What is the Among Us game?
The game has been around since 2018, but SURGED to popularity in the US in the summer of 2020 due to Twitch streamer Chance ‘Sodapoppin’ Morris and his streaming of the game to his massive following. In September 2020, it received 100 million downloads (more than doubling August downloads), as well as gaining nearly 400 thousand concurrent players on Steam.
Among Us is a humorous co-op multiplayer game with an “obnoxious” cartoon-style graphics, requiring interaction between players to find out “the hidden”. The game is being called by some communities with the name: “Werewolf, cosmic version”.
The biggest difference is that the developer Innersloth’s game has simple 2D graphics that take advantage of dark colors, possessing funny with so-called quite stupid of character designs. The game does not have survival mechanisms like Project Winter, but revolves around the goal of two randomly chosen players by the system: Crewmate and Impostor. One side is “wolf wearing sheep clothes”, always looking for ways to “kill” other people and then “cheating” to blaming everyone. The remaining players’ goal is to find the truth of the hidden villain.
Among Us’s “fight” mechanism is even simpler, revolving around voting (vote) who is Impostor among players. Whoever gets the most votes will be “kicked” out of the spaceship and the experience loop continues like that until the winning condition is met. For Impostor players, just “stabbing the soldier’s back” with enough Crewmate characters and still “like a jar” to win. While Crewmate players need to complete the spaceship repair missions or vote exactly who is the Impostor.
What do parents need to know about Among Us?
The game is fun. Seriously! If you’re with family for a party, be prepared for a great laugh. We’ve had many parents delighted that there’s finally a game that their kids think is cool and isn’t totally inappropriate (or complicated for us parents!).
Among Us collects data (driven by Google) in order to serve up ads when you’re on the free version. Here’s the disclaimer you see when setting up the app.
Among Us allows players to connect with other players from anywhere. This of course brings the inherent stranger risk that any online game has. The game also has in-game chatting, which you can see in the image below. It did well with the standard naughty words, but it let “fricken” through (lol). But again, there’s always greater risks when chatting with online strangers. Also, note that usernames from other players can be mature. You just can’t control that.
Here’s are 2 digital truths that impact Among Us:
- Where the kids are is ALWAYS where the predators are.
- All digital environments with chat ALWAYS struggle with the content being shared. I don’t care how good their syntax controls are.
I suspect we will soon see news stories detailing how Among Us was used by a predator to groom a kid. It eventually happens in every app with public chat. For this reason, we believe that a more appropriate age for the app should be 12+ and if you allow elementary-aged kist to play it, it should always be supervised by a parent.
There are 3 different options for playing the game: (1) being the host device for other local network players, (2) playing online with others, or (3) using a private invite code from (1) to join them.
Our final note is that the game can be played on Steam via a PC, which does make it slightly more attractive for monitoring play for younger players as they get started. Hopefully, that Chromebook, laptop, or PC is in a public place!