The Nation's Oldest Continuously Published Student Newspaper

The Simpsonian

The Nation's Oldest Continuously Published Student Newspaper

The Simpsonian

The Nation's Oldest Continuously Published Student Newspaper

The Simpsonian

Letter to the Editor: In response to inaccessibility on campus
Letter to the Editor: In response to inaccessibility on campus
by Advocacy, Community, Education and Support (ACES), Special to The Simpsonian • March 1, 2024

Dear Editor, We write in response to an article published February 14, 2024, in The Simpsonian titled, “No disabled students need apply:...

Retraction and update: After Midnight review
Retraction and update: "After Midnight" review
by Maggie Fitzpatrick, Staff Reporter • February 28, 2024

In my previous review of the late-night show "After Midnight", I stated that comedian Matt Walsh, who was a guest on the show, is “a prominent...

SCTV 2/28/24
by Aaron Wilkins and Sam HyingFebruary 28, 2024

Limitations and lore: A FNAF retrospective

Limitations+and+lore%3A+A+FNAF+retrospective

Hello? Hello, hello? Oh Hi!

With eight main series games, around a dozen books and a movie on the way, the spirit of Five Nights at Freddy’s (FNAF) is broken. But I will put it back together, or at least I’ll try.

FNAF is going to be in history books. That’s a startling realization for people like me, who remember its origins.

It began as a simple indie game, a last-ditch effort by developer Scott Cawthon who resolved that if it flopped, he would retire from game development.

But it didn’t flop.

The original Five Nights at Freddy’s game achieved more in barely three hours than most horror games can in 20. Not only establishing one of the greatest legacies in gaming but terrifying a generation.

Cawthon realized the power of limitations. By limiting the game mechanics, sound design and player options, he created an environment that felt suffocating.

Being locked in a room for an entire night with murderous animatronics coming from all sides, that you can barely hear or understand. It’s no wonder the experience stuck in the collective minds of fans.

FNAF kept the same formula for two years and three more games, until “Sister Location” introduced the first major rework to the franchise.

“Sister Location” introduced several new mechanics and was, in many ways, a different kind of game, but Cawthon still kept the same stifling atmosphere. 

The player is still trapped with entities that want to kill them and has incredibly limited tools to survive.

Weird to want to play a game like that, in a series like this. Willingly. But people did.

The final installment of the original hexalogy, “Pizzeria Simulator,” was a game within a game. It was very high-concept, and was executed well. 

 It was more focused on lore, with even fewer mechanics than previous ones. While it’s not my favorite, gameplay-wise, the lore reveals are incredibly well done, and there are some genuine laughs.

And then, “Help Wanted” came out. This wasn’t a bad game at all, but after “Pizzeria Simulator,” it felt like the story was over. I wouldn’t say that “Help Wanted” is an unworthy follow-up, but I don’t think it captured the same magic.

And most recently, there was “Security Breach.” This game was not impressive. 

There’s probably an entirely separate essay I could write about why “Security Breach” and its DLC didn’t live up to the legacy of FNAF. In my opinion, the major failure was the limitations.

“Security Breach” had graphics, sound and gameplay that were entirely too expansive, and it felt too much like a “Resident Evil” game. It lost the stifling atmosphere that made the original games so impactful.

Some people don’t think it’s fair to place these critiques on the newer games. They say that I need to give up the games. They don’t belong to me. 

While that’s true, I just want the series to reclaim the original magic and get out of the slump that it’s clearly been in since “Pizzeria Simulator.” I think re-embracing limitations can do that.

For all the shortcomings of modern FNAF games, it’s still a cultural powerhouse, and that’s because of what might be the most amazing part of the whole franchise: THE LORE!!!

If you read that in MatPat’s voice, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Game Theory and the FNAF subreddit have spent literal hours weaving together the threads. The pieces were all in place. We just had to find them.

In the process of finding them, FNAF evolved from an impressive horror series to a genuine cultural touchstone that defined an entire era of video games.

For as much as we lament some of the more derivative and jaded mascot horror games, like “Garten of BanBan,” it’s still remarkable how many games can trace their lineage directly back to FNAF.

There’s not enough space in this review to express how much FNAF means to me and so many others. Unfortunately, if we spend all of our time trying to read into everything anyone says, we’ll just drive ourselves crazy.

Instead, let’s take all five of the main themes, and put them in one box. FNAF is a series that thrives on limitations, the fanbase has made it what it is, it’s going to be in history books, and I deeply love the FNAF series.

As we look to the future – especially the FNAF movie – my hope is that by returning to what made the original games so special (limitations), we can all rejoice in a second golden age of FNAF.

But hey, that’s just a theory. A Five Nights at Freddy’s theory. 

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Ryan Magalhaes, Feature Editor

Comments (0)

All The Simpsonian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest