What is ‘Among Us?’ The wildly popular social deduction and deception game, explained

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The cross-platform game “Among Us” gained traction during the pandemic, when popular Twitch streamers caught onto it.

  • “Among Us” is an online strategy game that can be played on a PC, smartphone, or Nintendo Switch.
  • In “Among Us,” you play as crewmates trying to complete tasks, while one “Imposter” tries to sabotage you.
  • Playing “Among Us” takes more thought than raw gaming skill, making it perfect for both casual and hardcore gamers.
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“Among Us” is a multiplayer video game that was originally released in 2018, but gained massive attention in 2020. Centered on a group of “Crewmates” trying to complete tasks while an “Imposter” plots to kill them, “Among Us” is one of the most popular games around today.

Here’s everything to know about “Among Us,” including how it works, why it’s so popular, and how you can start playing.

What is ‘Among Us’ about?

If you’ve ever played social-deduction games like “Mafia” or “Werewolf,” you’re already familiar with the premise of “Among Us.”

At the start of each game, players are split into two teams: “Crewmates” and “Imposters.” Most players will be crewmates, who are responsible for completing various tasks on the map. Three or fewer players will be Imposters, players that look the same as Crewmates but are actually trying to kill them.

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An example of a task: Here, Crewmates have to carefully swipe a card along a card reader.

Once teams are decided, players are given free reign to run around the map, either completing their tasks or sabotaging and killing the Crewmates.

If a Crewmate finds a dead body or presses a button in the middle of the map, every living player is called into an “Emergency Meeting.” This is where your deduction and acting skills come into play, as the players must now debate on who’s an Imposter and should be ejected from the map.

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Players discuss who they suspect is an “Imposter” before ejecting them.

The Crewmates win the game by successfully ejecting all the Imposters, or by completing all their tasks. The Imposters win by killing Crewmates until there’s an equal number of Crewmates and Imposters, or by sabotaging a critical component (think an oxygen tank or nuclear generator) that the Crewmates can’t fix fast enough.

How ‘Among Us’ became popular

“Among Us” was released in 2018 on iPhone and Android to quiet reception. But it made a huge splash in 2020 when popular Twitch streamers began playing it during the COVID-19 pandemic, bringing “Among Us” to the attention of millions of new players. This sudden spike in popularity led to new features and maps, and it has inspired countless internet memes.

The straightforward premise and controls make it easy to play and appeal to new and veteran gamers alike. Since the conflict in the game is largely social, players rely more on deduction and deception than precision or timing. It also helps that “Among Us” supports cross-platform play, meaning that you can play it with your friends even if you don’t all have the same console.

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“Among Us” is one of the most popular games on streaming services like Twitch.

The social aspect of the game makes it entertaining to watch as well as play, which is part of how it became popular on Twitch. It’s kind of like watching a cartoon-y, faster-paced version of “Clue.” The simple-but-cute character designs don’t hurt, either.

How to play ‘Among Us’

“Among Us” is available to play on multiple platforms. PC gamers can download it on Steam, while mobile gamers can get their fix from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. It’s also available on the Nintendo Switch.

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“Among Us” isn’t available yet for any Xbox or PlayStation consoles, but it’s scheduled to be released on the Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5 in 2021.

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