Into Games Young Journalist in partnership withCritics' Clubteamed up professional games journalists with aspiring writers from underrepresented genders between 14 and 18. Over the course of a day, participants took part in workshops on reviews, features, various techniques and finding their unique critical voice. Their final pieces are published on the Into Games and Critics' Club websites.
When I think of games that are so unique that no one has quite managed to recreate their atmosphere and gameplay, only two games come to mind. One being Minecraft, a sandbox game that came out in 2012 and the other being Five Nights at Freddy's. Although there have been a handful of attempts to create a game in the style of Five Nights at Freddy's, none have come close to being as terrifying as the original.
The creator of Five Nights at Freddy's is Scott Cawthon, who made and released it in 2014. Cawthon created Five Nights at Freddy's because of a negative reaction to the main character in his previous game Chipper & Sons Lumber Co, which was meant to be a family-friendly game but was unintentionally terrifying.
Once released, Five Nights at Freddy's soon gained a lot of popularity online because YouTubers like Markiplier and Yamimash put up videos of the game. Due to the rapid growth of popularity, three sequels for the game were made in under a year, with the first game officially released on August 18th, 2014 and the fourth being released July 23, 2015.
So what about the game makes it so different from others, what draws in and captures the attention of people, and why is it so hard to recreate? I think that a big part of why the Five Nights at Freddy's series is so unique are the eerie similarities between events that have happened in game and the real life tragedy that happened in an American restaurant chain, Chuck E. Cheese, in 1993.
Although it hasn’t been confirmed by Cawthon himself, many fans of the series believe that this is what the game was based on. People have pointed out that the layout of certain parts of the buildings are similar to the layout of Chuck E. Cheese buildings and other features like having the animatronics be on a stage performing and serving food to families during the day are similar. With all of this information available and so many other games to play and analyse, why is it that people still can’t recreate the same terror that Five Nights at Freddy's manages to capture? It's because Five Nights at Freddy's is one of those rare games where it's impossible to recreate anything similar unless you're the original developer.
It always fascinated me as to why there are some games where no one can recreate or capture the same effect as the original. Over the years, I have come to realise that these unique kinds of games are so few and far between that I'm lucky to have had one created and be such a prominent part of my childhood. One of the reasons that Nights at Freddy's both gained (and retained) a lot of interest and popularity is the mystery behind the storyline of the series. Cawthon has placed crucial parts of the story in different styles of content, like books and other media, and this is what keeps the interest of many fans. With new pieces of the storyline still being revealed, it's always fun to theorise what the storyline for the whole game is. With Cawthon actively interacting with a few YouTuber’s such as The Game Theorist by leaving comments on videos only to delete them later on.
There was an inevitable drop in popularity after a few years, but because of the mysterious nature of the game, and the seemingly never ending sequels and spin off series that come out each year, Five Nights at Freddy's has done well in maintaining interest and is great at replacing less interested viewers with new ones.
By Luca Pocock