ZThemes

Why is Five Nights at Freddy’s a good game?

Five Nights at Freddy’s is kind of an odd game. Youtube no doubt has helped with it’s noteriety as we all just love watching other people scared shitless. Even so it probably would have still spread around as one of those games you make your friends with no prior knowledge play just to laugh when they inevitable pee their pants. Even though it has this odd prank game quality to it, I’d consider it a good game none the less.

Don’t forget to celebrate with Foxy!

Now when you hear the premise, it sounds amazing. The idea of killer funtime pizzeria animatronics is a surprisingly underutilized horror idea. I’ve had experiences with the kind of place in this game, I went to Chuck-e- Cheeses, and I didn’t like being around the animatronics. It didn’t bother me until one time the Italian drummer guy was mildly broken. One of his eyes didn’t blink properly, instead it was just lazy the whole time.

So that is just prime nightmare fuel. Though for anyone who is familiar with the indie horror genre it can go two ways, amazing or jumpapalooza. The funny thing though is Five Nights at Freddy’s is a jump scare festival, but it is the only game I would say utilizes jump scares as a chief mechanic in a successful way. It is a surprisingly skillfully designed game for something so simple.

For those who don’t know, here’s the basic mechanics. You sit in a room and never move around the pizzaria. The only things you have is a monitor in which you can check only one of the various security cameras at a time, two blast doors and flickering lights to illuminate the hall right behind the doors. You have to monitor your power consumption so that you can keep the lights up and the ability to use those blast doors for your six hour security shift, because the animatronics will kill you, intentionally or not.

The brilliant design is that the animatronics do not move when you look at them, except to jump you for your death. It causes an amazing amount of tension and fear as you flick around cameras to try and find where they have wandered. It causes these lovely scares without relying on scare chords. Over time you get used to their presence, always watching you, but just because you’ve gotten used to the images doesn’t mean the tension has gone away since that power ticker is always going lower and lower.

Who wouldn’t wanna share a pizza with this gal?

But it does still use jump scares, marked by a scare chord. The way they are utilized is excellent. Indeed you get your normal, loud screechy jump scare in the game but only when you lose. Of course using a jump scare for death isn’t unusual. Many games use jump scares for deaths since it is a punishment. Naturally we don’t like that jump in adrenaline so you try your damnest to avoid it. However many jump scares in other games are utilized in a cheap manner. It pops up as an environmental scare, or there is little for you to do to prevent the scare. Five Nights at Freddy’s is not a cheap game. All the characters have their own artificial intelligence that can be learned and predicted by a savvy game player. So the death scare really is your fault, most of the time.

The second jump scare it uses in a smart way. Every time a character is standing at your door and you activate the light and find them, a scare chord goes off. However it is a lower tone than the death chord and the jump scare chord we’re most familiar with. It doesn’t cause the same jump in adrenaline that the loud, high pitched death scare does. That sound is really needed on the door scare, but not to add fear even though it does, but to make the game mechanics work well.

You’ll find at later levels when the characters become far more active that the most efficient strategy is to check Pirate’s Cove and the door lights over all else. It becomes so frenetic checking between these things and slamming the door shut when a character is there that the sound is really helpful to informing your already frizzing brain that indeed there is danger in your hall, shut the door. The mechanics are simple, but well executed for ease of play with a correct amount of fear to keep the player in dread, but the fear of death isn’t good enough in a good game right?

Personally for me, I do want a story in my game. Five Nights at Freddy’s does have more to it than “Security Guard dim-wittingly takes murderous job for 120 bucks”. There is some story, but not much. However how Five Nights at Freddy’s redeems itself is with it’s humor. Yes. I would consider Five Nights at Freddy’s a black comedy, not a horror. 

A horror story should be able to hold up to scrutiny, and feel real even when you’ve tried to assure yourself that it is ridiculous. That doesn’t mean it has to be realistic, but it has to feel at least reasonable. Even with a teeny bit of scrutiny Five Nights at Freddy’s falls apart. Too many things are beyond reasonable expectations. Why do they only have a certain amount of power, are they not on the grid? Why are the doors rigged to open when power turns off, not closed? Wouldn’t a sane person, at the very least investigate the animatronics when a security guard ends up dead with their teeth and eyes in one of the costumes? After this kept happening wouldn’t you get rid of the animatronics or replace them? Who the hell would subject themselves to this for 24 dollars a day?

Just me, my little oscillating fan and that cupcake with eyes…

Five Nights at Freddy’s is scary. Good god is it scary, but it isn’t horrific. It is however, darkly hilarious. Your office is decorated in kids drawings honoring the same characters trying to kill you. You are force to face down your killers as they demand you Celebrate! This guy calls you every night with tips but also with such a dry delivery of company policy. He doesn’t even bat an eye as he informs you that deep cleaning the carpets is policy before your murder is even reported. And finally, while power is so critical, that tenuous life thread that keeps the creeps at bay, you still feel the need to keep that little fan blowing away. Your office is a bit on the uncomfortably warm side after all.

This is a well crafted game for an indie venture. It knows what it wants to be, a scary romp in many of our childhood discomforts. The mechanics are well executed and generally fair. The art assets are well crafted and the writing, as little as there is, is brilliant. The game is fantastically scary and wonderfully funny without being overtly humorous when you’re mid game, with wet pants.

khaarmiclegacy:

Speed Paint- About 2 Hours
I just wanted to draw Razhe sleeping since I wanted to experiment with what he looks like missing the arm and leg on the same side. Might expand this to a little comic idea. Also tattoos.
(Just remembered writing this that Razhe is only missing the hand, not his arm. Went two hours without remembering. I am teh smurt.)

Little speed paint I did to break in the new tablet pen since I broke my old one and was tablet penless for a few days. I am not used to finishing something from start to finish in two hours. Bit of a record. (If I’d tried to make a background I’d likely still be laboring over this. Backgrounds and I are eternal rivals)

khaarmiclegacy:

Speed Paint- About 2 Hours

I just wanted to draw Razhe sleeping since I wanted to experiment with what he looks like missing the arm and leg on the same side. Might expand this to a little comic idea. Also tattoos.

(Just remembered writing this that Razhe is only missing the hand, not his arm. Went two hours without remembering. I am teh smurt.)

Little speed paint I did to break in the new tablet pen since I broke my old one and was tablet penless for a few days. I am not used to finishing something from start to finish in two hours. Bit of a record. (If I’d tried to make a background I’d likely still be laboring over this. Backgrounds and I are eternal rivals)

So I finished Legend of Korra: Book 3

  • Zaheer only being able to fly when P’Li died was a great way to tie this ability to the Airbender teachings. It made her death all the more impacting and does explain why Aang was never able to learn the ability since he was always attached to Katara.

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  • Bolin learning Lavabending was no surprise since it was well telegraphed since he wasn’t able to Metalbend. Still, anything that makes Bolin better is not a bad thing since Bolin deserves all the love.
  • Korra and Tonraq’s relationship is a fantastic addition to the series and it really shows in the finale. One of Korra’s great character traits is her love for friends and family. Seeing her and her father fight side by side was a wonderful moment, and haveing them fight in tandem was pure awesome.
  • Korra and Zaheer’s battle calling on Aang and Ozai’s battle was a nice touch, but the battle is gripping on it’s own even without the aid of nostalgia. The more arial portions of the battle were made fantastic by wide, looping camera work.
  • The contrast between Zaheer’s views on everyone fighting for themselves and Jinora’s view of working together for a greater result was a beautiful way to conclude Korra and Zaheer’s battle. Again, Korra’s devotion to friends and family also plays in this well as her devotion is rewarded with Jinora and the rest of the Airbenders doing everything to help Korra.
  • Jinora getting her airbender tattoos! I have never been more proud of a fictional character in my life. True story, I saw screenshots of the scene before watching the finale and I kept waiting for a flashback with Aang to happen. She looks just like him.
  • Welp, I can’t really have any hope for Bolin and Korra anymore. It just isn’t logically gonna happen and probably shouldn’t by a character standpoint. Korra and Asami make the most sense as a steady couple. Korra and Mako were too hotheaded with each other, and Bolin is a bit too silly to keep up with the seriousness of Avatar stuff. Asami has a good head on her shoulders, is bold enough to stand up to Korra’s bullheadedness and has kindness that helps cut through the horrors of being the Avatar. So, if you’re gonna give Korra any kind of relationship, Nickelodeon, go for Asami.
  • If Nick doesn’t want girls kissing, you don’t have to do that. It is possible to form a strong emotional relationship with someone without the romantic and still have it be powerful.
  • It’s a thing that happens.
  • Really, it is.

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I really hope they handle Korra being disabled temporarily or no with the magnitude a subject like that deserves. Avatar already did a good job with the topic of disability since it didn’t shy away from the fact that Toph was blind, but didn’t treat it as a non-issue either.

Are Mary Sue always bad characters?

Short Answer- Yes. 

Long Answer- Not really.

How can something be always bad, but then again not really? My thinking is if you’re looking for the short answer then the likelihood of you being able to balance powerful characters is low. If you’re willing to stick around for the long haul however, chances are you’ve got the patience and creative gusto to make any character well rounded. Patience is really the prime attribute needed for well rounded characters. There is one specific character of mine who I flatly refused to give up on even though she came to be in the prime of my teenage self importance, and her earliest versions show that. Boy are they the embarrassing show of my teenage years, but she is still important to me so I took the years needed to change her from a terrible visage of teenage angst, to a character. It will take an incredible amount of time and constant breaking and restructuring.

So what is a Mary Sue/Gary Stu character and how can one be good? In the very most basic terms, a Mary Sue/Gary Stu is a character who has endless positive aspects, and any negative aspects are put in a positive light. Often they just have what is needed to overcome what happened, or suddenly some negative aspect is positive in a certain scenario. The reason they’re so hated is no one is interested in a character who is never in danger, or struggles. While an abundance of powers and the sort can easily swing a character into the Mary Sue standard, it is actually the personality that cement any character either direction.

I have a lot of powerful characters, after all half my characters are one step below Gods. I have always and will always have this fear of them being boring because of it, but over the years I have come to accept that a character does not have to be a balance of strengths and weaknesses to still be good. Superman is a good example of this, though to be honest I still don’t like Superman. Superman has tons of positive abilities; flight, strength, sight, laser beams, good guy, that hair curl… and is weak to only Kryptonite, a rare mineral that SOMEHOW everyone can still find. By all accounts he should be a terrible character, but it is his personality that keeps him a loved character all these years.

So personality is kinda vague… how should one go about building a personality. Well I’ve figured out three good stepping stones to a good personality; fears, skills, and quirks. Why not strengths and weaknesses? I find weaknesses to be a bit of a dull driving motivation where fear is more primal. It is something instinctual, it’s hard to overcome. Weaknesses on the other hand could just be something that doesn’t come natural to the character, like poor eyesight or low physical strength. Same with strengths, it’s just kinda vague. Skills on the other hand mean what a character has strived to excel at. Something they pumped time into to become great. Quirks is the last one and be careful with this one because it can easily be overdone, but it’s just little things about the character that make them unique. It doesn’t have to be anything big. It could be as simple as someone flipping their hair when nervous, or saying “Nothing.” Any time they laugh without public reason. Maybe they’re really dynamic when they talk and change inflection on exciting sentences. Maybe they don’t like peas. Quirks are not something that may come to light overtly in any media the character is in, but it helps you understand who they are and why they do that. If you start thinking that maybe your character laughs often without reason, then you start thinking why? Is the character nervous? Are they jovial? Do they have to make sure a joke works in their head before saying it? Do they think funny things but are too nervous to say it? How do other characters react to this? Well rounded characters start off small, and over time they get larger. They’re kinda like a katamari of interactions.

Okay, so what does this have to do with Mary Sues? Sounds like just good solid character advise. Well yes, that is what I’m doing but my point is any character, even bad ones, has the basework to be good. Powerful characters, weak characters, plain jane characters, all have equal basework to be good, the little katamari ball if you will, they just need to collect character interactions. These interactions need to stick, not bounce off and to keep with my metaphor, these interactions collect to the katamari not the character themselves. These interactions don’t always have to do with the character themselves, but it is something the character collects. It could be something they heard that made them think or scared. Maybe it was friends getting into a fight or maybe the character is crushing on someone who doesn’t feel the same way. These interactions all effect the character and should change them. Positively or negatively all interactions should effect a character in some manner and as this Katamari of Interactions grows, the character should be less about themselves, and more about the glorious planet of experiences they collected. 

So if you’re worried your character might be a Mary Sue, calm down, you don’t have to trash them. Just take a step away from the character and work on development. Write a passage about something important in their life. Make up little everyday interactions between the character and their friends. Find people to role play with and see what kind of response you get from other people’s characters. You’ll make mistakes. You’ll write things you look at years from now and cringe. You may decide the character is unsalvageable, but just remember experience and growth are just as much a foundation for you as they are for making a good character, even out of a bad one.

(BTW I love helping people with characters so always feel free to send me a note if you want help.)

immortalaffairs:

Immortal Affairs- Page 04

Amos the Bartender just worked so well during posing. Quite happy with the acting in this one.

I saw your FR shop, Prancin' Dragons Animations, and I was totally going to ask if I could get one..or several dragons done and saw you were closed and it made me sad. :) Gorgeous art though *nod nod* even if I got there to late.
+ thedarkelementalist

Thank you so much, it really lifted my spirits to have you take the time to reach out and tell me you like my art. I do still over Prancin’ Dragons as commissions.

I was working on my comic and this particular angle ended up looking really nice so I decided to do something with it since it isn’t used in the actual comic.

I was working on my comic and this particular angle ended up looking really nice so I decided to do something with it since it isn’t used in the actual comic.

Vampires: Anatomy

immortalaffairs:

Kept on blanking on what to right for World Lore Wednesday that would be relevant to the comic. Not sure why it took me forever to realize my take on Vampires is kinda relevant for a comic with a Vampire Slayer. Sheesh.

The majority of Vampires appear human to the casual eye, often to the point…

I was trying out a new painting technique. Not bad but I love lineart too much to drop it. I just don’t enjoy painting lineless.

I was trying out a new painting technique. Not bad but I love lineart too much to drop it. I just don’t enjoy painting lineless.

Resetti terrorized me as a child…Now that I am mayor,Nothing has changed.

Resetti terrorized me as a child…
Now that I am mayor,
Nothing has changed.