Games We Play: Five Nights at Freddy’s
By Brandon Fern, Web Editor
The world is starting to show its darker side as Halloween draws closer. Horror films are coming out in spades, the candy corporations have started offering the “fun-sized” candies, and stores put up Halloween decorations in mid-September and take them down by mid-October, only for a creepy robot Santa Claus that waves its hand and gargles, “Merry Christmas!” from its broken voice box to appear from the background. A small handful of horror video games are released and promoted as they add just enough tension to the fear induced month.
“Five Nights at Freddy’s” is not any ordinary video game where it usually gets panned for its cheap scares. It manages to balance the jump scares with an eerie environment and limited resources. It also brings back the most horrifying monster from your childhood: the animatronics from Chuck E. Cheese’s.
The game was created by Scott Cawthon and was released back in August of 2014 by Desura, an online distributor which focuses on independent games. Over this past summer, it was green lit by Steam, then approved and made available on Google Play and the Apple App Store.
The game is introduced in a first person perspective and you play a character named Mike Schmidt, a security guard who has just acquired a job at the Children’s Entertainment Pizzeria, Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza. You work a graveyard shift ensuring everyone remains in their “proper place” as the animatronics are given free roam of the establishment at night. You are told to make it until 6am without being caught by the animatronics; if they see you, they will assume you are an undisguised animatronic exoskeleton. Once they have caught you, they will attempt to forcefully stuff you into a Freddy Fazbear suit, which would kill you because of the wires and mechanical parts
contained inside. You are not left unarmed however, as you possess a tablet of connection to the security cameras allowing you to track the movements of murderous companions all around the Pizzeria. The only blind spots are outside two doors, each possessing a light
, which you can use to check for anyone not found on the camera. Both the tablet and lights use electricity as well, and remaining power is tracked on the bottom half of your screen. If the power runs out, you’ll be caught by the animatronics, resulting in a game over.
The game has three different modes to choose from; but you need to play through the “five nights” first in order to unlock the others. The five nights each have varying difficulties which increase as you progress, with night five being the hardest of them all. Custom Mode is a challenge mode that allows you to adjust the difficulty of each of the animatronics, and is the “last level” of the game. Completion of it earns you your pink slip for, among many reasons, messing with the animatronics. The hardest custom setting, dubbed by the online community as 4/20 mode (due to the setting of each of the animatronics difficulty to level 20), was believed to be so unbeatable by Cawthon, that he didn’t bother putting in an alternate ending for it.
The appeal of the game stems not only from the disturbing design of the animatronics and general atmosphere, but the fact that the gameplay is so repetitive, it racks up the nerves since players know what the end result of the game is if they’re not too careful. The game has attained an immense following among many YouTube and online personalities, such as “Markiplier” who labeled it as “the scariest game in years.” Many people have played the game for the entertainment of their subscribers and followers.
Overall I’d give Five Nights at Freddy’s an A+. There are very few issues with it, the only glaring one I saw was that if you are playing on a phone, and you receive a text message or an update with sound attached, parts of the game’s audio will cut out, and you need to close and reopen to regain audio.