I think the most important thing about playing games is that you experience them with your friends. And one day my best friends and I decided to do just that. The cult indie game "Five Nights at Freddy's" had just come out and was taking YouTube by storm. In the game, you played a security officer, forced to guard a Chuck E. Cheese type restaurant filled with animatronics trying to kill you. You had to survive five nights from twelve to six in the morning and it was anything but easy. To say the least it's stressful and terrifying and when you're best friends are beside you, screaming and telling you to turn around, nothing gets your heart pumping faster. Another aspect was the fact that you only had so much power to turn on lights and shut your automatic doors, the only things that are there to protect you. Thousands of people were playing this game and recording their reactions because it was just that scary and seeing them react was just that much funnier.
It was a day at the end of the summer, right before we would all be going to our first semester of college. We had all planned out the day to just hang out together, watching movies and playing games. But of course, one of those video games had to include the biggest game of the summer, "Five Nights at Freddy's." It was only five dollars and I had recently been given my first debit card so I was quick to start swiping it.
The whole thing had to be to the nines though. The three of us went into my basement because we didn't want to disturb my parents with screams we knew we'd be uttering. I set up my laptop to the TV through an HDMI cable and got the full experience of the surround sound. We took turns on the laptop, trying our best to get through night after night of the game.
Here's how a stereotypical round went:
I would take over control of the mouse and we'd begin listening to the voicemail left by the previous night guard. Then, we'd be told to watch the camera. At first, the animatronics stayed in one room, looking vaguely normal if not creepy.
"Taylor, check the doors." Faythann would excitedly yell at me, her nerves getting the better of her.
And then I would and suddenly a terrifying bunny would be staring at me with the scariest music blasting through the surround sound, encapsulating us in terror.
"SHUT IT. SHUT THE DOOR." Sam would scream as Faythann pounded on my arm.
And then if I wasn't fast enough, that was it. The end.
The lights on the screen would go out and we'd be facing a black screen. Then your forced to wait a random amount time, tension building as you wait for what happens next. There's this slow children's music that begins playing. I was hiding my face in my sweatshirt, Faythann was basically under a blanket and Sam was hiding his face in his hands. I think for a moment the three of us believed that maybe, just maybe, nothing would pop out at us and we'd all slowly look back up to the screen.
We were wrong every time.
I think that this is one of my favorite moments with my friends even though we were constantly screaming and terrified. There's something about playing horror games that I feel like really gets you to remember hanging out with your best friends. We were all yelling and talking and laughing as soon as the jump scare hit us and we were finished screaming. To this day, when someone says "Five Nights at Freddy's" we all kind of side-eye each other and instantly recall that day. I think that what makes playing games with friends so magical. Not just board game but digital games, they help you create these memories that you look back at so fondly.