have even made acquaintances through this game. While it is widely frowned upon to give out personal information through the internet, several people have exchanged contact information with strangers whom they have played with. This has resulted in a much-needed feeling of connection and social interaction as the pandemic rages on.

While the popularity of Among Us was unexpected, its success as a game and impact on the general population are undeniable. While nearly everyone has been isolated to their homes during the past several months, Among Us has provided people with an outlet to connect with their friends, family, and strangers. The popularity of Among Us may fade away, but the impact it has had during quarantine is indisputable.