autism · Gaming

Why I love Five Nights At Freddy’s…..

  You may have heard your kids talking about this game in recent months ? It’s a strategy based jumpscare game where you are the security guard in a “chuckie cheese’esque” pizza place & have to “survive” nights. There are animatronic creatures that meander about and the player has to use their resources in order to not perish.

Little by little, my 4 kids (ranging in age from 8-13) began talking about it at home, in the car, at school….. It soon started to permeate every aspect of their lives (particularly the 3 younger ones). Before we allowed them to play the game, we made sure that it wasn’t too frightening for them since it is rated 12+ (it wasn’t for them). As with any obsession that makes its way into my house, I learned the “lingo” so I could look kind of cool to them. If nothing else, it gives me conversation starters to enter their world, which often is more successful in facilitating meaningful conversation.    

It started with plush things “staged” all over the house

 In all honesty, my husband and I don’t get the game, or the attraction of it. That’s ok, because We don’t NEED to get it. What is important, is that we “get”  their high level of interest in the game. Aside from the obsessive factor, we have seen some significant communication improvements in recent months. Such as:

1. Reciprocal conversations – this is perhaps the biggest area of change we have seen. My kids have long, detailed conversations about the characters. At first, it was in asking each other who their favorite animatronic was and why. This evolved into conversations about what animatronics they would create for their version of the game. Answers had to include details as eye color, animal type, background of the character and behaviorisms. If these details weren’t provided, they would be asked for them. These conversations occurred daily and they would take turns sharing their information.  This happened so frequently, we had to start giving my twins melatonin again because they would talk for hours in bed. 

 

One of the first times I have seen them united over a game

  2. Imagination – since this game isn’t completely commercialized yet, their desire for memorabilia wasn’t able to be fulfilled. On their own device, they scoured through their plush creatures and found ones they could use. Their next move was to make construction paper modifications to authenticate the characters. 

 

The modification process
   
They were proud of these,

Once these were done, they explored other medias together.

   

  

  

  

Their new undertaking is FNAF Cosplay so this will be updated when that happens. I’m trying to get them to document their ideas for future games

In conclusion, I love the fact that this game has motivated my children and given them the platform to stop, collaborate and listen (sorry about the Vanilla Ice lyrics there). One of my twins who has struggled with conversation skills, has recently initiated conversations with his teachers of whom were so impressed, they let me know immediately. These are the type of milestones that are important to our family, and if that motivation comes in the form of a video game, I am going to be its biggest fan.

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