This year, many of us have spent more time on video calls with friends than ever before. But when you’re confined to your homes, there’s not much to do but float awkward chit chat and retread the same old topics of conversation.
If you want to drive discord into the heart of your friendships and add some excitement to your calls, give Among Us a try—the virtual game has taken the dynamic connection we’ve all been missing these past six months and crammed it into a simple yet compelling package.
Throughout the spring and summer, Among Us has skyrocketed in popularity, cementing itself as a defining video game of 2020. Initially released in 2018 to modest reception, the online multiplayer game now boasts more than 85,000,000 mobile downloads and hundreds of thousands of online players during peak hours.
Game nights with friends aren’t the same when you can’t hang out in person. Social distancing has driven a need for entertaining and engaging activities that can be conducted remotely, but there aren’t a whole lot available that are inexpensive and still do the trick. Among Us is free on the app store and costs just over five dollars on PC, making it a fairly accessible game to pick up and introduce to your friend group.
The premise of the game is sinister: a group of 10 or fewer crewmates are trapped aboard a ship in outer space, each performing a list of vital tasks to keep their vessel functioning. Hidden among them are imposters, players whose goal is to sabotage the spacecraft and kill off the ordinary crew members without being detected. The crew members want to complete their tasks and suss out the imposters; the imposters want to destroy the crew.
Throughout the game, players have the opportunity to vote on which person aboard the ship is an imposter. Whoever is chosen is then ejected from the ship into the cold vacuum of space to perish. With each vote, you run the risk of exiling an innocent fellow crew member—or being cast out yourself.
The appeal of the game extends beyond its thrilling premise and reasonable price. Ahead of its time, Among Us capitalizes on feelings that are eerily relevant to our current circumstances: isolation, anxiety, and frustration. But the game finds a way to turn these negative emotions on their heads, making them an exhilarating part of a game night with friends rather than something to wallow in alone.
The gameplay in Among Us is rife with drama and discourse, and builds fun-spirited tension as players lie to each other about their roles and level accusations of murder against one another. Civil Zoom calls with your friends can get old—it feels good to get back to elements of friendship we’ve been missing from behind a screen, like lively debates and good-natured anger.
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