“What a fkn noob.”
“Cyan vented on cams,” Pink said. “Vote cyan lmao.”
Shamefully, I had been forced to reckon with the fact that I had been found out. I was the Imposter, and I was seemingly doing a fairly mediocre job of it. I was ejected from the airlock, my nubby Cyan body floating in outer space.
The basic premise of the game Among Us is simple. You are a crewmate on a ship with 4-10 other players and one or two of the individuals is an imposter trying to sabotage the ship and kill the rest of the players. When emergency meetings are called or dead bodies are discovered, you open up the chat box in order to discuss with the rest of the players who you think is “sus.” Then you vote.
I’m sure you have heard enough dialogue on this game and how it succeeded Fall Guys and have seen the endless memes and TikToks about it; I personally have wasted more than enough time watching videos on Among Us strategy and the theories behind the apparent lore of the game.
But the beauty of this game for me personally lies not in playing with random strangers on the internet, or developing superior Imposter strategies, or even making fun of a 22-year-old girl who forgot one of the most basic rules of the game and then successfully voting her off so you win. No, the beauty of the game comes from the banter.
I say that this love letter to Among Us is belated because my friends and I have not actually played the game together in two or so weeks now. But for the three weeks that preceded it losing favor, we would play together. And part of the fun simply came from the funny names. In addition to my personal moniker of Sab, for example, it was common to see “Not sab” and “Betr sab” on the screen. “Who is (xyz)?” was frequently a bit.
There was also a group tradition of randomly choosing one of our friends to vote off for no reason. Depending on who it was, and everyone was definitely subjected to this sort of banterous behavior at one time or another, this often triggered a real-life rant about how bad we were at the game.
Some moments of joy came from the sweet victory that came when you stuck with a squad from the beginning and ultimately caught the imposter and were victorious. I also loved just hopping into a random game with a couple of friends and seeing what we could accomplish together — hopefully avoiding getting called a bunch of names by some 12-year-olds online.
Ultimately, however, I was pretty indifferent to whether I won or lost. More so than understanding the in-depth strategy of the game, this was a new, different way to mess around with my friends and stay connected with more people than I could see in person given COVID-19 restrictions. For instance, my best friend is in New York for the semester and she was still able to play with us (even though she won and then claimed she didn’t get the game).
There’s also the deep happiness that comes from saying “gg guys” after being the Imposter and successfully merc’ing all of your loved ones. I might not have been a good Imposter when I was playing with a bunch of hardos on the internet, but it was definitely easier to sneak through the banter on occasion and come out victorious with my friends.
That being said, if you like video game lore and strategy, I obviously have to recommend MatPat’s “Game Theory” videos on the topic, which are an entertaining exploration into the best ways to play the game. They also cover the species of the crewmates and set up an argument on the backstory of the game.
In short, the time for Among Us may have come to an end. Never again will I drop an Among Us code into a 40-person GroupMe and have people messaging “is it full,” and “lmk when next game is.” But for a short period of time, it was my favorite thing to do at 10:30 p.m. every single night. And I think that deserves to be celebrated as a harbinger of joy.