In the beginning, before “Five Nights at Freddy’s” rose from an indie game to a full-blown movie, it attracted the attention of YouTube content creators, many of whom formed a successful symbiotic relationship with the growing franchise and grew along with it. Seriously, YouTubers are so integral to the success of “FNAF” that many of the most popular creators associated with Scott Cawthon’s game landed cameos in the film. The guy knows how to pay it backward.
In 2014, Matthew Patrick — aka MatPat — of “The Game Theorists,” a YouTube lore/theory channel dedicated to analyzing video games, published a video that noted the similarities between “FNAF” and the 1993 mass shooting event at Chuck E. Cheese. It’s important to mention that nowhere in the video does he claim a concrete connection between the two things but he outlines several points that line up suspiciously well.
Fast forward to 2023, and MatPat’s multiple YouTube channels collectively feature more than 40 million subscribers, with approximately half of that number belonging to his flagship channel “The Game Theorists.” His video noting the parallels between “FNAF” and the mass shooting boasts more than 32 million views. Since the first “FNAF” game came out on August 4, 2014, and MatPat published his theory on October 23, 2014, and since the internet moved slightly slower back then, it’s not unreasonable to assume that he’s the progenitor of that rumor.
Yes, it’s possible that Cawthon found inspiration in reality but even MatPat acknowledged that there’s no definitive proof. Cawthon himself has never officially spoken about the mass shooting, nor has anyone asked him about it in an official capacity. Despite this, the theory persists because ideas never die, they only fester and grow.