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Freddy’s New Nightmare

Written by Erin Maxwell

Do you sleep soundly at night?

Do you not feel the need to walk up every few hours to check the closet and doors?

Do you not suffer from an irrational fear that decrepit versions of Chuck E. Cheese characters are going to unhinge their mouths, bare their fangs and devour your soul?

Congrats. You’ve managed to live your life without ever playing Five Nights At Freddy’s.

And honestly, you are living a life half lived.

Mild Spoilers Ahead

The computer horror game can owe its success by capitalizing on fears everyone can related to: dark places, creepy music and giant bunnies with rotting exteriors and mucus eyes jumping out at you and eating your face.

On Thursday, the fourth installment became available for play in a surprise early release. In this prequel, no longer are you the night guard on some sort of second-rate minimal kiddie wonderland with a cursed history and terrible electrical system.

Instead, the furry nightmares from Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza are now in the comforts of your own home, as you play the game from the point of view of a child whose playthings and familiar visitors have a taste for pint-size souls.

It appears that the central figure of the fourth installment is a very unhappy child. In fact, many of the unanswered questions and theories of previous FNAF games are given a nod in this latest installment.

While nothing is answered in a straightforward manner, the game offers offers new insight into the infamous Bite of ’87, referred to in the first Freddy game (“I-It’s amazing that the human body can live without the frontal lobe, you know?”)…

Who was the dude they arrested for the murders? Why do I hate myself
and continue playing even though I know I won’t be sleeping tonight?

(Whether or not the game answers the whole Bite of ‘87 incident is a major point of discussion. While the game ends with a sad little cut scene that may or may not be the Bite Incident, there are hints in the game that the year is 1983. There are people out there that are smarter than me discussing the very issue. Go find them.)

Remember this?

And as usual, the game is shit-your-pants scary. The combination of jump scares and the terror of being trapped in a small space with a bunch of man-eating furries is enough to keep you unsettled while you secretly play at work. Just don’t let your coworkers here you scream.

The game starts out with the usual 8-bit-esque mini-game featuring everyone’s favorite toy bear in what appears to be a child’s bedroom.

Awww. Cute right? It’s only 8-bit. There’s no harm in that. We all remember the Friday the 13th 8-bit version and that was just a bunch of colorful blocks that looked nothing like Jason.

But behold…

Not only do the eyes on the Fredbear follow you, but you are crying the entire time. Is there anything sadder on this Earth than watching an 8-bit child crying alone?

How about an 8-bit child crying in the fetal position at his birthday party?

Because you’re a tiny kid, things can creep up on you. Quickly. It doesn’t help that there is always something just outside your line of vision lurking the shadows.

Like the other installments in the franchise, during the actual gameplay you have to keep busy even though your space is limited. But this time, you can walk about rather than chained to a desk.

The game has you turn on and off the lights once again, but also turning at every step to check behind you, opening and closing closet doors, checking the hallway, using your flashlight to investigate dark corners and continuously watching the familiar top hat wearing bear that is propped up on your bed.

You Ok, Mr. Bear?

Fuck you too, bear. Fuck you too.

When I was a kid, I was terrified of the life-size Raggedy Anne dolls my mom bought for me and my sister. I used to lock them in the closet every night before I went to sleep because I was assured of the fact that at night they walked around the room and ate my hidden Halloween candy (actually, it was my parents).

This game taps into that fear. The fear that is so rational to a child, but you outgrow as an adult. Revisiting this fear is like visiting the school where you were once bullied. You might have a moment of pleasant recognition, but in the end, it’s not a great memory.

To create a game that can hone in on that distant slightly awful memory takes some skill. That is why “Freddy” is ranked as one of the top horror vidgames of all time.

See this screen? Get used to it. You’ll probably see it a lot.

It’s also safe to say, every few minutes or so, you will be looking at this:

Surviving this game is very hard. Not getting a fanged bunny or Foxy to attack you every time to turn on the light is difficult. And avoiding jump scares is almost impossible.

In addition the scares, there are also the minigames to play with your mind, which tell the sad, sad story of a lonely little boy who is left alone with no one to help him, taunted by bullies and stalked by purple adults.

Thanks to the efforts of YouTube gamers who can survive on little sleep, this exists:

The backstory uncovers a bit of childhood abuse as the soon-to-be-missing kiddo is locked in a series of rooms with sinister laughing heard in the background. He begs for help, but is ignored again and again. Left alone most of the time and on the run from ghouls, his cries for help go ignored and are mocked.

This game has set its sights on your sanity, and that is a good thing. Completely addicting and ridiculously hard, the story compels you to move forward and uncover new horrors. Be it giant fanged twisted metal foxes, older brothers or your own imagination.

Worried about your soul?

Don’t worry. Tomorrow is another day.

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