Critical Play: Among Us

The game “Among Us” was designed by “Marcus Bromander” and  created/published by Innersloth in June 2018. It is an online multiplayer game that is available on multiple platforms such as mobile phone devices (Android and iOS), Personal Computers (Windows and Mac OS), and consoles (Playstation, Xbox, Nintendo switch etc).

Target Audience:

With a very animated graphical User Interface, Among Us renders itself as safe to play for anyone over 4 years of age. However, due the underlying sophistication (which is the very reason that the game is deemed so fun) in terms of the social context and environment, Among Us is primarily played by players in the 14-30 age range.

Notable Elements:

  • Players: The game is usually played with 10-15 players at max (depending on your device), including one-three imposters (special role tasked with killing all other players) as chosen by the room creator. However, if played on PC, server mods exist to allow more players to play in a single game.
  • Rules + Boundaries: The context of the game is such that the players are in space within a spaceship, but some of the crew members are imposters who are inherently the enemies of crew members. All players are bound within the map of the spaceship. The crew members have a task bar that they need to fulfill by performing various tasks on the ship to the end and win the game, hence the imposters try to stop the bar from filling up by killing the crew mates and trying to sabotage the ship by creating additional and crucial tasks for the crew mates such as depleting the oxygen within the ship etc in an attempt to either kill more crew members by throwing them in a disarray or counting on the fact that no one will attempt to fix it and everyone will die. If all crew members die, the imposter(s) win. The interesting part of the game, however, is that each  crew member can report the deaths of fellow crew members so that everyone gathers to discuss who they think the imposter(s) might be, or the can also call a standalone meeting with all members of the ship if the find someone suspicious. Everyone then votes to kick off the member with highest number of votes.
  • Objectives: The primary game objective is to “outwit” the opposing team/player (crew members vs imposters). The game is an example of player vs player where crew members gather together to outwit and identify the imposter(s).

Comparison to similar games:

The closest game to Among Us that I have come across is definitely “Mafia”. However, in my opinion, Among Us is much more fun that Mafia in terms of simplicity of play and because the roles are much more immersive. Players have a very active role in making sure that the ship stays running by performing tasks and exploring the ship and also potentially looking out for any murdered crew mates. Imposters on the other hand, have the ability to vent and teleport to various parts of the ship and also have the ability to control the flow of the game. These mechanics open players to a plethora of options to direct the flow of the game according to their choice of fun.

Was the game fun? why or why not?

I have played this game since it came out, and I have always found it to be incredibly fun. The part that I enjoy most about it is that it allows me to reconnect with my friends that I have lost touch with over time. Perhaps, the most important reason and also the reason why Along Us took off was it allowed people to connect with their friends and family amidst Covid-19 and acted as a counter measure to loneliness during quarantine. Moreover, I enjoy the fact that the game has a very tactical feel to it. The play of the game entirely depends on and also varies with the strategic intelligence of its players.


How to improve the game:

I believe that the game can be made significantly more fun by:

  1. Increasing player limit: More players in the game means players can play together with more of their friends, so the game automatically becomes more fun.
  2. Adding more roles: A lot of people added mods that allowed new roles in the game such as jester etc. As the game aged over the year 2019, it became repetitive for players since they had already explored the maps and mastered all the techniques needed to win the game, so adding in more roles. will add a bit of uncertainty and unknown territory to the game making it more challenging and fun. A major problem that Among Us was facing was that the players wanted to be imposters rather than crew mates since it was a special role, so players started to leave the game as soon as they found out they were randomly placed as crew member. They would continue this till they became imposters. Hence, adding more special roles with different strengths will increase player retention when the game starts.

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