Why I Love Horror: Five Nights at Freddy’s

Yes, I’m talking about this again.  Because gosh dang it I really do love it.  I know there’s a lot of hate toward the FNAF series and a lot of people disagree about it being scary, but if you happen to be one of those people I’ll just ask you to move along.  For those staying, let’s talk a bit about the series as a whole.

Most people were introduced to Five Nights at Freddy’s when Markiplier played it shortly after its release.  And it terrified me to the point of being freaked out any time I saw anything about it and even having nightmares.  And yet it fascinated me.  I heard there was going to be a sequel and was like “NO HOW COULD YOU NO” but when it came out and Mark played it, I was really excited to see it.  To be fair, around the time the second game came out, I was starting to get less scared of the first game, but the second game still managed to freak me out a bit before I got over it completely.

So just exactly what was it about these games that was so interesting?  While the game play was interesting and different at first, it didn’t stay all that scary for long.  After a time you become desensitized to the jumpscares and the other stuff it throws at you (though the flashing hallucinations in your face can still get your heart racing).  So even after getting over the scare factor of it, why was it still drawing people in?  Well, of course, it was that underlying mystery that was started in the first game.  All these strange little hints dropped here and there that make you wonder just what is going on.  And then with the second game, we get some semblance of an actual story.

Things got more interesting from that point on, and when the third game came out we got even more.  Now, that game wasn’t quite as scary and, in my opinion, the game play wasn’t even as good as the first two games, but the story was wonderful and the character of Springtrap became a favorite for many people.  And, of course, the ending of that game made everyone believe the series was over.  But then the announcement of “the final chapter” came out with a horrifying image of “Nightmare Freddy”.

And FNAF 4 was a complete turnaround from the rest of the series.  No night guard, no phone calls, no security cameras.  You’re just a scared little kid staying up all night, trying to defend against the monsters that he thinks are in his halls and closet and under his bed.  It was perfect.  It was the perfect setup for a horror game, because the idea of it is something that every kid has experienced before, at least in their imagination if not directly.  And no matter how many times you’ve experienced the jumpscares in that game, they’re always scary and always get you due to the sound design in the game and how important it is to listen.

Five Nights at Freddy’s as a whole has always been good at preying on fears that people have.  Sure, it’s not necessarily going to resonate with everybody, because everybody is scared of something different, but the fear of creepy animatronics is prominent in a lot of people, and thus it worked.  But it wasn’t just the animatronics – in fact, most people aren’t scared of them so much anymore.  It’s all the back story stuff.  The dark past this establishment hides.

The missing children.
The murders.
The night 5 phone call.

This series holds a special place in my heart for something that succeeded in legitimately scaring me to the point of not being able to sleep only to later fall in love with it.  I can’t say that about most things.

There is something else you can say about this series.  It’s generated a lot of fan art.  Not just art, but original songs and stories and theories and a community of people who were brought together just by talking about these games.  But mostly it’s the inspiration that people get out of it.  Scott Cawthon (the creator of the games) said something that he hoped people would be inspired to go out and make their own games that become the next big thing that Markiplier plays.  And that spoke to me, not as someone who creates games, but someone who creates in general.  The games have inspired me in my writing.  Both the games and the art and music other people have made based on the games.  And what could be better than that?

So while the Five Nights at Freddy’s original story may be finished, we still have the movie to look forward to, which I have high hopes for.  And also the RPG that’s coming out next year (so says Scott) known as FNAF World.  It may not be a horror game, but I’m still quite excited to play it.

(Review of Five Nights at Freddy’s 4 to be done some time this week hopefully)




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