You have probably come across this name at least once in the last few months, hearing it from your kids, other children, or friends, even if you haven’t played it yet. Recently, analytics platform Sensor Tower published data that revealed Among Us was the most downloaded mobile game worldwide in September, for Android and iOS.
All this success can be explained by a couple of things. The Covid-19 pandemic caused many countries throughout the world to practise social distancing.
Online games, then, in that sense, became a viable alternative source of entertainment, since leaving the house to meet relatives and friends was not recommended by health authorities.
Still, it isn’t just the frequent internet use and social distancing measures that put Among Us in the position it is today. It is also its functionalities, its narrative and its possibilities that are attractive to both adult and young players. And that is why we are going to explain a little bit more about the game and its features.
What is Among Us?
Among Us is a game created in 2018 by Innersloth, an American video game developer. Only the mobile version (for Android and iOS) was made available after its initial release, but the PC version was developed by its creators at the end of the same year.
What is the goal of the game?
The goal of the game is considered simple and Among Us isn’t the first to propose this same premise. It’s a multiplayer game, that is, you necessarily have to play with other people, there isn’t the option to play alone. Players gather in groups to start the game, and each group must have between 4 to 10 participants.
As soon as the app starts, players have a few options: they can create their own game and call friends and family to play, or they can join previously created games.
- Host: if players want to host a game;
- Public: if they want to find public games;
- Private: players enter a code given by the Host to access the game.
The game happens inside a ship in space, where crewmates are trying to survive the galaxy. Among this crew, there is an “impostor” whose goal is to eliminate the other participants. The impostor is chosen randomly and, depending on the game settings, there may have more than one impostor.
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Is there a cost to play Among Us?
To play the mobile version, you can download the app for free on your smartphone. The Steam version, however, which is for computers, costs R$ 10,89.
It is also possible to buy “skins”, which is how the characters look. Prices vary greatly and the purchase can be made in the in-game store.
We should also mention that after games come to an end in the free version, ads pop up on the user’s screen. In the paid version there are no ads.
Role playing: who is whom in Among Us?
There are two groups of characters in Among Us: the crewmates and the impostor (or impostors). Each character will play a specific role in the game.
Impostor: the impostor must kill the other crewmates in the ship. They can also sabotage the ship, and, of course, they have to evade accusations that they are the impostor.
Crewmates: crewmates have to remain alive until the game is finished. They can also perform tasks and accuse participants who they believe are the impostors.
The role played by each character is secret, and only the players themselves know who they are at the beginning of the game.
After someone is killed, other crewmates will end up finding the body. Once the body is reported to the other players, an emergency meeting is called, which takes place on a text chat located at the top right corner of the screen.
This moment is when crewmates will accuse who they believe to be the impostor. Then, each one can vote on the character they think is guilty. It is also possible to skip the vote.
What happens after the voting ends?
When a player receives the majority of votes, they are kicked out of the game. If they are part of the crew, they become a ghost. If the player ejected is really the impostor, then the crewmates have won the game.
There is also another way for crewmates to win the game. Should they complete all their tasks before most of them are killed, they win.
Which elements deserve parents’ attention?
Among Us is not a game for kids and it was not created to reach this specific audience. App Store gave it a 9+ rating and Google Play recommended it for kids older than 12 years old. Steam, the platform where the PC version of the game can be downloaded, said it is suitable for all audiences.
Swearing in the chat:
In the game settings, there is the option to “censor chat”. When the censor chat mode is on, any inappropriate words that appear on the screen will be censored. The game comes with this option already enabled, but it can be disabled at any moment.
Invitations to voice or video call:
Many players prefer to play Among Us connected to a voice or video platform, so that they can talk instead of type in the game chat.
In public games, invitations to join chats outside the game are common. It is also common to exchange WhatsApp numbers and social media profiles, and there is no filter or censor mode to stop this.
Players must choose a name once they download the game in order to start to play. Many players adopt inappropriate names that contain sexual content or bad language.
Other inappropriate conducts during the game:
When a player joins a public game, many times the host ends up banning players with no apparent reason.
There are also players that use hacks, that is, an alternative menu is added to the “official” menu in the game which offers several options, such as the player always being the impostor, the unlocking of accessories and other functions.
How can the game experience be safer and more fun?
The dynamic created by the game attracts adults as well and it can be a fun experience for parents to play along with the kids, for instance, or other close relatives.
The PC version is the safest version, since it allows the host the ability to ban players that act inappropriately. Creating a private game, even in the free version, is also a good alternative, since only those who know the code can enter the game.
In this case, guidance is the strongest ally. It is fundamental that you talk to your kids about the risks of offering private information to strangers, or of joining online chats when they don’t know who will be there.
Since last Thursday, several players have reported the game platform is being the target of multiple spam attacks.
Messages have been sent to the game text chat inviting players to subscribe to YouTube and Discord channels and threatening those who wouldn’t. Content related to Donald Trump’s reelection in the United States have also been sent by the hackers.
The game developers have released an update that ended up not solving the problem and therefore recommended that private games are the safest option at the moment.
This significant attack raised many discussions on social media about the game’s safety and the protection of its players’ data.
Written by Débora Nazário
Translated by Mariana Gruber
Among Us is quite popular and forbidding kids from playing “the most popular game of the moment” will result in a lot of frustration. In the article, we explain how the game works and its recommended age, the main dangers it poses to kids and some solutions to them.
Therefore, our suggestion is: do your kids want to play? Play it with them, be there to keep an eye on things, and, if you see something that doesn’t go along with what you want them exposed to, then you end the game. It’s important to talk to children so that they understand the motive behind your actions.
P.S: The game contains illustrations and graphics of blood and character deaths.
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