What Parents Need to Know About Among Us
If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that we can be grateful for the little things, especially when those little things help bring us closer together, albeit virtually.
Nearly half a billion players likely felt this way about among us free for week (Everyone 10+), when they rediscovered the two-year-old game last year, catapulting it to heights of popularity that took even its developers by surprise. Released in 2018 but rediscovered in 2020 by kids and adults who appreciated its mix of silly humor and simple online gameplay, the game became a vehicle for many to connect with others in a fun, lighthearted way.
The game snagged both the Mobile Game of the Year and the Best Multiplayer Game at the annual Game Awards 2020 in December. It’s also featured as an Editor’s Choice selection in Apple’s App Store. Its popularity also got a massive boost when U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) played the game in a live stream in October on her Twitch Channel to more than 435,000 viewers.
If you’d like to learn more about Among Us to help you decide whether it’s right for your family, or you’re just curious to know what the fuss is all about, read on!
What is Among Us?
Among Us is an online, multiplayer whodunnit game available on mobile (Android, iOS) devices, as well as on PCs, the Nintendo Switch and Microsoft’s Xbox platforms. In March, its developer, Innersloth, released a free new map for the game dubbed the Airship.
The premise is simple: players are dropped into a damaged spaceship and each is secretly assigned to be either a crewmember or an impostor. If you’re a crewmember, you have to fix your spaceship. If you’re an impostor, your job is to sabotage the ship and kill the crewmembers. Players hold meetings throughout each session to debate and vote on who they think the impostor is. The mate with the most votes gets tossed out of the airlock. Will the crew be able to repair the ship or eject the impostors in time?
Among Us is Clue meets Alien – but with an adorable art style and a clever social engineering angle.
Is Among Us Appropriate for Your Kids?
Because every family is unique, parents tend to have their own evaluation criteria for what they feel is OK for their kids.
That said, Sarah Kimmel has a five-step process she goes through each time she evaluates a new game for her 11-year-old son. Her first step is to check out the game’s ESRB rating. In this case, Among Us has been assigned an Everyone 10+ rating by the ESRB with Content Descriptors that include “Fantasy Violence” and “Mild Blood.” It also has Interactive Elements that include “Users Interact,” meaning players are able to chat with one another, and “In-Game Purchases,” which lets parents know the game offers the ability to make additional purchases.
“Next, I read reviews of the game in the app store,” said Kimmel, director of technical support for technology company Gryphon in Salt Lake City, Utah. “Then I look up the game’s maker to see if it’s a legit company, and I try to understand how they make money. Fourth, I ask other parents to see what their experiences have been with the game. Lastly, I play the game myself, or I watch my son play it for a while so I can see what kind of interactions he has in the game.”
For parents, one relevant aspect of the game is the cartoony violence that happens when impostors take out crewmembers. One parent I spoke with said she was initially nervous about the violence.
“But the way it was done was OK, and not too gruesome,” said Viviane Nguyen, a program analyst in Renton, Wash., whose two children ages 6 and 11 both play the game with their uncles and cousins.