Anyone who willingly takes on the job of security guard at Freddy Fazbear's Pizza is either insane, desperate, or has probably never held a job before.
In the massively popular game series Five Nights at Freddy's, the main character is a security guard who works the graveyard shift at a Freddy Fazbear's Pizza location. During the day, the pizzeria is full of happy children attending birthday parties and interacting with their favorite animatronic characters. After hours, it is a terrifying place where unexplained phenomena frequently occurs — namely, the animatronic suits come alive and attack people.
In every game (excluding the fourth one), some variation of the security guard role is the playable main character who has to face the haunted animatronics. It is undeniable that this job is ridiculous, and that the people who run the store are completely aware of the danger and bad conditions.
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The game developers use satire to make a statement about how businesses can be poorly operated, and the way the employers commonly treat their employees like garbage. The satire was obvious in the first game, but with each new release, it's become stronger and more apparent. The latest release, Five Nights At Freddy's: Sister Location, takes the satire to a whole new level, blatantly telling us that the security guard is worth nothing to the company.
Five Night's At Freddy's
In the very first game, the Freddy Fazbear's Pizza security guard is supposed to be watching the facility overnight, which seems simple enough. But what the employers fail to acknowledge is how dangerous the task can be. Firstly, there are possessed animatronics trying to murder you. Secondly, the job has the absolute worst possible defense against this situation. After a short period of time, the electricity cuts out and the automatic doors — the only thing protecting the security guard from crazy animatronics — cease working. It leaves the guard completely vulnerable to attack. Is the company aware of this problem? Yes. Does it do anything about it? Nope.
However, the most obvious satire is when it the story is completed. After beating the game, an image of your paycheck flashes on the screen. $120. Your reward for surviving a week of constant life-threatening situations is $120, or roughly $24 a day. Later, you get paid for some overtime, and how much does it come to? $0.50. This exaggeration is a clear dig at how companies pay their workers absurdly low wages for completing the most grueling tasks.
Five Nights At Freddy's 2
In the second game, the satire becomes a little more blatant. The job is pretty much the same: Guard the place at night while trying to avoid being killed by animatronics. However, the conditions are considerably worse. Now there aren't just four animatronics, there are eight — the original models and new alternative ones. On top of this, there is Balloon Boy and the Marionette, totaling 10 creatures altogether.
In the first game there were security doors. Granted, they stopped working at times, but they did offer some protection. For #fivenightsatfreddys2, there are no doors, just a long, open hallway that the animatronics can easily waltz down. Then there are also the vents to worry about, which Balloon Boy and the other animatronics can shimmy through. Then, there is the music box that needs to be wound up to keep the Marionette at bay. The security guard has so many things to worry about all at once, so many possible ways to be murdered.
Does the company do anything to ensure that they won't attack? No. Actually, that isn't entirely true. It does give you something, but it is the utterly most ridiculous, satirical thing possible: a Freddy mask. There are horrifying, disfigured, bloodthirsty creatures coming for you, and that is all you're given. Not a stun gun, not a taser, nothing practical. A mask. All you can do is put it on and hope that the nightmare walks away.
The man on the phone says the reason for the mask is because the animatronics have facial recognition software, and they will not attack you if they believe you are another animatronic. However, this has to be false. At the end, it's revealed that the second game takes place in 1987, when facial recognition software probably would not have been available. Plus, the older models are from an even earlier date and are completely dilapidated. Even if they had the software, it is most likely nonfunctional. In other words, there is no such technology in place and the company knows that.
Just like in the first game, when you complete Five Nights At Freddy's 2, you are given a check for $100. Even by '80s standards, this is ridiculously low pay. Is the low pay a coincidence? No, it's satire.
Five Nights At Freddy's 3
The third game is a little different. Instead of taking place at a Freddy Fazbear's Pizza location, it's set in the future. Someone decided to gather up old Freddy Fazbear merchandise and place it in a haunted house as a horror attraction. At this point in the series, Fazbear Entertainment has been shuttered for a long time and is considered ancient.
At first, we don't hear the usual man's voice (known as Phone Guy) on the phone. We hear the voice of whoever is running the haunted attraction and right away we notice his surfer-dude accent. He sounds like he has no idea what he is doing. He explains some things to the security guard and adds that there may be some faulty wiring and a fire breaking out is a legitimate concern. There is also a ventilation problem. In other words, air is not circulating through the building correctly and the security guard could not receive enough oxygen, which can cause hallucinations or even death.
This employer is not a part of Fazbear Entertainment, so maybe he will actually do something about these threats to his employee's safety, right? Wrong. He passes them off as no big deal and leaves them to the security guard to take care of.
After a while, the man in charge of the haunted house stops calling altogether. Instead, audio tapes from the original Freddy Fazbear's Pizza are played. In these tapes, the original Phone Guy from the first two games is explaining procedures to #freddyfazbear employees who work with the animatronics. According to the audio, the animatronics did not just function as robots. They could also be worn as costumes, and employees could wear them to entertain children. However, there was a problem with these suits. If you weren't careful, the spring locks holding back the animatronic components could loosen, and all of its parts would reactivate, fatally piercing whoever was inside the suit.
My guess is that, instead of making plush regular costumes, the bosses wanted to save money and use the hybrid suits. Will companies in real life use such an insane tactic? Probably not, but they will always cut corners to save money, even if it involves putting the little guys at risk. This is yet again another piece of satire exaggerating company actions and tactics.
But it gets worse. In the training tapes, Phone Guy explains the potential risk of using the suits in an extremely nonchalant manner, as if getting maimed or killed isn't a big deal. However, the most blatantly satirical moment is when the man on the phone says:
"In case a spring lock comes loose while you are wearing a suit, please try to maneuver away from populated areas before bleeding out as to not ruin the customer experience."
Really? They care more about customer experience than preventing employee death? There are other satirical comments from Phone Guy, such as telling the employees not to mention the suits to insurance companies. But that quote above sums up all the satire and irony within the game, and shows us that Fazbear Entertainment is a terrible company that doesn't care about its workers. Eventually, the man on the phone says they are discontinuing use of the suits because they are not safe. But it took multiple deaths for this decision to be made.
Five Nights At Freddy's: Sister Location
In the latest game, the satire is even less subtle. From the very beginning, the company's mockery of the employee is indisputable. Although the exact era is not revealed, the sister location is much more technologically advanced. There are also some new animatronics, such as Baby and #Ballora.
The satire begins immediately as the game opens up. The main character has just started their new job at this location and is descending down a questionable elevator. An electronic voice welcomes him. This voice is the robotic system known as Hand Unit. The new employee isn't even greeted by a human. The voice does not sugarcoat anything. He says:
"Whether you were approached at a career fair, read our ad in Screws, Bolts, and Hairpins, or if this is a result of a dare, we welcome you..."
The result of a dare? Right away, they are acknowledging the fact that this company and job are dangerous. After some more explanations, Hand Unit says:
"Your new career offers challenge, intrigue, and endless janitorial opportunities."
He isn't pulling any punches. Next, Hand Unit tells the main character to type their name into a computer. The computer screen doesn't even work and glitches out while they are trying to type their name. Hand Unit says,:
"It seems you had some trouble with the keypad. I see what you were trying to type, and I will auto-correct it for you. One moment. Welcome, Eggs Benedict."
Eggs Benedict. This may get a chuckle out of some players, but it has a deeper meaning. The company is making a joke of the employee. They don't even care to write down his name properly and on top of that, the name is completely ridiculous. And I doubt that faulty computer and keyboard will ever be fixed.
This malfunctioning keypad shows up several times throughout the course of the game, and every time it is used, Hand Unit does something to troll the main character. For example, during Night 2, Hand Unit decides to change his voice mode to "Angsty Teen" and narrates the employee's instructions using the voice of an apathetic teenage boy. It's obvious he is messing with you.
At the start of every shift (except Night 4), Hand Unit also says something snarky and sarcastic, poking fun at the employee. One example is when he says:
"Welcome back to another pivotal night of your thriving new career, where you get to really ask yourself, 'What I am doing with my life? What would my friends say?' and most importantly, 'Will I ever see my family again?'"
But back to that first night. When the elevator door opens, yellow danger tape is revealed above a small crevice. You are a new employee and they expect you to get on your hands and knees and crawl through this tiny space? When you go through this space, you come to a small room that looks into the animatronics' performance area. At first, Ballora and Foxy are not on their stages and Hand Unit tells the main character to administer a static shock to the robots. This could obviously piss off the animatronics. I believe that the employers did this so that when the animatronics attack (which Hand Unit hints that they do), they can place the blame on the employees and won't be considered liable.
Hand Unit also purposely puts you in dangerous situations. He tells you to sneak through the vents and the animatronics' rooms, knowing that they could attack and possibly kill you. During these situations, the lights are kept off and you are quite literally left in the dark. Hand Unit will also leave you alone during crucial moments. In your second shift, Hand Unit shuts the system off entirely, which can turn off essential mechanisms in the building, such as oxygen supply.
Is not all of this ridiculous? And I haven't even named all of the myriad examples of satire that show up over the course of the series. Each game has made jabs at company practices, but none are as blatant and as straightforward as the satire in Five Nights At Freddy's: Sister Location. From the moment the game begins, the satire is thrown in the audience's face and does not let up. The message is clear: Businesses take advantage of their workers, make them perform grueling tasks, have no regard for their well-being, and pay them next to nothing.
The latest #FNAF revealed huge differences in terms of gameplay, layout and story, which impressed, surprised, and started up much debate among fans. It is noticeable that the game development has improved, but the thing that has improved the most is the writing, which allows for more effective use of comedy and satire.
Check out the trailer below for Five Nights at Freddy's: Sister Location and tell us in the comments about the most blatant use of satire in video games.