Night One – Five Nights At Freddy’s: Horror Game Success in Simplicity

There are times when I just really need to go fanboy crazy over something. Age of Ultron was a pretty good example of this. So is the Five Nights at Freddy’s franchise.

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I’ve made a terrible mistake.

That’s why I’m devoting a week of posts to Five Nights at Freddy’s. One for each night you have to survive, culminating with the dreaded sixth night and 20/20/20/20 Mode for those of you who are brave enough.

Five Nights at Freddy’s – The Original 

Touted as one of YouTube’s favorite jumpscare-based horror games, Five Nights At Freddy’s is the start of something special. A horror game that allows players to flee with one press of the Escape key clearly knew what it was doing and who it was catering to from day one. It’s five nights of surviving four animatronics and one sneaky Golden Freddy, followed by one extra night and an adjustable AI difficulty. 20/20/20/20 Mode is a strong representation of the relentless difficulty video games used to have, and should have for people seeking a real challenge. Hell, Scott Cawthon even added an extra star for people who beat the original 20/20/20/20 mode because he didn’t think it was possible. 

The Plot 

The plot for FNAF – The Original is pretty barebones. Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza needs a security guard to cover the night shift. You play the role of Mike Schmidt, the most recent employee to tackle this job. Each night is spent watching the security cameras and ensuring none of the animatronics get into the office. The shift is 12a.m. to 6a.m., and should any of the animatronics see you during that time they assume you’re an exoskeleton out of its suit and stuff you into an empty Freddy Fazbear suit (which is quite lethal). After the first five nights, there is a chance to earn some overtime by working a sixth night. 20/20/20/20 mode serves as a 7th night, which ends with Mike Schmidt’s termination for allegedly tampering with the animatronics, professionalism, and smell.

The Gameplay Mechanics

Night 1 is pretty tame as far as tutorials go. There are two doors that can be opened and shut. Each door is equipped with a door light that will provide players with a view of the only camera blindspots in the building (other than the kitchen and the restrooms). The camera displays provide a chance to see where each of the animatronics are in the building, but they also go blank when the animatronics are on the move; this is particularly dangerous if one of them has moved into what’s commonly called the kill position outside of one of the doors. Bonnie and Foxy always appear on the left, while Freddy and Chica favor the right door. Golden Freddy, the oddball glitch that is now known as Fredbear, goes from poster form to instantly appearing in the office. The only exception to these situations is when the power runs out, at which point Freddy’s face will appear in the left doorway and he will play a variable length music box version of Toreador’s March. Each night increases the difficulty of the AI, how active they are, and how fast the power runs down. Nights three through seven involve Freddy becoming increasingly active, which is particularly horrible since Freddy basically just sneaks into the office and kills the player.

Damn it, Foxy!

Damn it, Foxy!

The Rookie Killer

Newcomers to this game will learn quickly that the power runs out so very fast. Nights One and Two are easy enough, but from Night Three onward it isn’t terribly uncommon to find yourself staring down Freddy at 5a.m. and hoping for the best. Adjusting to Freddy is also a bit of a nightmare, as Freddy tends to move into his kill position (the camera directly outside the right door) very quickly. Once inside the office, his laughter is a strong indication of how absolutely screwed the player is for that particular attempt. Awful stuff. Foxy, on the other hand, is easy enough so long as you monitor him semi-regularly. By comparison, following Freddy is a huge pain in the ass. That said, it is possible to prevent Freddy from moving at all by keeping an eye on the Staging Area camera. If executed well enough, Freddy will remain stationary through Night 5. After that, however, all bets are off.

Misadventures in Failure

The furthest I have made it in Five Nights at Freddy’s is Night 4. My game save endeavored to shit itself, so I have played to Night 4 on multiple occasions. However, that said, I am ashamed to say that Freddy consistently manages to kill me…except when I’m trying to frighten other people with the jumpscares, at which point Chica invariably ruins my day.

Failure.

Failure.

Overall Rating – Buy this Game

Five Nights at Freddy’s is a triumph in simplicity. The mechanics are easy enough to learn, but difficult to master. The horror in this game starts off as anticipating bad things happening and builds to the frustration of not getting the timing perfect. The animatronics are frightening because they draw from the childhood fears most everyone have buried deep down in their subconscious minds. Scott Cawthon started something special with this game, and the sequels only got better with each installment. The price point is reasonable, this game has hours of gameplay, and there are plenty of new iterations to keep you busy and having nightmares for years.

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