How ‘Among Us’ has gone from quirky game to political tool

Since coming to the app store two years ago, ‘Among Us’ initially lacked a solid fan base. However, in the last month the game has seen a total turnaround, gaining hype on social media, shooting up the charts in the app store, and most recently 400,000 people went online to watch congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez play. 

Young people in particular, have connected with the game and its morbid premise. This led to Ocasio-Cortez, posting on Twitter: ‘Anyone want to play Among Us with me on Twitch to get out the vote? (I’ve never played but it looks like a lot of fun)’. Encouraging people to vote is notoriously difficult, but Ocasio-Cortez’s streaming tactic proved to be successful as she has now gone into the list of top 10 biggest streams. This means that she has reached a huge number of young people, a group that politicians consistently struggle to engage with. Whether she will have effectively gotten young people to vote is yet to be seen. 
Now being used by a politicians to connect with young voters, it’s hard to imagine that indie company ‘InnerSloth’, had no big successes prior to their space themed murder mystery game. The release of ‘Among us 2’ was cancelled to allow for ‘InnerSloth’ to focus their attention on getting servers running as the game suddenly received such a large volume of traffic. 
Given the unique nature and personality of the game, it’s no surprise that it was able to quickly gain attention on social media. The simple 2D graphics make it stand out from other multiplayer games that focus on having flashy graphics, such as ‘Fortnite’. The simple but cute design is emphasised at the start of each game as players can choose to customise their character, either by colour or with a hat of their choice. Once in a game with up to 10 random strangers, each round players must vote off one team member who they believe must have been murdering the others, who is known as the ‘imposter’. 
These simple elements that lead to amusing moments meant Twitter and Tiktok both became key mediums in promoting gameplay. Players would want to share a funny moment that had happened to them, whether it be all the users in their game wearing the same hat, or being accused of being the imposter by a stranger with no evidence. This only grew as more players joined. Particularly in lockdown, which has seen a rise of mobile gamers, this game allowed us to connect and interact with random strangers, in a way that is now too risky to do in person. Having filled this void, ‘Among Us’ may have now summoned in a new age of gaming politicians. 
Words: Bethan Adams | Subbing: Arwa Nadeem
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