WARNING! There are Jumpscare Gifs Below!
Do you remember how a couple years ago, the gaming community was raving about games like Slender: The Eight Pages and Amnesia? Every couple of years, there is a horror game that just completely changes what we think of horror and makes you think about it, even when you aren't playing. Last year, we got one of those games: an indie horror game known as Five Nights at Freddy's.
What is Five Nights at Freddy's?
Five Night's at Freddy's is a survival based horror game inside a Chuck E. Cheese -esque knock off, called Freddy Fazbear's Pizza. You play as the night-time security guard (revealed to be named Mike Schmidt), working from 12AM to 6AM every night. But, it is revealed that the four animatronics come to life and wander the restaurant during those very hours. You may be asking me, 'But how is our character in danger?'. You see, if the animatronics see you in your office, they will not recognize you as a person; rather, an animatronic skeleton without its costume on. Since that is against the rules at Freddy Fazbear's, the animatronics will forcefully stuff you inside of a Animatronic Suit, resulting in a frightening jumpscare..... and death.
But it isn't like you can run off, shut the door, and just wait it out. You cannot move from your office, you have a limited power supply that uses power to keep the doors shut, and running out of power will result in an automatic death (unless you can wait out to six). Whenever one of the four animatronics gets into your office, you will be jump-scared and given a game over. Your only defense is the various security cameras that can be used to detect when an animatronic is right outside your door. If you manage to make it to 6AM, you will be moved on to the next night until you accomplish all five, which unlocks a sixth night and eventually the custom night.
Who thought this up?
Five Nights at Freddy's is an indie horror game by Scott Cawthon, who previously made Christian games. Now, how does one exactly go from Christian Games to Horror? Well, Scott made one game called Chipper and Sons Lumber Company, which is similar to one of those farming games on Facebook. It wasn't received well, however. One of the critics even referred the main character's movements similar to those of animatronic machines (like those in Chuck E. Cheese's). Scott didn't take this well, almost deciding to quit gaming when he got an idea.... to use this to his advantage.
Is there a story or is it just gameplay?
Five Nights at Freddy's is well known for its story, which is only provided by evidence hidden throughout the game and in cryptic Atari-style mini-games. During the game, you can find newspaper clippings, which show how five children disappeared from a birthday party. The kidnapper/possible murderer was apprehended immediately, but the children were never found. Months later, customers began to complain that the animatronics were beginning to smell, and secreting blood and mucus. The smell was coming from the animatronics was even described as 'reanimated corpses'. It is presumed that the missing children had their bodies stuffed inside of the animatronics, even resulting in the restaurant being closed.
This story was expanded upon even more by three sequels (all of which came out within one year of the game's creation). It shows the fate of the mysterious murderer, only known as the 'Purple Guy' as well as the various Fazbear restaurants and even a horror attraction (see, they're as scared of it as we are).
Why is this game so popular?
This game was skyrocketed to fame by 'Let's Play' gaming channels on Youtube, such as Markiplier (the guy in the gif above), Pewdiepie, and Smosh Games. Five Night's at Freddy's captivated fans, making them think of the alluring and confusing plot. Some fans even hacked through the game to look through the audio files and unused pictures and game mechanics. Even almost three months after the last game came out, the story is still a huge mystery.
Five Nights at Freddy's is even being made into a horror film, directed by Gil Kenan (he directed the new Poltergeist) and co-written by Scott Cawthon. Kenan has been teasing fans through a series of cryptic images on his twitter, showing that the crew has partnered with Jim Henson's Creature Shop to make real animatronics. The movie hopefully is going to be terrifying, just like the game series that preceded it.
Is it worth the six dollars?
Absolutely! I played this game on both my laptop and my smartphone; I haven't been to a Chuck E. Cheese's since. Five Nights at Freddy's uses creepy audio cues, frightening character design, and a beautifully crafted story to portray a narrative of children who died too young. I highly suggest playing it...
But if you don't want to play it, for horror games and anxiety are not what you want to experience; I suggest watching Markiplier play through the game on his Youtube, since he has played all four games, or watching Game Theory for his take on the story. I won't judge.