It must’ve been sometime towards the middle of 2019…
At the time, I was in the middle of my LifeAfter phase. After downloading LifeAfter on a whim with no prior experience with “mobile gaming,” I got hooked. I give credit for this to the friends that I made through my time playing the game. Although it has some of the most compelling features and gameplay that one can find on a mobile device, this wasn’t the key drawing point for me. I honestly feel that what kept me engaged and playing the game, for such a long time, was none other than the friends that I had made while playing it.
At any rate, every day I would faithfully login to LifeAfter on my phone, day after day, to grind dailies (i.e. daily quests that are integral for gaining XP). This chore was par for the course, and a mere cog in the machine that was known as my daily routine. By the summer of 2019, I had become completely invested in this process of the aforementioned MMORPG. Although the game doesn’t exactly have a “paywall” design, its gacha aspects and durability system sets up many for players for failure—particularly if they lack patience or time and are unwilling to spend money. I can’t speak for other players, but I know that I wasn’t alone in the fact that I fell prey to the alluring p2w lifestyle as a survivor in LifeAfter.
I don’t wanna get into the finer details of this situation; my intention is to set the stage because it was around this time (Early 2019) that I had my first experience with Among Us.
For the life of me, I cannot remember which of my friends first introduced me to “Among Us.” I can’t figure exactly who to give the credit to, but thanks, pal. Ever since our LifeAfter camp/guild was created in March of 2019, we had a discord server established alongside that. We used it often, as it was our primary source of communication (apart from the comms. system for LifeAfter, of course). Looking back through the history of the server’s messages, I found specifics:
My first impressions of Among Us were favorable. One of the first things that I noticed about the game was how similar it was to party games I had played numerous times throughout my youth. During my time as a student in school and a camper at summer camps, I’d grown familiar with games possessing similar concepts. Heads Up 7-Up, Mafia, and Werewolf are some of the most notable examples of these types of games. My first play-through of Among Us made me realize how blatant these resemblances were: “The game was inspired by the party game Mafia and the science fiction horror film The Thing” (Wikipedia). I loved playing those games as a kid, and this enjoyment translated into my playing of Among Us as well.
I remember those early days where we’d play that offspring of Mafia & The Thing. Back on those late nights we’d play that game for…who knows how long? We’d all hop in the #among-us voice chat channel on the discord, and we’d have a blast. Not gonna lie, it was pretty poggers.
There would be times we didn’t have a enough of us for a full lobby, so we’d wait around for some randoms to join and make it an even ten players. It was a sorry move on our part, but I can remember we’d single out the randoms and vote them off—despite how clear it was that they weren’t guilty of anything. And of course, it was difficult not to call out one of your buddies in the vc after they just sprinted behind up behind and gutted you like a fish. It always made for an interesting time whenever we’d play.
I can remember playing the game back then and wondering why it had such a sparse amount of reviews from the App Store. It seemed a bit bizarre, but it wasn’t something that I actively thought about. All I knew is that Among Us made for a pretty damn good time, if you had a group of people to play with. For me, it didn’t seem like something I could play seriously; not a game I’d ever feel led to play solo. Besides, even if I wanted to, playing solo wouldn’t have been a very practical option. There wasn’t an active enough player base for a person to find a game while soloing at any given time. I would never have anticipated how different things would be less than a year later.
It’s really weird how fast time moves. I don’t really remember the “last” time I played Among Us during that period, but it was probably during November or December (2019). The game was definitely enjoyable, but it never became a game that I’d play on a regular basis. It was more of something that I would play together with my friends when we were all bored enough, weren’t busy, etc. In my mind, it was never more than that. Naturally, quite a bit of time passed without me playing the game or ever having it cross my mind. With the passing of this time came a new era. Needless to say, I was surprised by what 2020 did for the game.
I can’t recall when it started happening, but I noticed that Among Us began to be talked about more and more. I first noticed this throughout different discord servers; people began to talk about the game and how awesome it was. In addition, I began to notice Among Us content become a thing on YouTube. Meme channels, twitch streamers, etc. Anything and everything related to Among Us was going viral. It was bonkers.
When I saw that Shroud and PewDiePie were uploading content surrounding the game, I knew that something huge was unfolding before my eyes. My presupposition is that this change was gradual, but it definitely did not seem that way. Among Us appeared to transition from legitimate obscurity to wide acclaim overnight. It was wild.
This brings me to the present day, and the question at hand: How did Among Us become Amogus?
If I’m being honest, this is a difficult question to answer. If there is an answer for how this Amogus Revolution be, it will be found through examining the social media hype that surrounded the game during its rebirth in the midst of the 2020 pandemic. According to knowyourmeme.com, the official subreddit for the game amassed over 167,000 subs over the course of a two week period. r/AmongUs went from 27,000 subscribers on September 3rd to 194,0000 subs on September 17th. During the same time period, the amount of average Steam players soared from 600 to 25,000. These trends are absolutely insane.
When I first began to encounter the memes, it was on YouTube. I remember a few channels that blew up rather quickly; all that they were doing was making Among Us gameplay and meme edits. They were humorous videos, for sure. I found it fascinating though how anything and everything related to the game seemed to be blowing up. The YouTube algorithm truly had the hots for Among Us; YouTube still does. Add in Twitter, Reddit, and Discord to boot; you end up with a variety of spicy memes that will continue to evolve as time marches on.
The video above captures the essence of “Amogus” pretty well. It seems as though the first use of the term was used in an edit of a political cartoon that had a figure which resembled an Among Us crewmate. The post blew up on Reddit, and it helped ignite the candle to lead the way for endless amounts of ironic usage of the term. “The game has turned into an absurdist art piece referencing its own massive popularity currently in the throes of going through the cynical meme culture meatgrinder” (quote at 1:42). Perhaps the best way to put it is that the Amogus memes are meta memes, whose purpose is to simultaneously mock itself while producing both rage and laughter in those who consume the media.
At the end of the day, Among Us has proven itself and begun to establish itself as a classic. The game captures the aspects of murder mystery roleplaying games that many of us have experienced throughout different periods in our lives. The pandemic exacerbated the hardships of human beings around the world. Memes aside, Among Us most likely made a difference, however small it may have been, in the lives of individuals.
If nothing else, I’m thankful for the game. In addition to the fun times I’ve shared with others while playing it, the existence of Among Us has supplied me with numerous laughs due to its fluidity as a meme icon. I tip my fedora to Innersloth.
Thanks for reading…