The downfall of the game "Among Us"

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Mon Nov 07, 2022

The game "Among Us" took YouTube by storm in 2020, becoming a viral hit. A game like this was ideal during the pandemic, since it allowed you to communicate with up to 10 people at once, at a time when it was challenging to meet people face to face. However, many of the conversations we did observe weren't very pleasant and it was essentially an argument simulator. Everything started in June or July of 2020, when a large number of people were streaming the game on the platform Twitch. Streamers like @XQC started playing the game for fun. Around this time, I also learned about the game from these people.

I downloaded the game from Steam and played with random players on Discord servers. However, I wasn't sure that I'd be able to play with my close friends because I didn't think everyone would love it as much as I did. I was also not aware that it was free to download on mobile. As a result, I closed the game one night with the intention of never opening it again. I assumed its popularity would drop at that point. After a few weeks had gone by, I was attending college and going about my daily business as usual when out of the blue I received an invitation to play "Among Us" with around six other students. I was surprised by this because I hadn't played the game in weeks.

I had no idea that anyone I knew even knew what it was. When I went home that night I realized just how popular the game was becoming. In September 2020, @PewDiePie started making videos on the game uploading videos that would reach a total of 14 million views. "Among Us" was now five times as popular as it was in August and going into October of the same year it would reach its peak in terms of popularity. A channel going by the name of "the pixel kingdom" uploaded a video of "Among Us" that gained 257 million views, as well as two others that were over a hundred million. The game was thriving.

However, after reaching its peak "Among Us" started to fall victim to a thing called irony. A small or somewhat large group of people like making jokes and making fun of others who appreciate whatever is currently trendy, just as everything that gets popular. "Among Us" was hurt by this. YouTubers who only used the worst names for their videos continued to beat the game to death. The game became a target because of such titles and the dialect the players used, particularly the word "sus". "Among Us" was no longer entertaining to play online, because the game was becoming a joke.

Something that I noticed was that as people got better at the game the lobbies became way more intense and toxic. At this point everyone pretty much knew the game inside out as it was so simple to understand, which meant that when it came to the voting phase in a game, players were prepared to do anything to prove themselves innocent and shift blame, which involved tactics such as asking everybody what tasks they had and then managing to pick out the impostors simply based on what type of tasks are enabled that game in the settings.

Since people knew the game so well at this point it became incredibly easy to pick out who the imposters were. This made it incredibly simple for crewmates, and made it incredibly frustrating for the impostors who couldn't win. All this also led to way more arguments and instead of having fun, people looked genuinely exhausted. This was one of the many things that I believe caused the game to die very quickly. In January of 2021, the game developers for "Among Us" announced the release of a new map —which you think would be good for the game as it's a really big update that would raise people's interest.

However, the game was practically dead at this point, but it couldn't go out without taking one final blow which in my opinion was the worst thing to ever happen to the game. At the beginning of April 2021, the developers finally released the new map, and a new account feature. Before this update "Among Us" was pretty much accessible to anybody, all you had to do was download the app and put in a code. However now you had to make an account which is pretty straightforward but along with accounts came two options for games: quick chat and free chat.

Quick chat means that the messages you send in chat are based on pre-determined messages whereas free chat means you can type whatever you wish to type. However, this wasn't an in-game setting, it was an account setting meaning that if you were to play on free chat for example you'd have to tell everybody you're playing with to go into their settings and pick free chat. This made the process of entering a game so much more difficult for no reason, and when we played it was causing issues. Some people even after selecting the correct chat option weren't able to join the game as it was now buggy, which meant that we'd either have to switch hosts or get everybody to change chat settings once again. However the most annoying part was that the chat settings didn't even matter to us, as we were all talking on Discord.

"Among Us" went from being one of the most accessible games to one of the least accessible in that session. As a result of this, we pretty much haven't touched the game since.

 

 

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2022 - Fall - Issue 8
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