The holidays are Among Us once again

The popular online game has proven to be a great way to spend time with friends

So the holidays are Among Us once again, and we are still in quarantine. In the past few months, we, like many, have been searching for ways to stay in contact with our friends and family that doesn’t require in-person interaction. Our answer, the wildly popular, highly entertaining, free online game, “Among Us.”

What started out as a small iMessage group chat of eight friends — titled “among us rats” — soon hosted over a dozenmembers, spilling over to the point where we made a Discord channel to send out game codes, voice chat, and add friends that we made in online games. Some of us grew up playing video games (Grand Theft Auto, anyone?) while others have never held a game controller in our life; regardless of our prior experience, Among Us has provided an easy way for us to keep up and chat despite the physical distance between us.

Once you get the hang of it, the game is pretty simple; if you’ve played Mafia, you have a leg-up. All it takes is at least five people to play (max ten). Before the game begins, one-to-three people are secretly assigned the role of ‘imposters,’ and tasked with killing the others, known as ‘crewmates.’ Imposters have to kill enough of their crewmates before the crewmates finish various assigned tasks to repair the ship, or else they lose. The opportunity to rival against your friends in the name of fighting for survival is pretty enticing.

When a crewmate comes across the body of their murdered friend, they can report it — that’s when the real fun starts. As we’ve kept playing over the months, unspoken alliances have come and gone between (or perhaps among) us, prompting the eager ganging up on and blaming of certain friends due to their always being “sus” (aka me, Kayla).

Whoever gets blamed gets ejected from the ship, becoming a ghost and now able to watch their friends be murdered or complete tasks. Nobody knows who is actually a crewmate or an imposter until the very end, once the imposters have either successfully killed off the crew or the crewmates collectively finish their tasks.

Most of us don’t have our real names accompanying our character, further lending to the chaos that takes place. You can be as silly as you want: In fact, when all of us play, we often have similar usernames that confuse the other players we don’t know in real life: Paddington, Saddington, Gladdington, and if you’re a comrade, Comraddington! Lots of preteens and children play this game, so we try to keep it as PG-13 as possible.

So, how did this silly online game bring us together, when so many other multiplayer games exist? What feels so enticing about this game, as dramatic as it may sound, is that we are all allowed to be in the same room, as we would pre-pandemic. Sure, you can Zoom call your friends and technically be in the same “room,” but in Among Us, there’s no having to keep up appearances. Even within the game, we are able to form foolish inside jokes and laugh with one another over the events of the round. We are all just little minions, only distinguishable by the colors and hats we choose for our characters.

Among Us makes it so that meeting up with our friends can be done without having to change out of pajamas — a pretty big draw in the era of sweatpants’ comeback. We’re all in the same lobby and have our real-life personalities, just in different, three-foot-tall bodies. If one of us is ever not attentive in class, you know why. Just ask for the game code.