Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Night Seventeen

So here we are at Five Nights at Freddy's 3, set thirty years after the first game and taking place at an amusement park called Fazbear's Fright.

As with the previous two games the main points are the same; you have to survive from midnight to six in the morning over the course of five nights to completed the game.  Much of the gameplay comes down to timing out when to check various cameras or take other actions to slow down the creatures (or creature in the third game) and the game is filled with eerie imagery ending with some pretty freaky jump scares if you fail on any given night.

The main villain of this game is Springtrap - a sort of rotted version of Bonnie from the first two games and although you hallucinate many other Freddy characters throughout the game, Springtrap is the only actual animatronic that can attack you.

Of the three games, this one took me by far the longest, taking me almost two weeks to complete, and although the villain was pretty terrifying and I enjoyed using one of the creepiest parts of the previous game as a weapon in this game, I did miss the valuable use of sound the previous games had to complete levels.  I was actually able to complete two nights in this game with the sound off, which would have been impossible in either of the original games.

A challenging game, but as it was so far removed from in time from the previous games, it sort of felt disconnected for me.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Night Fifteen

While I continue to work my way through Five Night's at Freddy's 3 (I just finished night 4 y'all!), I decided to read the first novel from the franchise, Five Nights at Freddy's: The Silver Eyes by series creator Scott Cawthon and novelist Kira Breed-Wrisley.

The novel follows a seventeen-year-old girl named Charlie, who returns to her hometown of Hurricane, UT, to attend a memorial for a friend who passed away during a horrific event as a child.

The novel follows Charlie and a number of her friends as they begin to deal with what occurred and find themselves revisiting the old Freddy Fazbear's pizza, which has been closed down for years since the event that cost their friend his life.

As a YA novel, the story moves along nicely, although it left me with more questions than answers - first of all, how this ties into the series, secondly, if reading the novel helps with the games or vice versa; I mean, both stories include the crazed animatronics, and there are elements from games 1 and 2 that appear in the novel, but the setting is different and although I really enjoyed the restaurant as described in the book (an abandoned, walled up establishment, waiting in the centre of a closed outlet mall), none of the games I've played to date have that as their setting, and I'm not sure any future ones will.

An interesting story, and yes, I'll be reading the sequel next week, but tangentially tied to the game series at best.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Night Fourteen

The Animatronics

Over the course of the first three games there are a number of animatronics to deal with.

First off is Freddy himself, a friendly-looking brown bear in a top hat and bowtie, who plays the toreador waltz while he approaches you for the final kill.

Next are Chica and Bonnie, a Chicken and a Bunny who are the most active in the first game and are equally upsetting in how the attack.

Finally, in both the first two games Foxy the Pirate is the most dynamic of the villains, requiring much more attention as well as being the fastest moving of the animatronics you'll have to deal with.

The second game involves puppet, mangle, and balloon boy, and currently I'm working my way through the third game which involves a pretty terrifying rabbit balled Springtrap, who you spend the majority of the game attempting to defeat.

Even though there is virtually no onscreen violence, these creatures do begin as ominous and become threatening pretty quickly.  

Okay, back to my game...

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Night Ten

After successfully spending Five Nights at Freddy's, my reward was to immediately download the second game and begin.

On the surface, Five Nights at Freddy's 2 works very similar to the first game - you play a night security guard, watching cameras and switching on lights to ensure animatronic monsters don't make their way to you and kill you.

A couple key differences with the second game.

1) You have a flashlight, as well as the ability to shine a light while looking at security cameras
2) You have a Freddy Fazbear suit that you can put on quickly, often fooling the animatronics that get too close, and
3) There are now mini-games, which to be fair took a little work (and wikipedia help) to both figure out and understand how they connect to the backstory of the game.

The game also includes a music box which requires constant winding or a terrifying puppet creature comes after you with little chance to stop it.

At this point I realize that there are enough creatures in the game I should dedicate a post to them all...

Friday, October 6, 2017

Night Six

Okay, so here's how the basic gameplay of Five Nights at Freddy's works.

You check the hallways to either side of the security office, then you scan through the security cameras.  

The problem is the animatronics move when you're not looking.  Also, you can hear footsteps, rustling, and banging going on out in the restaurant proper.

So the gameplay (which lasts about eight minutes in the PC version and four minutes in the mobile versions), has you sitting and waiting in a room you can't leave, while giant animatronic creatures move slowly (and in one case very quickly) towards you.

Even though there is no overt violence in the game; as the monsters move to bite you and then the image immediately gets cut off to static, the jump scares are quite effective, and you're really playing against your own rising tension as the clock slowly moves from midnight to 6am.

As a guy who has played through horror video games ranging from the old Nintendo Friday the 13th and the Playstation Saw videogame, I have to say it took me a pretty long time to make my way through each of the nights - you need the sound to effectively play, but it does dramatically raise the tension levels.

After about a week and a half I completed the first game, survived the week, collected my paycheck and immediately downloaded the sequel, Five Nights at Freddy's 2.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Night Three

In Scott Cawthon's Five Nights at Freddy's you play an unnamed night security guard at Freddy Fazzbear's Pizza, a theme restaurant that includes a number of animatronic creatures which seem to get up to no good between the hours of midnight and six am.  Your goal is simple - survive five nights.

The game begins inside an office, with little light, a running fan, and a door on either side of you.  You can scan left and right, and before you begin clicking randomly on buttons a phone rings and the following message plays:

Hello, hello? Uh, I wanted to record a message for you to help you get settled in on your first night. Um, I actually worked in that office before you. I'm finishing up my last week now, as a matter of fact. So, I know it can be a bit overwhelming, but I'm here to tell you there's nothing to worry about. Uh, you'll do fine. So, let's just focus on getting you through your first week. Okay?

And so begins the first of your five nights.  Unlike the majority of horror-themed games out there, you are incredibly limited in what you can do - basically your options are

1) Turn on the light to your left
2) Turn on the light to your right
3) Lock the door to your left
4) Lock the door to your right
3) Look through the security cameras

There are only two problems - first, every time you operate the lights or lock a door, your power goes down and eventually you run out, and second, the animatronics appear to be slowly but surly moving towards you...

Monday, October 2, 2017

Night One

When I was a kid there were a number of places that topped my list of perfect birthday party venue.

3) My backyard - nearby, lots of food, no chance of getting lost.

2) The Movie Theatre - going down with a few friends to see whatever the latest action/horror/comedy popular culture had to offer. A little pricier than home, but tasty snacks and a shared experience nonetheless.

1) Bullwinkles. For those not familiar with the chain, it was pretty similar to Chuck E. Cheese, wherein there was pizza, ball pits, birthday rooms and lots and lots of games. Also giant animatronic animals that would sing songs and perform.

So every summer as I start to gear up for my October Theme-month, I begin looking around the horror genre for either an old favourite to revisit or a new topic to take a deep dive into. This summer, while spending a day hanging out with my youngest daughter at West Edmonton Mall, she suggested I look into doing Five Nights At Freddy's, a horror video game series.

Having never heard of it, I asked her what it was about and she immediately took me into the nearest Hot Topic to show me the section devoted to the game.

Doing a little research on my own, I found the game, which takes place at a Bullwinkles-styled establishment, actually has four sequels, two novels and a potential upcoming movie.

So yeah - let's do it! This year I'll be spend October with Five Night's At Freddy's.