If you’ve been anywhere on the internet over the past month, you’ve probably seen an Among Us meme. More likely, you’ve seen dozens. You might have been under the impression that it was a newly released game, but it’s actually been available for over two years now.
It blipped across my radar a little bit ago, and I pretty much wrote it off as being not for me. Until a couple of my friends picked it up. And then a couple more. Before I knew it, nearly my entire friend group had clicked add to cart and jumped on the Among Us bandwagon. Last night, I made my first foray into the game with them.
Tip 1: Don’t just dive into a game with friends directly.
Now, I’m not saying you have to play public games – I’m saying you definitely should spent a few minutes with the “How to Play” area, because no matter how well you think it’s being explained? It’s not being explained well enough.
I almost quit after … about a minute and a half. Not having looked to see how the controls worked, I couldn’t actually interact with anything, so I started trying to randomly click to troubleshoot the problem, as you do. Well, the first thing I managed to interact with was the Emergency Meeting button, at which point I had to explain in chat that I was an idiot, there was no emergency, and I would very much like to be ejected from the ship now.
It probably took half a dozen games before I started to feel mostly comfortable with how to be part of the crew, and I was pretty lucky in that I got to play that many without being marked as an Imposter. Another friend joining us for the first time last night wasn’t so lucky. He also skipped the instructions, relying on all of us to explain the game. Which we did. If he was a crew member. Which he wasn’t in his first game.
Although you’d never know it from all the laughing that was happening, I felt pretty awful when he told us in our second meeting that he couldn’t figure out how to do tasks, the only thing he had been able to do so far was go into the vents. Oops.
Tip Two: Don’t be afraid to die, and if you do die, the game isn’t over.
Being dead in Among Us is actually pretty great. First off, you get to be a ghost, and there are perks to being a ghost, not the least of which is ghost chat. Ghost chat is where all the people murdered or ejected can talk about the other people who are still alive and oblivious to what’s actually happening.
You can also continue to complete tasks (as a Crew Member) or sabotage the ship (as an Imposter, assuming your game setup has more than one). Also, once you’re a ghost, you can move through walls, which is great for someone like me who lacks a sense of direction and basic understanding of maps.
Tip Three: The game can be fun regardless of what team you’re on.
From what I understand, it’s not terribly uncommon for someone to bail out on a public game if they aren’t made an Imposter. Sure, that’s the flashy mayhem-causing role, but there’s something ridiculously satisfying about getting your tasks done, and then acting as bodyguard for that one person you’re 99% sure is also just a regular Crew Member. Especially because if they’re not so sure of you, following someone around can really freak them out.
And – in the interest of full disclosure – I expected I would hate being an Imposter and was dreading the first time that came up. All the games we played were two imposter games, which took a little of the pressure off, but I was still nervous.
As it turned out, all the things that made me kind of shady as a crew mate – recklessness in approaching others, a complete and utter disregard for doing things in a logical order, and just being generally bizarre in the way I navigated the map – made me a pretty great imposter. The group had gotten used to my clumsy play style, and I wasn’t doing anything differently – except murdering people. I avoided the vents and couldn’t figure out how to sabotage the ship, so murder it was. Both times I was half of the imposter team, we won.
Among Us is not a game I expect to spend too much time with, outside of playing with friends. I don’t feel terribly competent, and despite what my Imposter wins would seem to indicate, I’m a pretty awful liar. But the rounds are quick, you can still win when you’re dead, and I’m interested to see where the developers take the game after its unexpected rise in popularity.