Five Nights at Freddy’s (FNAF) is an indie horror game by Scott Cawthon that became a viral hit. The game centers around the player trying to not be killed by murderous animatronics. FNAF now has four sequels, an RPG spin off called FNAF World, its own line of merchandise, and even an upcoming movie.
As a new FNAF spin off called Sister Location was recently revealed, I sighed and asked myself “Really, another one?” I then wondered if fans are ever going to get tired of the franchise. While I did like FNAF when the first games were released, I ended up having a love-hate relationship with the franchise, and here’s why.
Why I Loved FNAF
The game uniquely instills terror. Unlike most other horror games, which are based off of either fighting the enemy or escaping from them, FNAF renders the player completely helpless. There’s a sense of apprehension as you sit in a room, waiting and watching as the deadly animatronics approach. The apprehension becomes panic when you can’t find one of the animatronics. Then the panic turns to full terror when you realize that the animatronic that you were looking for was in the room with you the entire time. The game’s creepy and grungy art style also adds to the unnerving atmosphere.
The obscure story behind the game is intriguing. The game’s backstory is hinted at throughout the series. The story revolves around a murder mystery, however only bits and pieces of it is revealed through easter eggs, mini games, and cut scenes. The ambiguous story has inspired hundreds of fan theories trying to solve the game’s mysterious story.
The characters are creepy yet lovable. The animatronics are all trying to kill the player, but even so, fans of the game find the characters to be oddly endearing. My personal favorite character is Foxy, the pirate-fox animatronic, due to an interesting fan theory where he is actually a good character that tries to help the player.
Why I Hate FNAF
Jumpscares are the cheapest kind of scare. FNAF is filled with jumpscares, but the games only use jumpscares to punish the player for making mistakes. However, the third and fourth games feel very dependent on jumpscares. The third game uses jumpscares very often, and all of the animatronics in the fourth game look overly horrifying purely for jumpscares.
The game can get ridiculously hard and frustrating. It gets to a point when the game changes from scary to just frustrating because the player keeps dying. The game gets difficult because the animatronics become unrelenting dependent on RNG. There are even moments in the first game where the light and door panels just stop working, and there’s nothing the player can do to stop their impending death. In the second game, the player has to continuously keep a music box winded or else they will get attacked, which makes the game stressful. In the third game, the animatronics are constantly interfering with the controls, which also gets stressful and annoying.
It was all just a dream? The fourth game implies that all the events of the previous games were all just the nightmares of a scared child. The problem is that the “all just a dream” ending is seen as cliche and disregards the events of the previous games. But since the game’s story has yet to be revealed, it is uncertain how much truth is behind the dream theory.
The series feels milked. With all of its sequels, spin offs, and even merchandise, I felt that FNAF was just using its popularity as an excuse to make more games. There are also YouTubers that milk FNAF’s popularity, making tons of videos on anything and everything FNAF related.
Five Night’s at Freddy’s was a fun game when it started and I respect Scott Cawthon’s work, but I feel that the franchise has reached its end and it’s time to put it away.