If someone had come up to me two months ago and said, “Hey, Alyssa, what do you think your new YouTube obsession will be for the entirety of October?” I don’t think Among Us would have taken up any space on that list. 

Rewatching all 200 episodes of CaptainSparklez’ Minecraft series, Mianite? Sure. Korean café ASMR videos because I can’t escape my workaholic tendencies (I work as a barista at a bubble tea place, shoutout Crave)? Understandable — and semi-concerning. Reviews of the best foreign language dubs for every Disney character known to man? Been there, done that. (Freshman year of high school was a time.) But Among Us? No, no. Never.

I’m not the “‘Mogus” type. Some may consider me a “casual gamer,” sure, but that’s limited to Animal Crossing, Slay the Spire, Pokémon, the Jackbox Party Packs, and the Wii version of Rhythm Heaven Fever (which I now play on my laptop via an emulator I downloaded only to play this exact game and no others). I never jumped on the Among Us bandwagon. I opted for standard mafia games with my friends, or a rousing round of One Night Ultimate Werewolf. There was something about those little backpacked space dudes that I just couldn’t get into — until fall break hit this year.

I was feverish for the entirety of our five-day long weekend, which meant that there was no catching up on homework or traveling for me. Instead, I spent each day oscillating between the same three stages of existence:

  1. Waking up and checking the time.
  2. Realizing it was time to take a dose of my extra-strength cold medicine.
  3. Taking a dose of said cold medicine.

While I dozed, amidst this dreamless purgatory, my laptop’s YouTube autoplay took control. Shot by Cupid’s arrow, perhaps, fired from the quiver of some sad sap searching for a new viewer of this vent-filled video game. I’ll never know. I was merely the victim. For when I awoke, all that remained on my homepage was Among Us — and among them, I was alone. Illuminated only by the light from my computer screen, I figured I’d passively watch the rest of the video that was currently playing. It was halfway done, and I was all comfy-cozy (and due for another dose of CVS brand cold syrup). So, watch I did.

It’s been three weeks since and I haven’t been able to shake the itch. I wake up and I watch a 5up video (for the luckily uninitiated, he’s a “big brain” Among Us streamer). To accompany lunch, I’ll sit down to a Disguised Toast highlights reel. And as my partner drifts off to dreamland next to me, I slowly untangle my limbs from him for the sole purpose of seeking out more Among Us content. I watch the modded games, too — the vanilla stuff just isn’t enough anymore. You mustn’t misunderstand me, not once during this seemingly endless phase of my existence have I actually played this game. I can’t decide if that makes it better or worse.

I must survive in this hellscape until the next craze overtakes me. It’s a caveat of living such a busy life — when I find something that I associate with comfort, it’s hard to distance myself from it. It’s not like I’ll have to wait long, though. I can feel the tug — even with the new Among Us map that just dropped and an animated show in the works, the call of Just Dance 2024’s story mode, and the backlog of every episode of Penn and Teller’s Fool Us beckons to me. The day will come where my synapses fire away, in the neverending search for a new kick, and I won’t have to be among this any longer. For now, though, I have to accept the positives of my position.

When running this paper drives me crazy, when singing my little a cappella songs makes me sick, and when actually paying attention to my course load for once (shocker, I’m a student) jettisons me into yet another existential crisis, I’ve learned to turn to Among Us. It’s self care. Sure, I’d rather de-stress by more normal means — like a good book or a relaxing bath — but my brain has trained itself to feel its best by watching people roleplay as murderous space monsters. So be it.

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