Five Nights At Freddy’s is the horror indie PC series that became a sensation through social media. With 4 games in the main series, this single-player point-and-click survival game revolves around the setting of a Chuck-E-Cheese type establishment that, due to circumstances revealed throughout the series, became haunted. The series became immensely popular due to the tension and the jumps-scares that the atmosphere and mechanics of the game provide. More specifically though, its the frightened reactions of people playing this game that made it a hit. Let’s Players and Streamers were getting views by the boatload when playing this game because people loved to watch other people freak out over the scares in the game. By watching others play Five Nights at Freddy’s you get to enjoy the tense atmosphere and over-the-top reactions, while also maintaining a bit of a distance from the game and being less frightened as a result. The series dominated Let’s Play channels in late 2014 and early 2015, and sold well on Steam and other PC game distribution platforms.
In the first few games you play as the night manager of Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza restaurant. An audio training program for the position explains that at night, all of the animatronic characters (Freddy Fazbear, Foxy, Bonnie and Chica) of the restaurant come to life and walk the establishment. Oh yeah, and they have this nasty urge to stuff any human they find into the gear filled suits, resulting in some gruesome results.
Gameplay & Mechanics
Here is something you don’t hear very often: This horror game’s main gameplay mechanic is resource management. The goal of the game is to survive a certain number of nights, but with limited electricity to keep the security doors closed and cameras functional it becomes a tough task. To make sure you clock out each shift with a fully intact body, you need to keep the doors to your office closed when the any of the animatronic characters wander to your doorstep. You can keep tabs on the murderous fuzzy characters with security cameras (at the cost of electricity) as they roam the the hallways, dining rooms, and stage areas. If the doors are open for long enough while one of the murder-bots are in an adjacent room to your security office, they’ll be glad to terrify you by popping up taking up the full view of the screen making horribly loud noises and jerking around violently. This moment is the payoff you dread, and what makes the game to tense, it will make you jump every time.
The only controls to the game is clicking from camera to camera and clicking the close door button. These limited controls help add to the tense atmosphere as you feel paralyzed when you can’t find Freddy or Chica on the cameras and are low on electricity with a few hours to go in your shift, wondering if you should keep the doors open for just a few more moments.
For as simple as this game is mechanically and presentation wise, the tension and jump scares is creates are impressive. The way fear builds up as the night goes on, and the uncertainty of just when a jump scare will happen, make this game very exciting to play. It’s also what makes the game fun to watch others play if you aren’t a scary-movie type person, but love watching people jump out of their seats and scream in fear.