Five Nights At Freddy’s Looks Creepier Than Knotweed

By John Walker on August 21st, 2014 at 9:00 am.

I almost don’t want to know what Five Nights At Freddy’s really is. I feel like it can never live up to the bemusing insanity of its in-game trailer. A trailer that made an actual l come ol from my mouth at the end.

Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza is some sort of grotesque cut-price Chuck E Cheese, where the kids are entertained by animatronic life-size puppets of Freddy the bear and his robot friends. And, well, at night time they seem to come to life. You’re hired as an overnight security guard to… do something about it? Prepare to NOPE.

The game’s out now on Steam, for £4. And is already garnering rather a lot of YouTube attention. We’ll be having a closer look very soon. Because nothing says “play me!” like hideous animatronic bears that come alive at night.

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30 Comments »

  1. Jorum says:

    The end scare a little too obvious and cliche.
    The way the eyes were always looking at the cameras was horribly upsetting enough I felt.
    And the sound with no vision.

  2. Jorum says:

    I’m not sure if games like this aren’t instantly weakened by trailers or even the product description/banner. The fact you know what the scaryiness is before you even start.
    I mean the real horror of this scenario (if in real life) is you wouldn’t know the stuff stuff comes alive until you noticed weird shit happening and then something out of corner of your eye on a security cameras etc.

    It would be very hard to implement in game as you’d have to have an entire red-herring narrative in place, and then somehow manage to keep it secret until people actually played it, and not being able to market your game easily.

    • Jdopus says:

      I heard a few people on 4chan make good cases for how this game manages to remain effective and how the horror isn’t derived from the surprise that they come to life.

      Firstly, the biggest point in the game’s favour is that you spend the entire game sitting on a chair in front on a computer, which is exactly what you’re doing in real life meaning it’s very easy to be immersed. A pretty clever trick for a horror game which works very well here.

      There are also strong elements of resource management meaning you’re left to make decisions which place you in a vulnerable position just to conserve power,

      Finally the robots are just straight up creepy in the same way Stephen King’s “IT” made clowns creepy, something supposed to be endearing to children that’s somehow twisted.

      Very little (If any) of the game’s horror actually comes from not knowing the stuff is there, I don’t know how much it would add to the game as a whole since any effort to do a set up like that is a one time only deal – it might surprise you or spook you the first time you play it, but a game like this is designed to be played repeatedly so it’s a lot of effort to go to for a one time payoff and like you said, there’s no way to carry it off without fucking up your marketing.

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        RedViv says:

        Neither clowns nor animatronic puppets need that extra propaganda, really. Both deep in the uncanny valley for enough people.

      • Jorum says:

        Yes reading the comments below sounds like is an almost tower-defencey type thing of working out minimum resources you need to use to keep them at bay. Which sounds interesting and also clever way to be scary.

        As you say the “surprise” narrative thing is a one-shot that would last until 5 minutes after first person plays it and does a LP.
        It would probably work pants-wettingly well as a Oculus Rift “experience” type thing though. Especially as people used to wandering around places in VR for no apparent reason already.

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          Nogo says:

          The first thing you hear in game is a phone call that dumps some pretty stupid exposition about why they’re ‘alive,’ which really just makes you want to call OSHA rather than shit your pants.

          • Sarkhan Lol says:

            Apparently there’s reason to believe the guy on the phone is lying, and that the ‘life’ of the creatures, as well as their specific actions, is due to something entirely more sinister.

      • toxic avenger says:

        Not sure 4chan ever has anything substantive to say, including present examples, but then again I never take the time to actually visit the place. Is it ever worth it over there? And by worth it, I mean, having to go through the trauma of dealing with 4 channers and the garbage they post elsewhere?

        • Chuckleluck says:

          In my mind, 4chan is to reddit what MySpace is to facebook. Both terrible, and one hideously outdated.

        • Travistech says:

          4chan is a weird duck, overall. In some places it’s very tolerant and kind, informative and deeply invested in its individual cultures. /vg/ is one of the best ways to get involved in an active game or community, since as soon as the old thread pertaining to the title dies, a new one is up, with the opening post containing pastebins and usually a massive infodump. /pol/ and /b/ is where most of the virtriol comes to and from, as both boards act largely to contain the more problematic visitors. /v/ wavers up and down, with widely spread topics on everything from waifus and porn to classic series appreciation threads/games only you have played. I bonded with a perfect stranger who I met in one of those threads on the subject of Rocket Power Rescue on the PS1. In short, /vg/ is the most helpful game board, /k/(weapons) will usually tolerate threads about mil-sims and good first person shooters(also /k/ loves Stalker and New Vegas), and /v/ is an absolutely mad mixed bag. That said, the joy of using 4chan is that if you don’t want to see a thread, you can simply minimize it on the page, and it won’t pop up again unless you clear your cache and cookies.

  3. RARARA says:

    I’m not sure what the gameplay here is. So you just switch camera views and watch the bears approaching you? How do you change the outcome? Does closing the doors make any difference? How am I supposed to know what the position of each of the rooms are in relation to my room? How am I supposed to last five nights when the battery drains at a rate of 10% per minute? So many questions.

    • brickstool says:

      It might be a bit easier to watch a Let’s Play to understand how the game works.

      Here’s one by a Harshly Critical, he tends not to talk as much as others: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EsHqAG8dmSw

      • frightlever says:

        I’m guessing that watching a Lets Play is going to make playing the game kinda pointless, no?

        • brickstool says:

          Eh, each to their own. I personally never play horror games because I jump at the smallest sound in day to day life so watching an LP in this case doesn’t affect me.

          • frightlever says:

            I can see where you- BOO!

          • toxic avenger says:

            Wouldn’t what you said be evidence for being scared during a LP? I might be missing something…

    • Jdopus says:

      Closing the doors blocks the bears, so you’re watching them on the cameras so that you know when they’re outside the room. There are also a few robots that behave differently, a fox appears on the second night that will rush straight to your cubicle down a hallway if you don’t check it regularly for example.

      The power is drained quicker by closing the doors, using the cameras and using the lights in the corridor so you have to use them as little as possible. There’s a map so you know where the rooms are.

    • RARARA says:

      Now that I think of it, it’s basically WEEPING ANGELS – THE GAME.

  4. Greggh says:

    This game is the textbook case of “I rather watch people play it than play it myself”.

    The gameplay is dull as whatever, but it’s so organic and interesting to see the reactions (not just the jump scares) that the meta-game is actually entertaining.
    Maybe I just don’t really feel anything playing “horror” games…

    Also, BIG BOX OF NOPE when the animals are lit up in the corridor, just a few meters away from you, STARING AT YOU LIKE OMFG NOPE!! hahaahhaha

  5. KevinLew says:

    I’ve watched this game played to completion several times. This game is 100% jump scares. Most of the Youtube videos just have quick links to the jump scare sequences so you can be immediately “entertained,” which states quite a bit about how exciting the gameplay really is.

    My point is, I remember when games like F.E.A.R. were bashed in reviews for having nothing but cheap jump scares. But take the same cheap jump scares and add a livestreaming web camera, and your game is now an Internet sensation. I’m wondering if this is going to become the standard for all future horror games. One day, every mirror will reflect a ghost, every TV set will have a Sadako, every air vent feature a jack-in-the-box monster.

    • frightlever says:

      FEAR was great. DOOM 3 was the one with cheap jump scares. It’s about the only game that has literally made me angry. Not scared or frustrated just plain angry that another imp has jumped out of a cupboard at me. When it gets to the point that you’re surprised something HASN’T materialised behind you then the game design has failed.

    • Kitsunin says:

      With one weird half-exception, all of the game’s jumpscares are deaths. The YOU DIED screen doesn’t strike me as 100% of everything…

      Seriously though, the vast majority of the game is just tension and creepyness, and it works, imo. Even once you understand the rules and aren’t that likely to be startled by them deaths, it feels pretty tense. I played through it all, and now watching someone else play is super stressful in itself. It does mostly lose its creepyness eventually, but it is still tense, and the deaths being jumpscares ensures you stay in such a state, so you don’t get startled (I mean, if you don’t keep on top of things, they might still startle you even if you know why they happen).

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      Bradamantium says:

      I didn’t quite think so. It seems that the majority of the game is the tension and creeping dread of watching the animatronics approach, flipping through the cameras worried that they’ve crept closer as the power wears down and the end of the night creeps closer. F.E.A.R. failed miserably ’cause there was no tense lead-in, just a flash and a shriek and little else in most situations.

    • geldonyetich says:

      You are mistaken: Five Nights At Freddies is not 100% jump scares, it’s 100% suspense about jump scare avoidance. This might seem like the opposite side of the same coin, but there’s a big difference.

      Your typical, badly-executed jump scare (ala F.E.A.R.) is when you’re walking down a corridor, knowing something’s creepy and half-expecting weird things to happen. When something jumps out at you, you’re either spooked or not, but either way you’re a little annoyed because it’s clearly a scripted event and you’re just walking from beginning to the end through a virtual haunted house.

      With Five Nights At Freddy’s, you know that there’s four or five kinds of screamers coming at you, but you have the power to avoid the screamer from happening at all. That empowerment pulls you into the game. As long as you don’t want to get screamed at, your staving off the horrors with everything you have available, and this virtual endeavor becomes very real to you. There are times this game drags you on deliberately, is your grisly death about to bite your head off, or are you going to survive until the magical 6am comes upon you?

      You can let the air out of Freddy’s scares by telling yourself that you just don’t care if you get jump scared, and do nothing to avoid it. But this is just setting the wrong expectations to enjoy the game.

  6. statistx says:

    I’m not really a good scale for such stuff, cause I have a very hard time to get scared by games, but it seems to me that Horror games are getting too overhyped everytime a new one Comes around…Slender, Amnesia, New Silent Hill, Outlast and now this.
    Not saying that those games necessarily suck, but they blow way out of proportions and for the wrong reasons.

    • toxic avenger says:

      It seems to me horror games exist for the likes of Pew de Pie and others to play them on Youtube channels, and then over exaggerate their fright by screaming loudly into a microphone and swearing, and that some people find this entertaining.

  7. Polifemo says:

    I was wondering when this would show up on RPS after finding out about it yesterday and seeing how popular it is.
    Its kinda nice seeing a game that is for the “Waaaaah look at me Im scared!” Youtube audience that has solid mechanics (in the form of resource management) as oposed to just you standing there wsiting to be jumpscared. Whats more, the jump scares are antiipated as the game revolves around avoiding them.