The video game “Among Us” captured the spotlight Tuesday night after House Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar joined Twitch to play along with top streamers as part of a broader effort to encourage Americans to vote in the upcoming election.
The stream drew more than 435,000 viewers, making it one of the most popular streams ever on Twitch.
Although the game launched more than two years, it only recently surged in popularity this year after several YouTubers and streamers started to profile the game through their channels.
So, what is “Among Us” all about? Here’s what you should know about the video game.
How does ‘Among Us’ work?
It’s a multiplayer game where between four and 10 people play as part of a spaceship crew working together to keep their vessel running as they return home.
Players will get a series of tasks such as managing the engines or diverting power to parts of the ship, represented in a series of mini-challenges.
Here’s the twist: One player is an alien Impostor. That player can sabotage efforts to fix the ship and kill crewmembers. Other players can signal an alarm when a dead crewmember is found, and call emergency meetings to uncover the traitor.
It’s very collaborative, especially during emergency meetings when you try to hash out who is playing as Impostor. For the crew, the goal is to either get your ship home or eject the Impostor, while the rogue alien traitor must sabotage the ship to claim victory.
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Where can I play this?
It’s available on PC, as well as Apple iOS and Google Android devices.
How popular is the game?
It’s the top free game on Apple’s App Store and Google Play. According to PC gaming platform Steam’s top games list – based on current player count – “Among Us” is fourth.
As The New York Times reports, the game actually launched in 2018 but surged in popularity this year after several YouTube stars and influencers started highlighting the game.
Why is this stream featuring ‘Among Us’ a big deal?
Politicians have shown interest in the video game space as a new opportunity to reach voters. Last month, the campaign for presidential candidate Joe Biden and vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris launched online merchandise for the Nintendo Switch game “Animal Crossing: New Horizons.”
Meanwhile, one of the biggest games out there, “Fortnite,” has served as a hub for big events including a concert from Travis Scott and an interview with J.J. Abrams, director of “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” who shared exclusive clips tied to the movie. In April, The Washington Post reported on how “Fortnite” could pave way for the next version of the Internet.
Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @brettmolina23.