Recently, an announcement was made that cult game Five Nights At Freddy’s will have a third coming. What is this game? It is a point-and-click horror romp where you play as a night security guard at a pizza place who must survive five nights of terror by avoiding evil anthropomorphic animal automatons.
Sounds silly, right? It is fucking frightening. The game uses simple mechanics and a simple setup paired with jump scares to crank up tension and fear. Like Paranormal Activity 3 and its brilliant oscillating fan film technique, the story of the game is presented by looking left and right, monitoring your office setting for any spooky automatons. You are tasked with checking shitty security cameras to see where the automatons are because—as you might have guessed—they love to wander around at night. Also, if they see people, they attack people for not being one of them, a device that is served up as a quick, smiley camera jump accompanied by a scream of some sort.
As a lifelong, dedicated fan of both horror films and horror video games, Freddy’s sounds like a silly enterprise. It’s popcorn entertainment, mindless and intended for mass consumption. The issue is that this an assumption based on the game’s being for computers and it being set in a pizza place that includes a Rock-afire Explosion parody group. Naturally that group is your antagonists.
Still: all of this isn’t exactly scary. What is scary is the intimacy of the game, the frequent feeling of aloneness and vulnerability you are presented with. More than any other media item I’ve consumed (And I’ve consumed a lot.), this is the first one that I had to put down and go, “You know. I think I’m good.” If you play the game on your iPhone or computer with headphones, trying to figure out the first or second level, you will get fucked (likely by Foxy) and you will scream and jump and cry and feel terrible about yourself like everyone else in the world.
The closest thing comparable to this game—and why it succeeds—is a ghost from the Internet’s past. Remember this video? What about this one? This one? It uses the same wait-and-jump formula, adds in an interactive component, and the two elements coalesce into very, very fine Internet horror. Get ready to get Rickrolled by the devil.
You should watch this video to get an idea of what you are getting into.