Hello, Old Friend

It’s that time again. Time to dust off Misadventures In Fiction, evicting spiders and so forth, and return to giving it the attention it intermittently deserves. While I certainly can’t claim to have forgotten this site–quite the contrary, in fact, as I think about what I could be writing almost daily–I must admit I haven’t done the best job of keeping it alive. Or the most mediocre job, really.

However, I am moved back to Carnegie as of a couple months ago (living partially out of boxes and bags is moved back in, right?). Life has gone on, and in ways I couldn’t have necessarily predicted but I’m entirely okay with (and no, I am not suggesting I won the lottery, so don’t start asking for yachts or anything). Tonight, when I have an overnight shift to work tomorrow and relatively unlimited time to stay up, I find myself frustrated. I am, as often is the case, in the throes of a creative funk. Continue reading

20/20/20/20 Mode – A love letter to FNAF haters

Five Nights at Freddy’s Haters: Can’t we all just get along?

I feel like it’s appropriate to make this the 20/20/20/20 Mode night topic because addressing how the anonymity of the Internet turns people into dicks is a terrifying, difficult process. Granted, I also think that Scott Cawthon having to address the level of vitriol people spew is absurd because that kind of thing shouldn’t be happening.

Love FNAF? Hate it? Indifferent? Let others do what they want regarding it.

People who love Five Nights at Freddy’s definitely put the fan in fanatical. I speak from personal experience. I also know that before I really gave the games a try (and once again, Markiplier’s videos are to blame and I will gladly say that to his face on the day I never see him to avoid such a confrontation) that I thought they were overhyped and probably awful. I’d voiced that opinion to people, accepting that those people liked the game and letting them do their thing. They accepted that I didn’t like those games (based on assumptions and so on) and let me do my thing. At no point did either party feel the need to verbally berate the other.

What Scott Cawthon did is kind of amazing

It’s really amazing, actually. He created four games in, what, the span of two years? Each one was a fresh look at the franchise. The first one was a pioneer in its genre, forcing players to sit still and wait for the bad things to happen. FNAF 2 gave that new life and more ways to potentially poop yourself over loud noises. And so on. However, the detail that seems to get overlooked is that Scott Cawthon made these games. There was no big budget studio responsible, but an indie developer who undoubtedly slaved over these games. To that end, no matter if you like or hate the series, I think we can all agree FNAF is a huge success. Five Nights at Freddy’s 4 is especially impressive given the surprise early release, how polished the end-result is, and the promise of DLC. Most importantly: even if you don’t like the series, that’s no excuse to resort to personal attacks on its creator. Complain about any gameplay aspects, complain about the fanatical nature of people who love these games, whatever. However, just like everything else in life: don’t be a dick to a person over your views.

6a.m. and still alive

This week of posting has been a lot of fun. I think the Five Nights at Freddy’s series really did a lot for indie gaming and the horror genre. With the movie and FNAF 4, we see the likely end of this series once the DLC is done with…

As seen on ScottGames.com

As seen on ScottGames.com

…unless the 5 fans have found in the latest image on ScottGames.com is an indication of more to come.

Either way, this series is phenomenal. The anxiety and stress of gameplay, coupled with childhood fears and easy frights (jumpscares are the worst), make for top-notch horror gaming. Thank you, Scott, for giving us the heebly-jeeblies with some frustrating-but-ultimately-fun games. As many Steam reviews have said, these are some of the best Escape key simulators on the market.

Night 6 – Five Nights at Freddy’s: The Movie

Five Nights at Freddy’s – A movie?

Historically speaking, movies adapted from video games have tended to run the gamut from moderately acceptable to unspeakably horrible. Mortal Kombat holds a special place in my heart even if it was a little lackluster (at best) Wreck-It Ralph was Disney elevating video game concepts to an amazing level, but without focusing on one specific game or franchise.

Then, of course, there’s the Super Mario Bros. movie that no one ever wants to talk about because talking about it can only be done so with the worst kind of anger. Even with how wonderful Dennis Hopper and Bob Hoskins were.

My sister, who was well aware of my then-new obsession with Five Nights at Freddy’s, told me Warner Bros. had announced they would be making the game into a movie. I was tremendously excited at first, but almost immediately became apprehensive. How would a first-person game where the player sits in one place all night, checking cameras and doors, turn into compelling cinema? Seriously, I need to know.

Strong potential

It has been made very clear that Scott Cawthon will have a large role in this movie, and that he will be heavily involved in making sure this turns out to be true to the games. That right there should be enough to sell quite a few tickets. No one knows the Five Nights at Freddy’s lore better than Scott (I feel like a “No shit, Sherlock” moment has just occurred and I’m sorry for that). That was enough for me to go see the movie in theaters. The next announcement I saw regarding the FNAF movie sold me entirely.

Fully-realized, fabricated animatronics created by the Jim Henson Creature Shop. Even if the plot turns out terrible, it’s safe to say that everything will look absolutely amazing. Granted, I also feel like this is the movie magic equivalent of summoning Bloody Mary; making real versions of Freddy Fazbear, Chica, Bonnie, and Foxy is just asking for problems. I’ve not yet seen anything that indicates this will draw exclusively from the first game. With four games worth of lore, plus DLC for FNAF 4, this movie could really tell one Hell of a story. If it ends up being a companion piece to the games, that would be even more amazing.

…and also the potential for failure…

Please, oh please, don’t let this be horrible. Please don’t let this turn into something that is campy and not frightening at all. Don’t let it be Five Nights at Thomp-Stompers.

What this can do for movies adapted from video games

It’s amazing that an indie series like FNAF is getting this much attention (even if it’s because Hollywood loves chances to fill more swimming pools with money a la Scrooge McDuck). If this turns out well, it could mean more well-done movies based on video games. If it’s amazing, just think of how much further this could distance us from Super Mario Bros. the movie? Because seriously, that’s what we’re all quietly hoping.

But seriously. Please let this movie be a collection of pants-shitting moments of anxiety and terror. Please don’t mess this up, Hollywood.

Night Five: Dissecting the Horror Behind Five Nights at Freddy’s

Five Nights at Freddy’s: A Mastery of Anticipation Horror

The Five Nights at Freddy’s game is a lot of things. It has proved to be surprisingly polarizing among gamers, with some loving it and some absolutely hating it. While I’m not big on speculating about the lore of Five Nights at Freddy’s, as I feel like I don’t fully understand it (having not beaten the games).

I have, however, been thinking a great deal about what goes into making these games so effective at drawing out fear, anxiety, stress, and frustration in gamers. Obviously this isn’t concrete, and it’s well past when it should have been posted…but it’s been a long day.

Moving on! Continue reading

Night Four – Five Nights at Freddy’s 4: My, what sharp teeth you have

Five Nights at Freddy’s 4: Closure…?

Five Nights at Freddy’s 4 feels like a fully-realized vision for what Five Nights at Freddy’s could have been. It’s the best possible progression from the first game in so many ways. Writer’s Note: any instances of the animatronics’ names implies, unless said otherwise, that I’m talking about the Nightmare versions in this game. I realized I omitted that title a few times and I’m just too tired to fix it. Not even sort of sorry.

The Plot

FNAF 4 is unique in that it’s played with a child for the main character. The story begins with a Fredbear plush trying to calm down the protagonist who is crying because he’s been locked in his room again. It becomes clear that there is a party in five days, that the protagonist’s older brother torments him regularly by preying on his fear of the animatronics, I won’t really say much more, as the game is still new enough that I’d hate to spoil even a little of it. Just know that this game seems to be another prequel-sequel.

Bonnie, overall, has always been my favorite in terms of creeping me out. This? Damn it, Scott Cawthon.

Bonnie, overall, has always been my favorite in terms of creeping me out. This? Damn it, Scott Cawthon.

Continue reading

Night Three – Five Nights at Freddy’s Three: Springtrap haunts my nightmares

Five Nights at Freddy’s 3 – Springtrap is more than enough to kill you

Five Nights at Freddy’s 3 takes place thirty years after the original game, with Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza having become a distant memory surrounded by horrifying rumors and children disappearing, murders, and so on. Like any local legend, someone decided to cash in on this by turning one of the old buildings into Fazbear’s Fright, a horror attraction based on the murders and disappearances and less on the warm and fuzzies people might have felt surrounding good old Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza.

The attraction itself is full of artifacts from the old restaurants, and players get to act as the night guard (mostly to make sure no one steals anything, the new phone guy says, or makes out somewhere in the attraction). There’s some disappointment, however, because though the place has an authentic–and creepy–feel, it lacks one thing: animatronics. Night 1 goes smoothly, with no jumpscares or horror. The ambiance of the attraction is one thing, but having to check the cameras for both the attraction and the vents throughout the building, the doorway to the office, and maintain various systems (audio distractions, the ventilation system, and the video feeds for the cameras). Because the building is so old, if the vents stop working things get even more pants-shittingly terrifying.

Night 2, however, is where the real terror begins. Phone Dude informs players that some of the old training tapes were found from back when there were wearable suits that doubled as animatronics. Even better, however, is that they found one. A real one. They found a working animatronic from the old restaurants.

This is a moment I've gotten used to seeing. God damn it, Springtrap.

This is a moment I’ve gotten used to seeing. God damn it, Springtrap.

Continue reading

Night Two – Five Nights at Freddy’s Two: the Sequel-Prequel

Five Nights at Freddy’s 2 – An Involved Prequel-Sequel

Five Nights at Freddy’s 2 takes place before the first installment in this series. This is the first of the series with a more developed, more involved plot, and plenty of new ways to die. To combat this, there are new mechanics designed to help players–now playing a different Night Guard–make it through the week (and beyond, really).

The old meets the new with more animatronics than ever before. The original animatronics return, consisting of Withered Bonnie, Withered Chica (not an official name, but she’s missing her hands and some other bits so it seems fitting), original Foxy (who is still Out of Order). and Freddy Fazbear. Each of the original animatronics now has a Toy counterpart, save for Foxy who has a sort of alternative (The Mangle). The doors are gone, the flashlight is more important than the door lights ever were, and Foxy is far more of a pain in the ass than in the first game.

The Plot

Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza is sparing no expenses in 1987, investing heavily in facial recognition software for their signature animatronics–the Toy animatronic line-up. The originals, featured in the first game, are out of order at the time of the game. Bonnie is missing a good portion of his face. Chica has no hands. Foxy looks about the same as in the first game, given that nobody apparently felt like fixing Foxy. Freddy’s about the same, if only a bit worse for the wear, while Golden Freddy and Shadow Freddy are appropriately creepy. All of this creepiness makes sense as it surrounds the disappearance of five children and a series of cover-ups. Mini-games made available between death screens–which will be something players become familiar with, as this game is significantly more difficult than its predecessor–give some insight as to who killed these children and why the animatronics are behaving as they are.

The Mechanics

This is where Five Nights at Freddy’s 2 makes me a little less thrilled than other installments in the series. There are ten animatronics out to kill you. Checking the hallway, the vents, the cameras, and keeping the music box wound so the Marionette doesn’t pop up and insta-kill you. Golden Freddy, The Mangle, and Foxy complicate things by being a bit erratic, and the possibility of the Exoskeleton just popping up to be creepy and distracting. It’s easy to die to the old animatronics (Foxy aside) because putting the Freddy Fazbear head on even a second late means death.

The Rookie Killer

I’ve only played Night 1 of this game, and it was spent dying a whole lot. The old animatronics never really got a chance to off me. Balloon Boy ruined my shit more than once. Paying too much attention to one area was made worse by someone popping out of the vent and killing me. And so on. Alternatively, I did get to see all of the death minigames. I think the best summary of how frustrating FNAF2 can be is Markiplier’s 10/20 Mode playthrough, which shows just how wicked this game can be.

Misadventures In Failure

Not even getting past Night 1. Good god. That’s so embarrassing.

Overall Rating – Buy This Game FIRST

Shocking, I know, but it can’t hurt to play this game before the first one. It gives more backstory to the Five Nights at Freddy’s franchise while adding its own fun (and frustration) to the series. The mix of new things being bad while old things fall apart (I won’t go into game theory stuff here as there are more posts to be had this week) is fun, but Mangle is like the older, more awful version of Foxy that I think most players are happy to never see again. There are few things as terrible as shining light on the right vent and seeing that damn thing. The jumpscare noises are significantly less painful on the ears, but the flash of time between Withered Bonnie or Withered Chica appearing and putting on the Freddy mask is always a tense moment. Those things in mind, this is still my least favorite installment in this franchise. I have tremendous respect for Scott Cawthon for creating this games in such rapid succession, but this one feels out-of-place compared to the others.