The Brief: Here's a preliminary introduction to the game Among Us and its cultural significance for anyone who's been wondering how to play or what those memes are all about.
Among Us: Explained
Among Us is a popular multiplayer video game similar to the “Mafia” party game. Available as a mobile app (free) or desktop ($4.99), the game hosts 4-10 players on a virtual spacecraft where there are 1-3 “impostors” and everyone else is a “crewmate.” The crewmates compete to maintain the spacecraft in working order while the impostors try to sabotage and kill the crewmates.
Players can have meetings when someone presses either the “emergency meeting” or “dead body report” buttons. In these meetings, players can chat with each other and then vote to eject another player. If someone receives a majority of votes, they are ejected into space by the rest of the crew. The goal for crewmates is to identify and eject the impostor, but the impostor(s) may try to sabotage the process and persuade the crew to accuse and eject an innocent crewmate.
Each player has a username and is represented by a different colored avatar. During gameplay, while crewmates are trying to carry out tasks throughout the ship, impostors may stealthily kill crewmates and use vents to quickly transport themselves throughout the ship. Crewmates may be able to identify an impostor if they witness them killing another player or traveling through a vent (venting). Players who are killed by impostors or who are ejected from the ship are then excluded from the main gameplay, but continue the game as ghosts where they can watch the game unfold, perform tasks to help the crew win, and chat with other dead players.
The nature of the game typically inspires paranoia and confusion throughout the crew. Actions that could be carried out by either an impostor or a crewmate like traveling alone, reporting a dead body, being too quiet, or making accusations may be deemed “sus” by the rest of the crew.
While skills in navigating the ship, completing tasks, and maintaining an awareness of surroundings are valuable in Among Us, the game is largely based on social and psychological elements. Crewmates must balance relying on mutual trust with a healthy suspicion of other players in order to work together to sniff out an impostor. Even experienced players can be fooled by impostors, or wrongly accused of being an impostor themselves. People who play regularly with groups of close friends may begin to identify patterns and tells, developing their skills based on what they know about fellow players and their techniques.
Due to the accessibility and relatability of the game, many people have had a chance to try it and can bond over shared experiences through Among Us memes. Common topics in Among Us memes, which can be found on Reddit, Twitter, TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, and more, include the overuse of the phrase “is sus,” tactics of sneaky impostors, false accusations, fan art, and more. Some Among Us memes aren’t about the game itself but apply elements like “dead body reported” and “emergency meeting” visuals to separate scenarios.
Due to the overwhelming popularity of the game, Halloween stores have reportedly been running out of astronaut helmets as Among Us fans use them for costumes.
Spirit Halloween when they see all of their astronaut helmets are sold out for seemingly no reason pic.twitter.com/7XGZW8GMFs
— Moderately Okay Cosplay (@ModeratelyOkCos) September 27, 2020