In 2014, the first Five nights at Freddy’s came out and took the indie horror game scene by storm. FNAF quickly became a cult classic with a dedicated fanbase, developing into a massive franchise with numerous books, sequels, and spinoffs. FNAF is easily one of the most popular modern horror series, and its bizarre and cryptic world has certainly left a mark on the indie horror genre.
FNAF the success didn’t just influence its own sequels; its influence can be seen in many other indie horror games. Five nights at Freddy’s was the start of a new wave of horror games, many of which adopted popular elements and design choices from FNAF. The franchise’s influence is felt in a number of new horror games released in recent years, redefining the genre in major ways.
How FNAF Twists Childhood Symbols For Horror
One of the many reasons why FNAF is so popular that it attempts to scare gamers in a unique way. Before FNAF, most horror games focused on typical sources of fear by having players chased by ghosts, zombies, demonic abominations, or psychotic serial killers. These are terrifying things, but not surprising to find in a horror game. FNAF chose to use another type of creature to scare players.
The enemies in FNAF are animatronic animals intended to play in a pizzeria for children. Freddy Fazbear, Chica and Bonnie are the kind of characters kids would find at Disney World or Chuck E. Cheese. This makes their inclusion in a horror game all the more terrifying, as it takes locations and characters meant to bring happiness and turns them into gruesome monstrosities. This style of horror not only makes FNAF unique, but also increases the fear level for the player. What was once cute, innocent and friendly is now grotesque and mean.
Other indie horror games followed FNAF‘s lead, taking childhood toys, cartoons and playgrounds and distorting them in disturbing ways. games like Tattletail and Hello puppets! have the player chased by monstrous toys. Bendy and the Ink Machine has a malicious vintage cartoon come to life. The park takes place in a sinister amusement park that hides dark secrets. FNAF inspired horror game developers to combine childhood fun with disturbing horror.
Cryptic lore and mysteries of FNAF
Horror fans love a good mystery almost more than anything else. They enjoy delving into complicated lore to find answers to unexplained things that happen in the story; the more complicated the tradition, the better. Fans use this information to create comprehensive timelines, uncover the origin of characters, and uncover the cause of horrific events in the game.
FNAF has some of the most convoluted lore in all of gaming. Even fans of the series don’t really know when the events of the various games take place or exactly which characters died. The smallest detail or choice of words could have major implications for the franchise. There are hundreds of hours of YouTube videos where fans theorize about possible answers to the show’s biggest questions.
The tradition of video games is not something new. Many games add notes and audio tapes that give additional information or context. However, recent horror games have taken their lore to the next level. For example, Poppy’s Playtime intentionally adds lore that raises more questions than answers, hinting at a larger universe that leaves plenty of room for fan theories and potential sequels.
FNAF’s iconic monsters and enemies
The horror genre has always had iconic characters like Freddy Krueger, Micheal Meyers, and Chuckie. These characters are the face of their franchises and are the main selling point of their stories. FNAF does something very similar. Most horror games will use their protagonist as the face of their game, but FNAF uses his enemies, making them the true main characters of the story.
Indie horror games FNAF influenced have taken note of this design choice by deliberately creating memorable, marketable antagonists that appeal to players and fans alike. Their villains are the main attraction of the games and are far more compelling than the playable character. games like Bendy and the Ink Machine and hello neighbor are known for their mascots in the way that Freddy Fazbear is a recognizable symbol of the FNAF series, which clearly shows how influential the franchise has been.
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