A little over a year ago, the internet was introduced to the phenomenon of Five Nights at Freddy’s. Not long after, YouTube was drowned in reaction video after reaction video of unprepared people who began to question if it was worth wetting themselves on camera. Perhaps this game would have remained in obscurity, however, if one Youtuber had not made a big deal of it: Markiplier.
Through Markiplier and his rabid fanbase, the swan song of a computer game became the year long sensation spawning three sequels. Although it could be argued that any number of famous Youtubers could be the reason for this Chuck E Cheese gone to hell becoming a franchise in its own right, I believe that Markiplier has the biggest piece of the pizza pie compared to his fellows, earning him the title of ‘The King of Five Nights at Freddy’s.’
5. He’s the First Result on YouTube
Go ahead and go on YouTube and search for ‘Five Nights at Freddy’s’, I’ll wait. I bet your first result isn’t one of the trailers, nor is it one of the poorly researched theories, but instead the first video of Markiplier’s descent into madness.
Although I was taught never to click the first result you find when researching on Google, the public must not have received this memo, because as of this date Markiplier’s first FNAF video has 37 million views. That’s more than some countries’ populations in Europe, though probably less than the amount of money Scott Cawthon made on these games.
The first result isn’t the most informative when it comes to the series itself, unless you’re from Monster’s Inc. and need the screams to power your city, but it is the people’s choice. More people chose that video to watch than any other, and, according to Youtube, that’s probably what you’ll choose, too.
4. All the Base are Belong to Markiplier
One could watch all of Markiplier’s videos and not realize how much of a chance FNAF had of not happening. Those views mean more than simple popularity: you can bet a good percentage of people watching Markiplier, or any other Youtuber, use them as beta-testers to see if the game is worth buying.
Those people then decide to buy the game, and 37 million people buying a 5 dollar game adds up fast. But this cycle can’t just happen: a youtuber takes a risk in playing a popular game. Sure, a more popular game means there is more money for the Youtuber themselves to make – if their fanbase is big enough. And certainly it is, as far as Markiplier is concerned. If numbers don’t prove it to you, surely the amount of fanart will. Warning: Some of that is probably Not Safe for Work.
Cawthon has made a lot off of these games, which is surprising, seeing as Cawthon himself has admitted FNAF was his last ditch effort at making a career through game making. In his interviews, we see just how awful Cawthon’s life was, presumably before he was swimming in the money based off of the nightmares of any child growing up in the 1980’s – and he owes this to the Ohioan in the flannel shirt and his fanbase that is better than any Crowdfunding could ever hope to be.
3. He Completes the Whole Game.
By now you probably see a flaw in my logic: how is a game popular before a Youtuber chooses to upload a video of themselves playing it? Well, the answer is simple, my uneducated students. Most of the aforementioned reaction videos take place with the first game, or only within the first five nights of each game.
Very few Youtubers complete all five nights + the sixth night + 20/20/20/20 mode. FNAF’s popularity did not come from watching Youtubers braving through the game with skill and perseverance, but with girly screaming and the primal fear of being trapped like a prey animal.
However, unlike FNAF’s horror meme predecessor, Slender, viewers could come back to the game to watch Youtubers complete it. What’s more, FNAF actually had a story that viewers could figure out hidden amongst the jumpscares. Many Youtubers could simply gloss over this, if they did do the whole game, but Markiplier does look up the lore (which inspires his viewers to do the same), and does complete the game.
And rightfully so: Markiplier usually completes games that are of quality, story-based, or just peak curiosity which is more than can be said for some youtubers who reserve FNAF and other worthy games of just One-Offs and hardly touch upon the actual story.
2. His voice is butter.
This might seem like an inane detail, but it’s not. Take a moment to do some real researching and find the official first person to complete FNAF’s 20/20/20/20 mode. You’ll find a guy who poured hours upon hours livestreaming the game, and yet his views don’t even crack the one million mark. How is this so?
He’s playing a popular game, by all means being the world’s first must mean he deserves more views, so where are they? The fact is, this live streamer, and many hobbyist Let’s Players just don’t have the voice acting talent needed to earn views.
They don’t truly need talent in voice acting, as anyone who remembers the early 2000’s can attest to, but they do need personality. And the sleep deprived user who posted that video certainly doesn’t: take a moment to watch Markiplier’s video. Sure, it’s edited for time and it does take him hours, but it is still entertaining.
Tired or not, you find yourself invested because his voice has some sort of quality to it that he can reel you in with. Any awkwardness that comes from talking to no one has long since passed. It’s natural to him, and it’s easy to listen to.
1. He’s the Perfect Mascot.
So we’ve discussed Markiplier’s fanbase and how insane it can be, but 37 million views don’t lie: he’s well known on Youtube, just recently celebrating his 9 million subscriber landmark. He might not be the most popular Let’s Player, but he’s by far the most in tune with the monster(?) community he’s created.
Although some might find his bursts of emotion to be obnoxious signs of ego stroking, I find it to be quite the opposite: he’s self aware of his insane fan base and is quite overwhelmed by it. I’d rather have this approach to his fanbase, seeing as in all likelihood this man makes around 4 million a year on his videos, if his annoying counterpart’s salary confirmation is anything to go on.
Making more money than I hope to see in my lifetime is hard enough, but at least with Markiplier he seems to be making effort to use this wealth to do good, rather than floundering it about. So it’s no accident that Scott Cawthon, who has probably made that much, if not more, on his games finds his allegiance with the Markiplier.
On more than one occasion, this man has money bombed both well known and little known charity streams, and though Markiplier doesn’t money bomb, he does charity stream – they have very similar end goals: to make some sort of positive difference in the end. And being a popular YouTube man to boot,
Markiplier might as well be the mascot for FNAF over Freddy himself: even die hard fans would be hard-pressed to say they could pick Scott Cawthon himself out of a crowd, while Markiplier has confirmed having to move house due to more-than-a-little creepy stalkers finding out where he lives.
It’s a perfect business partnership that makes him the King of Five Nights at Freddy’s.