Five Nights At Freddy’s Will Give You AutomatonophobiaFiled inside: Reviews
Two of my favorite things growing up were video games and horror movies, so as you can imagine I’ve been through countless horror-inspired titles. Unfortunately, as I grew up, and I became more relaxed by frightening images, it became harder and harder for me to find a video game that was truly unsettling. That is, until very recently, when I came across an indie release featured on Steam’s Greenlight project page. Five Nights at Freddy’s may not sound like anything morbid or intensely creepy, but trust me when I say that this innocent name is incredibly deceiving.
The premise of the title is simple enough: you play as a brand-new security guard hire for Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria. Freddy’s is analogous to a Chucky Cheese’s, but isn’t nearly as well-funded. The place appears rather run-down, with paint peeling, and wallpaper missing. The whole layout is rather dated, and the lack of care from the staff shows in the dirty and dingy dining halls.
Amidst all the trash and disarray is the eatery’s star attraction, Freddy Fazbear and his animatronic band. Animatronics aren’t cheap, and in such a decrepit building, it would be easy for crooks to just walk off with the expensive equipment. So it seems obvious that the owners hired you on as a guard to protect the only valuable merchandise they have left. But as your first night of work prattles on, you begin to realize that you’re not there to keep crooks out, but rather, to keep something in.
The gameplay for Five Nights at Freddy’s is incredibly simplistic in design. You sit in a security office, staring ahead in a first-person view at a desk cluttered with flyers and paperwork. In your hand is a nifty monitor, and moving your view downward will automatically consume the screen with an array of full-view security camera feeds. These cameras are spaced out in a “map,” with a handy dot that showcases where you are located.
When your view isn’t focused on the cameras, you have access to two shuttered security doors and a set of lights that illuminate the hallways just outside your office. Freddy’s has enough money to compensate you for your time, but also enough crippling debt to cause a severe energy throttle. Everything you do consumes power, viewing cameras, shutting the doors, or using the lights; you’ll have to keep an eye on how much energy you consume, because if you go over your allotted wattage, you’ll be left alone in the dark, something you definitely don’t want.
Your shift begins at midnight and stretches all the way until daybreak at 6 AM. The game doesn’t have much of a build-up, it simply starts, with you in the dimly lit room. The first few hours are incredibly uneventful. You’re simply scrolling through cameras, every once in a while flipping to the main stage to see an animatronic chicken, rabbit, and bear staring silently from their perch.
It’s almost hard to understand exactly what your job entails, nothing is going on, and it’s hard to see why the company is so adamant on placing a security guard on the inside of the restaurant. But suddenly, in the wee hours of the morning, you find yourself questioning your sanity. You’ve flicked the camera once again to the stage, and to your surprise two of the animals are missing. Only Freddy remains frozen in place. But where have his friends gone?
You frantically start flipping through the cameras in the hopes of locating whatever criminal or individual is in the building. This is the moment that things start to get weird, and that uneasy feeling of dread begins to appear. While flipping through the cameras you’ll soon notice that the missing animatronics are still in the building, they’re just in different rooms. Surely these mechanical beings aren’t moving on their own?
Every time you find one on camera, their eyes are focused seemingly straight into yours, directly into each camera, as if they know they are placed there. You’re unable to move within the game, and you immediately recall the two massive blast doors that flank either side of your safety room. In that instance you will understand the psychological hell you’ve ventured into. The premise of Five Nights at Freddy’s is simply to survive the night shift as haunted, demonic, and incredibly intelligent animatronics hunt you in the darkness.