By Arthur O’Sullivan
(To the tune of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah)
I heard there was a secret room
Where Mangle was, in FNAF Two
But you don’t really care for Foxies, do you?
It goes like this, the vent, the hiss,
Without the mask, he’s really pissed.
It’s Mangle, and he bites in ’87.
’87. ’87. ’87. ‘eighty se-e-e-e-ven.
Any zoomer born after 2002 can’t game. All they know is Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria, charge they doors, flashlight, twerk, be stuffed into animatronics, and lie.
In all seriousness, Five Nights at Freddy’s is arguably a series of video games. In the venerable years since the first game’s release in 1994, the now-multimedia series has garnered a reputation for its uncanny (like Mr. Incredible) horror-atmosphere, expansive and convoluted story, and—let’s just say—enthusiastic audience. I myself may or may not have created a certain article inspired by the franchise. Yet in all of my years as a true Five Nights at Freddy’s lorebeard (it’s a real word shut up), I knew something of which nobody else was aware: an obscure secret which, once released to the public, would overturn every preconceived presupposition pertaining to the Five Nights at Freddy’s franchise, leaving every Tom, Dick, Stanley, Matthew, and Patrick stunned, gobsmacked, and appalled at its revelation:
What if I told you, dear reader, that Five Nights at Freddy’s is real? No, not based off of true events, like the first ever “FNAF Theory” video intimated. I mean to say that events eerily similar to those described in the series occurred in real life, and were plainly represented in the series’ games, books, comic books, coloring books, and dreams that I had about the books. In this article, I will tell all. I will expose the secret history of Five Nights at Freddy’s, and how it led to the founding of this very publication: Binghamton Review…
In order to tell the story I am about to tell, I must tell you a story. A different story. A story that explains the story I am about to tell. For you see, only a few months ago, I too was a callow and naïve Five Nights at Freddy’s enthusiast, just like yourself, if you are still reading this. Nevertheless, I pride myself on being a truth seeker. As an avid user of the website Reddit, I have been trained to unflinchingly pursue the truth, no matter the costs, and to never be satisfied with cheap answers—especially those that confirm my biases. To that end, I put down my stim station: I shut off the Subway Surfers; I closed my “Family Guy Funny Moments” and “AskReddit voice-to-text video” tabs; I looked away from that fruit being peeled, and I took the liberty of investigating a small, but peculiar, coincidence I noticed while reading this very magazine.
Turn to the editorial. Now!
Did you see it? No? Go there again, and this time read the “Our Mission” section underneath Madeline’s elegant signature. Did you see it now? “What’s ‘it’?” you ask, your frustration increasing as you burn those calories and grow fit from flipping pages again and again. Fine, I’ll show you myself, but you’d better do a push-up after reading this, or else you’ll have fat cheeks just like Toy Freddy in FNAF 2 [please kill me].
The “Our Mission” section of Binghamton Review, often overlooked, describes our mission in publishing this ‘zine every few weeks. It reads,
“Binghamton Review is a non-partisan, student-run news magazine founded in 1987 at Binghamton University. A true liberal arts education expands a student’s horizons and opens one’s mind to a vast array of divergent perspectives. The mark of true maturity is being able to engage with these perspectives rationally while maintaining one’s own convictions. In that spirit, we seek to promote the free and open exchange of ideas and offer alternative viewpoints not normally found on campus. We stand against dogma in all of its forms, both on campus and beyond. We believe in the tenets of free expression and believe all students should have a voice on campus to convey their thoughts. Finally, we understand that mutual respect is a necessary component of any prosperous society. We strive to inform, engage with, and perhaps even amuse our readers in carrying out this mission.
Read the very first sentence. When were we founded? If the year “1987” doesn’t ring alarm bells in your head, then I’m sorry, but you’re just not a real FNAF fan. If so, then stop reading this article and go back to being a productive member of society. There is nothing more for you here, and you are not welcome. If you are a real FNAF fan, however, then keep reading. After all, there is nothing for you out there. The real world is like one great spring-lock suit: one that traps you when you start to moisten. But FNAF is like the office with the powered doors that keep the animatronics out. With proper effort and skill, you can seal yourself away from the real world: from a job (Freddy), from family (Bonnie), from women (Chica), and from pirates (Foxy). [It’s too painful in here. Somebody please help me. I just won’t die.]
To quote previous articles of mine, “What was I talking about again?” Oh, I remember now: literally 1987.
Is it true that Binghamton Review was founded that very year? Well, previous “Our Mission” statements seem to think so. Take this ancient one (which had been around since I was a real whippersnapper freshman at Binghamton Review—like balloon boy. It was changed to the current mission at the near-unanimous behest of our Editorial Board. I was in fact the sole opposition to the motion, like how Circus Baby dissented from Ennard after the events of Sister Location; unlike them, I was not expelled from the E-Board, leaving them to form Molten Freddy. For at the time, I believed it wrong to callously change traditions [the Fazbear Frights Baseball cap stays ON during lovemaking]. And while I still agree with that sentiment in principle, with the perspective of old age and hindsight, I find that the new mission statement has grown on me, and it fixes many of the flaws contained in the following mission statement. (The e-board-Ennard saw that the mission statement was broken, but we were still its friends, so we put it back together.) Of course, it’s not perfect, but nothing is, and I figure that if people are only paying attention to the mission statement, then this magazine is doing something wrong. We should be engaging our readers, not boring them with long, page-filling articles of nonsense and fluff. It’s only when readers are bored, finding our articles too silly or impenetrable that they pay attention to the mediocre melodies of mission statements, copyrights, and fonts. Long digressions aside, when trifles like these predominate conversations, you will know that Binghamton Review is dead, and that the West, by extension, has fallen, and that millions must consequently die. Much like the Missing Children’s Incident (the genesis of the mystery of Five Nights at Freddy’s), the fall of Western Civilization, caused by the change in mission statement of Binghamton Review, will cause an ineluctable flood of death, agony, and haunting. With this in mind, read through the old mission statement and see if you see what I see):
“Binghamton Review is a non-partisan, student-run news magazine of conservative thought founded in 1987 at Binghamton University. A true liberal arts education expands a student’s horizons and opens one’s mind to a vast array of divergent perspectives. The mark of true maturity is being able to engage with these perspectives rationally while maintaining one’s own convictions. In that spirit, we seek to promote the free and open exchange of ideas and offer alternative viewpoints not normally found or accepted on our predominately liberal campus. We stand against tyranny in all of its forms, both on campus and beyond. We believe in the principles set forth in this country’s Declaration of Independence and seek to preserve the fundamental tenets of Western civilization. It is our duty to expose the warped ideology of political correctness and cultural authoritarianism that dominates this university. Finally, we understand that a moral order is a necessary component of any civilized society. We strive to inform, engage with, and perhaps even amuse our readers in carrying out this mission.
The 198- the bit- the of bite-
The BITE OF ‘87?!
Figure 1: The Marketplier Soy-jak. Source: Know Your Meme
For those not “in the know” like [HELP] me and Matt over there, the Bite of ‘87 is, according to the Five Nights at Freddy’s Wiki, “an incident that occurred in 1987 at the second Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza location. It was briefly mentioned by Phone Guy in the first game.”
Well I’m convinced. Let’s go home.
For those seeking more detail, I will begrudgingly explain the inner workings of my mind-palace:
In the venerable Five Nights at Freddy’s franchise, the Bite of ‘87 (presumably 1987—but do not discount theories that say otherwise) has been a much-remarked-upon moment, shrouded in mystery and red herring. Now, as a professional Norwegian, I eat herring for breakfast, so when the presumptive “Bite of ‘87” was “revealed” in the fourth installment, the halitosis of my scream killed the local fauna. And when this “revelation” was “revealed” to be the “Bite of ‘83,” the halitosis of my scream killed the local flora. Needless to say, I still don’t fully understand the Bite of ‘87. At least, I thought I didn’t.
If Binghamton Review was founded in 1987, and the Bite of ‘87 happened in 1987, then surely these two are connected.
Now, you may be wondering, “Arthur, old shoe, didn’t this magazine used to be about politics?” To which I would respond, yes.
You may also be wondering, “O’Sullivan, [Is anyone there? My name is Matthew. I used to make Five Nights at Freddy’s theories, but now I’m trapped… somewhere. Actually, I think I’m haunting the magazine itself! Look, I don’t have the strength to explain, but if you can, I need you to go to a Binghamton Review meeting (Tuesdays 7:30 p.m. at Classroom Wing 215), holding this magazine. Go up to the members and say “I’m lusting for a Fredbear Surprise” with a straight face, and then leave. That way, I’ll be free again. Please, help a theorist out, will you?]”
To which I’d respond, “Of course the Bite of ‘87 and Binghamton Review’s founding are connected, and I can prove it.”
Let’s have a thought experiment, shall we? Do any of you know what a Generative Adversarial Network is? If not, fear not. According to the abstract (I couldn’t find the full text) of the seminal Computer Science paper by Ian Goodfellow et al. in 2014, Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) are,
“…a new framework for estimating generative models via adversarial nets, in which we simultaneously train two models: a generative model G that captures the data distribution, and a discriminative model D that estimates the probability that a sample came from the training data rather than G. The training procedure for G is to maximize the probability of D making a mistake. This framework corresponds to a minimax two-player game. In the space of arbitrary functions G and D, a unique solution exists, with G recovering the training data distribution and D equal to 1/2 everywhere. In the case where G and D are defined by multilayer perceptrons, the entire system can be trained with backpropagation. There is no need for any Markov chains or unrolled approximate inference networks during either training or generation of samples. Experiments demonstrate the potential of the framework through qualitative and quantitatively evaluation of the generated samples.”
Essentially, you can think of computers as having a “bank” of computing power that replenishes roughly every business week. This “bank” can be depleted if you use it too early in the week. But if you train it properly, through a generative adversarial technique, this “bank” will not be depleted. It just requires you to put aside your short-term pleasure for long-term goals, like getting a girlfriend. This can also prevent hackers from hacking into sensitive things, like my massive collection of animatronic pornography.
This was the experimental model I used to investigate the connection between the Bite of ‘87 and Binghamton Review’s subsequent foundation. I served as the generative model “G” that captures the data distribution; our Editor in Chief Madeline Perez served as a discriminative model D that estimates the probability that a sample came from the training data rather than G (she did this by discriminating against my Irish heritage in the last issue); I (G) maximized the chances of Madeline (D) making a mistake by citing out-of-game-universe canon (I) such as the Fazbear Frights novels and the fanfiction I wrote for the last April Fool’s issue (or maybe it was the Halloween issue—I don’t know and I don’t care).
After seven hours of generative adversarial training between G and D (that is, Madeline and me, respectively), I (D) made some interesting discoveries. To explain them, let’s have a thought experiment, shall we?
What happens when you lose your frontal lobe? “You die, right?” responds Shayne, festering in the arrogant mire of his own intellect (by this I mean that he’s wrong). Indeed, as the Phone Guy (my beloved) has revealed in the first installment of the Five Nights at Freddy’s franchise, in reference to the Bite of ‘87, which he first mentioned, “Yeah. It’s amazing that the human body can live without the frontal lobe, you know?”
“That’s preposterous!” I hear you cry, but it’s true. Just look at the pop-neuro-psych icon du jour Phineas Gage. Now, don’t get ahead of yourself: Phineas Gage was not the victim of the Bite of ‘87. He was, however, the victim of the Spike of ‘48 (1848, that is), which pierced his eye and skull through the frontal lobe during the many uprisings and revolutions in Europe that year (one of which was the February Revolution, which saw the removal of King Louis Philipe of France, much like the destruction of Fazbear Frights—not to be confused with the July Revolution of 1830, which saw Louis Philipe’s installment to power after the overthrow of King Charles X—also not to be confused with the 1832 June Rebellion, a failed revolt against the aforementioned Louis Philipe by a group of students, made famous by the Victor Hugo novel and stage adaptation of Les Misérables. As the song goes, “Do you hear the Fredbears sing? Singing the song of angry kids. It is the music of the victims of the evil purple guy.” These things I write not for comic digression, but because I had confused these things before looking them up on Wikipedia while procrastinating on writing this) [It hurts]. Phineas Gage survived, but he was transformed. Where there was once Phineas Gage, there was now a different Phineas Gage. It can be compared to the difference between Toy Chica (or, as my friend referred to her in seventh grade, “Sexy Chica”) and Withered Chica in the second installment of the game series.
Basically, you can think of your brain having a “bank” of frontal lobe. The more times you pierce this frontal lobe (either through a railroad spike or an animatronic bite), the more depleted this “bank” is. Unlike serotonin and dopamine in the brain, these banks don’t refill themselves naturally after every business week (or Five Nights, if you please). If you deplete your frontal lobe bank too much, your brain goes crazy. You feel depressed, and you lack self-control. It’s like Lent, but every day. And you become little more than a remnant of your former self.
A remnant? That feels significant somehow. My head hurts too much to explain it though. I wonder what happened.
Anyways, to make a long story short…
The Bite of ‘87 led to the foundation of Binghamton Review. It first began when William Afton, serial murderer and resident of Old Rafuse Hall (back then it was called Rafuse, and you needed to spend five BUC$ to take the shuttle. I needed to go there back in ‘87 to get some cookies—that was because all of the cookies in Endicott were sent off to Europe during the war. So I tied an onion to my belt, which was the style at the time. It meant that you were looking for cookies, and maybe a little sugar, if you know what I mean ;(. I went there and a nice man named William Afton came up to me and… (what did he do?) murdered someone by stuffing his head into a spring-lock animatronic suit’s mouth and it bit down when the victim moistened in fear. That victim suffered severe brain damage, having lost his frontal lobe in the Bite of ‘87. Still, he was a Binghamton University student, so this dental lobotomy actually increased his scholarly acumen. Thus, he was able to rise above the other students, and founded the greatest magazine in existence: Penthouse. Afterwards he founded Binghamton Review, the Last Refuge of Scholars. With this, Western Civilization had reached its apogee, and so long as it publishes, the West shall not fall.
I… remember something now… I think that it was me. I…
I WAS THE BITE OF ‘87 VICTIM!
That’s how I knew the secret, all this time. William Afton tried to kill me! Luckily, we all burned up in that fire in 2023 after his business partner made William Afton’s son Michael run Coppertop Pizzeria before setting it ablaze. Did I mention I’m a ghost?