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.

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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.

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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.  Continue reading

A little bit of all-over-the-place

It has been a productive day, but I’m now at the point where my motivation is somewhere between “Eh, I guess I could do that” and “**** it, it’s my day off and it’s time to be lazy”.  Mostly because I’m a weird, semi-grumpy mood. Five Nights At Freddy’s taunts me from Steam, but I can’t bring myself to play it at the moment. (Sorry, Bonnie. You can kill me another day, you sneaky bastard.)

Mowing the lawn is admittedly not the best for keeping me ready to seize what’s left of the day, unless what I’m really seizing happens to be blankets and I’m curling up in my bed for a nap. It’s way too early to be thinking about sleep, and yet here we are. Today’s post will be a hodge-podge of whatever I want, as it’s the last real post I’m making. Tomorrow’s, as I’ve said, will be me snarking it up a little bit, and then Friday is May 1st. The first day of me being free from blogging on a daily basis. We’ll see how that works out. Anyway, on to the various things I want to post about. Continue reading

Winding down for my break that’s not a break

Yesterday was a great start to the week, and I only have tomorrow and Thursday before I take my hiatus from being tethered to the internet. (Because that’s something I complain about so often, obviously.)

As I get closer to this self-imposed hiatus from my various distractions (Facebook, Twitter, blogging, Tumblr, and so on), the more apprehensive I am about the possibility of failure. I’ve pointed out that I’m allowing Messenger and Instagram to avoid cutting myself off from the world beyond Altoona, and I will be using the internet for e-mail, searching for publications accepting submissions, and to help with writing, but I can’t help but worry I’ll manage to slip up. One month, though months seem to fly, is a rather long time when that time isn’t being flushed down the digital toilet.

It occurred to me this morning, however, that there’s no real point in worrying too much about it. Not using Facebook gives me time to focus on writing, reading, and actually enjoying my video games. (I mean, I’m spending money on them and not actually making use of them. That seems a bit counter-intuitive.) Without having to worry about coming up with a topic for each day for my blog, I’ll have more attention to devote to writing the short stories that are rattling around in my brain, the novel(s) I’ve put off for how long, and so on and so on. Strangely enough, I’m gradually discovering that worrying about everything isn’t really a viable solution. That is by no means me admitting that I’m going to up and stop worrying; I’ve got far too many energetic, highly active neuroses for that. What I am saying is that this break is exactly that: a break to wind down and focus on other things that matter.

Well, that and enjoy several amazing events throughout May. Why fret when I can finally work on getting more of my work published, more of my games conquered, unpack and clean up more of the apartment, and generally feel less high-strung?

And so it goes: surviving stress…sort of

I figured this post could use as much punctuation in its title as possible, and also I forgot about having to write a post still because I worked the closing shift at work and had all sorts of other things on my mind. None of those things are worth mentioning.

It is, however, worth mentioning that this week has kicked my ass in a way that makes me hesitate to sit down, albeit not in a literal sense. There have been plenty of problems and surprise-issues and so on and so on. I am, surprisingly, the least stressed about these things that went wrong that I have been in a long time. It’s uncharacteristic of me, but also extremely liberating. In a moment of I-wish-I-were-joking so profoundly stupid it might make at least one person’s head explode, the biggest concern on my mind is “I’d really like to get some more time to play Five Nights At Freddy’s”. This is because I’m still stuck on Night 4, and so help me God I’m going to beat that ****ing game. You’re on notice, Bonnie. No more sneaking into my goddamn office and murdering me. Subsequent thoughts are focused on wondering why places like Pizza Hut and Taco Bell don’t deliver this late at night, as I am both hungry and lazy.

These thoughts are worthy of note because I’m normally, especially during stressful weeks, prone to dwelling on shit like it’s not only my job, but my job, my favorite hobbies, and a surprisingly effective form of nourishment. I am so far removed from feeling stressed that being stressed and I presently exist in two separate dimensions.

I’m also tired, I still feel sick, and I have some more cleaning to do before tomorrow morning, so that’s enough of this post.

Finality, or how complete is complete enough?

Happy Sunday, folks. Or, as I’m looking at it: God damn it, it’s Sunday already? It is officially the first day of the week I return to work after a wonderful, fantastic, enjoyable week of vacation. I spent a good deal of said vacation in Carnegie, with a fair chunk of these past few days doing some of the most intense Spring cleaning I’ve ever forced myself through. I feel like I crammed more than one week’s worth of living into my vacation-week, which is probably the most refreshing thing ever. Seriously, I can’t even joke that I’m being insincere there, as I think I inadvertently conquered at least three parallel worlds over the past seven days. Related: I’m trying very hard to not take a nap presently, which is a battle I might lose. The only thing keeping me from snoozing for a bit is my reminder to myself that it’s almost 5p.m. already, and that there are so few precious hours between now and having to go to work tomorrow morning.

Today’s post is about video games, and I’m only a little sorry for that. During the cleaning process, unpacking some of the things that managed to stay in boxes this long, I found my copy of Theatrhythm Final Fantasy. Theatrhythm is a delightful rhythm game for the 3DS, featuring three game modes that allow players to gradually progress from a strong hatred to a rote memorization of some of their former favorite Final Fantasy music. Joking aside, it is great fun. It’s also a really effective way to lose track of several hours. Stages featuring battle music also feature enemies that you fight by doing well with the game’s mechanics. The enemies who show up seem somewhat randomized.

Seeing Kefka pop up, all tiny and goofy looking, got me back to thinking about Final Fantasy VI. It was the first Final Fantasy game I saw through to completion (don’t judge, damn it), and by completion I mean 100% completion. I had every possible character. Not only did I defeat Kefka, but I went back and fought Ultima Weapon, the eight elemental dragons, and beat Kaiser Dragon (one of the most unnecessarily difficult boss fights ever) as well as the other optional bosses. It was the Gameboy Advance version, so for all I know there are more sidequests and crap in a later iteration of this game. I thoroughly enjoyed it with a passion and enthusiasm similar to how I loathed the last few parts of Final Fantasy X (those last bosses sure were…something). Because I’ve so thoroughly defeated Final Fantasy VI, I don’t really have it in me to start again in a world where I don’t have everyone dual-wielding their most powerful possible weapons. It’s just not worth it to me.

Therein lies the real conundrum. I love the story in Final Fantasy VI, and I loved the sense of victory that came with surviving each subsequent boss battle, but the mindless level-grinding and the few moments when I lost progress thanks to a missed opportunity to Save make me not so sure about going back to a game. This isn’t exclusive to Final Fantasy titles, of course, and it’s a key reason why developers look to adding material for a New Game+ file in their creations; if there’s more to do even after a game is beaten, there’s at least a little replayability.

One nice result from this marathon of cleaning (which, admittedly, still isn’t complete) is that I found some games I still haven’t completed, so I still have plenty of distractions for the limited time I set aside for video games. This, of course, ends up being another factor; with what limited free time I do have that I’m not dedicating to writing, editing, proofreading, sleeping, work, or other things, why would I want to play a game I’ve already beaten when I can choose something new? I realize there is plenty of merit in replaying a game. The problem I seem to have is that I can’t motivate myself to go through something all over again when there are other options (which, really, says a lot about me as a person outside of video games, now that I think about it).

 

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