Popular 2020 titles duke it out for game of the year

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Photo by Peyton Thao

“Among Us” character Red gets rid of their competition, leaving a “Fall Guys” avatar defeated. Both games have gained tremendous traction within the last few months.

The video games “Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout” and “Among Us” were quite the pleasant surprises when they gained popularity over the course of 2020, a year that has otherwise provided only unpleasant surprises. “Fall Guys” rose to the top at launch back in February with its fun and simple take on the battle royale genre. While “Among Us” quickly gained traction after two years with a small following, the two managed to rise quickly this spring and summer, but only “Among Us” was able to maintain its massive popularity. There are many variables behind a game’s decline or rise in popularity, but there seems to be a consensus to what the main one is amongst the gaming community.

 “Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout” is essentially the gaming equivalent of the competitive TV game show “Wipeout” combined with team events where you play in groups of three. Players participate as brightly colored six-foot tall jelly bean creatures. The game consists of 60 players at the start, who then compete in five different rounds depending on how long the players last. In the end, the winner is given a crown to prove their victory. 

The game is well-known to be one that anyone can immediately pick up and play. This aspect is what helped set it apart from the rest of the battle royale games; allowing you to turn off your brain and have fun for 1520 minutes. However, this is also the model of gameplay that is speculated to have been its downfall. Each stage remains the same, and without new updated maps, matches begin to grow predictable and less engaging.

On the other hand, “Among Us”, though simplistic looking and also popular, is quite different in its gameplay. It’s a social deduction game where a maximum of 10 people play together, completing a set number of small mini-game tasks in the middle of space. While attempting to complete the mini-games, there are one to three imposter players hidden amongst the group, on a set path to try and kill everyone else. An imposter win can be achieved through two ways of play. The first is through the slow and calculated killing of every player until the killers outnumber everyone. The second is through the sabotage of oxygen supply (O2)  and winning through suffocating everyone. To add to the stress (or fun, depending on how you look at it), players can vote other players out of the game if they think they are an imposter or are acting suspicious. 

“Among Us” also has simple gameplay and keeps the map static just like “Fall Guys”, but the difference is that it keeps you engaged the whole time. The tasks and player elimination aspect of the game may be simplistic, but trying to keep your kills hidden is where the engaging part begins. You can choose to strategically kill crewmates and create a senario where you can frame someone else, or you can simply kill at random and play dumb. The core aspect of Among Us is trying to blend in and deceive. This allows for many ways of play and allows for more game replay.

“Among Us” still has quite the traction, especially considering it was even played by congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for the purpose of encouraging voter turnout earlier this fall. Add in all the gaming YouTubers and Twitch streamers, and the attention doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. With all this in mind, many may wonder, will “Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout” continue to fall, or will the game remain among us in the gaming world and begin to rise back up for another victory?