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

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All Aboard the Hype Train – FNAF Edition

Naturally, the best way to approach this horrible idea was to buy all three games.

Naturally, the best way to approach this horrible idea was to buy all three games.

Happy Easter, or happy Sunday if Easter isn’t applicable. Either way, I hope you’re all having an at least moderately enjoyable weekend. I’m distracting myself with buffalo chicken dip as I write this, so there are no complaints here.

Instead of dancing around today’s topic, let me get to the point: I finally caved and bought the Five Nights At Freddy’s (FNAF for short) trilogy (or, rather, the three games that presently exist in a series that could continue) on Steam. I’ve mentioned, at least on two occasions, that I have a strange fascination with these games and how much of a following they’ve accrued, but I’m also terribly susceptible to jump scares. Not exactly the makings of a good purchase, so I instead lived vicariously through YouTube videos of people playing FNAF. After multiple viewings of Markiplier swear-babbling his way through all three games, as well as seeing The Completionist’s videos on this trilogy, I finally decided to take a chance at being the night shift security guard at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza. Continue reading

Progress to the tune of small nervous breakdowns

Short version of an update from yesterday: I saw a cover band named Velveeta last night, indulged in a fair bit of alcohol consumption, and didn’t go to bed until an ungodly hour. Let’s not talk of this again.

My new novel-project is coming along nicely, which is good. I can’t turn that into a negative. Believe me, I’ve tried. It’s getting positive feedback so far from my beta-reader(s). There could be some level of bias there, but I also accept that these are people who I can trust because they would cautiously and kindly let me know if my writing is turning into garbage.

There may have also been mention at some point from someone–someone who happens to be me–about eventually wanting to send something to HarperCollins for publication consideration. I would have to research it, find out what all goes into such a challenge, and then make it happen. The goal wasn’t publication, but an attempt. Even a rejection would be fantastic, as it would indicate I’ve met a goal. I can also say, completely devoid of any doubts, that if I did get accepted (that if is so big that there are now billboards along major highways advertising it as a tourist attraction) I would probably have a multi-week meltdown as I processed the greatest success of my adult life. Let’s also not dwell on that.

Short version: HarperCollins does not accept any unsolicited anythings. Ever. That much I guessed even going into this, but I figured I would look into it anyway because sometimes my delusions of grandeur take on a life of their own and go crazy. This was one such time. They do, however, also have a link to a web site called Authonomy. Curiosity got the better of me, as it should in this situation, and I clicked the link. Continue reading

Jump scares are the absolute worst

Obligatory warning message: there will be a video clip that features jump scares. If anyone tries saying they were shocked, surprised, or not expecting such things from this point forward, I reserve every right to call bullshit on such claims.

It’s a month of celebrating all things that would, under most normal circumstances, leave people safely tucked away in an impenetrable, supernaturally-warded bunker until the screaming of less fortunate people stops. I enjoy horror slightly less than the next guy, unless the next guy happens to be someone who openly weeps at the slightest indication things are about to get scary; that guy and I are close to on the same level. I attempt to endure scary movies and video games, and the results don’t typically involve me retaining a whole lot of my dignity. Continue reading

A vexing night

This is going to be short, sweet, to the point, and a pretty healthy dose of “get your head out of your ass and move on already” for myself. That last bit’s kind of important, even if it’s a little selfish. It’s been a weird night of running into walls, struggling with inner demons, and other meaningful cliches for the headaches I associate with dwelling on the gap between where I’d like to be and where I presently feel I am.

Warning: There be some f-bombs a-lurkin’ in this here post.

I could easily put together a post on how many creative-types are weighed down by their own doubt, fear, self-loathing, and so much more (I came way too close to listing the various Sha there, and I’m not sorry to point that out). That’s very nearly what this would have been, but I couldn’t. It felt wrong and unpleasant. Plus it was the last thing I needed to read in the mood I’m in, and so I doubt it’s the sort of thing anyone else would want to read if they’re trying to muster up the energy to get back to work.

Here’s what I’d like this post to be instead. The instructions for myself and any other creative folks, or really anyone, who find themselves frustrated and feeling stuck.

Create. Don’t force it because it’ll only end in regret, but create as often and as passionately as possible. Build amazing, awe-inspiring worlds and populate them with characters both sympathetic and heroic as well as ones who are irredeemably loathsome. Let them move through lives that are only somewhat guided by the art you create and enjoy where things go. Don’t let the goddamn what-ifs and why-nots, the feelings of doubt and failure, all of the shit that makes creative types like myself into their own worst enemies. It accomplishes no good, and only results in nights spent after long days at work only thinking of the things you’ve not accomplished. What you haven’t done or where you think you should be. All of this instead of celebrating where you are and what you’ve accomplished.

I say this as someone who won a book contract, which should be a big deal for me as a writer. I’ve been so busy worrying about never managing to create something that big again and dwelling on how people will perceive my book being published not based on its merit but because of a contest victory.

Screw that.

There’s a reason the saying “Where there’s a will, there’s a way” has endured the test of time. My schedule may be a bit all over the place, and I may question my merit as a writer a good deal. I don’t have a five year plan or a ten year plan. Hell, I don’t even have a particularly well-assembled one year plan. While I recognize such things as long-term planning are crucial to being a successful artist, I’m pretty sure there’s more than one way to handle them.

Most importantly, and veering a little bit back from the rather self-centric post we have here, I hope any artist who finds this gets enough of a boost to keep going if that’s what they need at the time.

Going back to my post about almost being to Pumpkin Spice Season/Hot Apple Cider Season – I need to just focus on finding time to create, not worrying about the outcome. Far easier said than done, especially when every fiber of my being is saying to just go to sleep. What’s the point in busting my ass at a 9 to 5 if I’m not going to find time and energy to do what I love most (hint: I’m talking about writing).

So I end with a challenge to anyone who reads this. Create, with or without a plan, but with all of your heart and soul. Make something you think is awesome, even if upon editing you decide it’s not the best thing ever. At the end of the day, you’ve still made something new that wasn’t in the world before that point, and that’s pretty fucking rad.

A necessary bit of the heebly-jeeblies

Or “I don’t care if you think that’s not how it’s spelled, Chrome; I’m calling them the heebly-jeeblies” and “It’s open-window weather, which means it’s time to think creepy thoughts and deprive myself of sleep.” This post was brought to you in part by me posting a picture of Horrifying Houseguest (also known as Shadowlurker) on Facebook. Take a moment and Google it.

There’s a small, twisted part of my brain that is actually pretty okay with being scared. Plenty of things scare me, and I’d be willing to guess if you’re a living, breathing person, reading this post, there are plenty of things you are scared of as well. I’m not talking fear of rejection or how any college graduate is (reasonably) scared out of their minds about student loan debt. I’m talking about the things that occupy the space just in the corner of your vision, lacking clarity but still holding enough form to unsettle. The serial killers who may or may not be lurking in your basement this very moment, waiting until the lights are out so they can make their move. The creepy creatures who you might catch glimpses of just as you drift off to sleep.

You get the idea. Everyone’s afraid of something different, too, which is truly interesting. In terms of pants-wetting, high-pitched-shrieking terror, few things creep me out as effectively as distorted human faces and forms. I’ve got a rudimentary understanding of the psychology behind it; how something familiar, twisted, is a reasonable trigger for fear. It’s how horror movies manage to scare the bejeezus out of me when nasty specters with blacked out eyes and elongated mouths fly out of nowhere (jump scares are to horror as puns are to humor, as far as I’m concerned). Even though I can rationalize and dissect what about those things creeps me out, they still (almost) always manage to get my heart racing. It’s why much of what is featured in creepypasta stories (why, yes, I have read various creepypasta stories, and feel no shame in admitting it; some of them are pretty damn scary) manages to creep me out so much.

In any event, it’s been a fun night of thinking about scary stories, and the creepy things that inhabit them, and so I figured I’d write a post. Naturally, I must pose this question: what scares you? Name some of the things that really get your hair standing up on end, make your heart beat a little faster, and are cause to run to turn the lights on the moment you enter a room. Maybe sharing some of your favorite things that go bump in the night will discourage them from visiting? Or maybe it’ll just draw them a little bit closer.

Oh, and remember: it’s silly to be afraid of the dark, but perfectly reasonable to be afraid of what the darkness may conceal.