To set the stage for this, I must clarify some terms, skip if you understand the topic:
Pseudohorror is a derogatory term I have created to define games that emulate horror tropes, but do not contain the meat that a horror game traditionally has.
Markiplier is a very successful YouTub user, who plays mostly horror focused games for viewers online, and he has millions of people who follow him and watch his videos. He's raised a great deal of money for charity, and seems to be a good enough person. His success comes from his comedic personality and baritone voice.
HarshlyCritical is a less well known YouTube user who also plays horror games, analyzing their positive and negative qualities, and a bit less focused on joking, and more on the games themselves.
Five Nights At Freddy's was a briefly popular pseudohorror game in 2014 focusing on jumpscares in a "context" of a Chuck E. Cheese's type restaurant overnight. It is a short game, with several "days" that each take about 8 minutes if played successfully. Totaling about an hour of gameplay, short of failure reactions. The final difficulty setting took Markiplier roughly seven hours of playing the same eight minutes of jumpscares, mostly making him angry, not scared.
Slender and its sequels are a series of briefly popular pseudohorror games that focus on the internet character of Slenderman. They were popular mostly in 2012, and had basically zero storyline. The game's biggest time consumption is its horribly slow movement speed. The game has only about an hour's wandering worth of gameplay to it, with no real victory, just a "finished task" event.
Surgeon Simulator was a briefly popular "surgery simulation" (loosely) game that focused specifically on tedious controls. An 'intentionally bad' game that elicits frustration for entertainment purposes. There is only a few minutes of gameplay to it, if played with the intention of succeeding.
Goat Simulator is a non-horror, silly game made by Coffee Stain Studios. It's somewhere along the style of a skating game (where you walk, instead of skating) and glitch demonstration game. It's not designed to be taken seriously, and lots of the glitchiness is intentionally left in.
Marble Hornets and TribeTwelve are story-focused horror series on YouTube focusing on the internet character of Slenderman. They have paranormal an mystery themes, and develop characters who are attempting to understand or defeat the monsters that have come to haunt them.
Fatal Frame, Silent Hill, Resident Evil, Siren, The Cat Lady, and Neverending Nightmares are all horror games with some level of mystery focus, and sometimes paranormal events. The first ones are well known, successful titles, the last ones are smaller titles with a smaller fanbase.
Okay. Some novelties are fun for a couple runs and that's it... and people, especially Markiplier, it seems, have not gotten that. Now don't get me wrong, I really like Markiplier, but let me point something out:
He has seventeen Surgeon Sim videos. He has twenty nine Slender videos, and now TEN Five Nights at Freddy's videos. All okay enough games for a preview or playthrough once.. but seriously? Each one, giving Slender the benefit of the doubt since it's several versions (of the exact same game, mind you, no new mechanics, the speed is still exhaustingly slow, etc.) -- but they're not something that can earn this much attention, and the fans want it, it's not totally Mark's (or any other LPer)'s fault... but seriously.
Every video is, and will be, the same. Why is there so much energy wasted on these "YouTube games?" There is real content out there! Games that deserve attention, games that deserve respect.
I recently helped promote a game called Noct, and it managed to get a stretch goal's worth of extra money raised on Kickstarter, and it looks promising, but I can't seem to get any bigger LPers to really look at the demo videos, to my knowledge.
Neverending Nightmares was a deep, sincere, heartfelt horror game that was legitimate horror, it was mystery driving you forward, not just morbid curiosity, a demand for answers to the story. John (HarshlyCritical, one of my favorite underrated YTers) didn't know anything about it going in, and gave it more respect than Mark appeared to, and Mark met the creator and knew the purpose behind the game. John gave it more interest, more sincerity, and he had nowhere near the "reason" to.
There's this growing weed in the horror community of jumpscare-suppressant simulators. They're not actually horror, no more than Operation, the board game, is. It's the anxiety of the buzz, the scree, the yell, the one second "scary" picture that drives these games. Slender, for example, did the opposite for Slenderman that Marble Hornets or TribeTwelve did/does.
Slender gives no reason for doing what you do, no purpose to play the game, there are no answers, and really not that many actual questions. Five Nights at Freddy's has even less questions and more worthless answers. It's essentially Jackass as a "spooky" game. You're doing it because you're dumb, and think it's a good source of pay. At least the Jackass guys make thousands of dollars.
These non-horror games are a cancer to real, deep, metaphoric, complicated horror games with plot and emotion. Look at things like Silent Hill or Resident Evil (the earliest ones, that discussion is for another time). These have content, they have reason, they have mystery, they are scary because you feel some compulsion to find the answers, despite the scares. This new wave of pseudohorror is literally playing it to either: record your reactions for laughs, or show how 'brave' you are for enduring a bunch of loud noises to beat a tedious, repetitive walkabout/buttonpusher.
I'll admit I like some silly games, like Goat Simulator. Games that are contrary to the standard expectations of what games strive to be (complete, not buggy, worth following through to some form of closure), but they're typically satirical or something of the sort, or just plain silly. Things like these fake horror games seem to want you to take them seriously, or people play them as if that's so. Five Nights teases the player, and doesn't seem to want to be taken as seriously as it's handled, but LPers play it like it's some magnum opus of gaming.
I rarely play games, usually watching them, because I'm not particularly patient when I play, and end up getting mostly upset over my lack of skill, and not immersing myself in the story, so LPs are valuable to me. I respect a good story. I get that Five Nights is tense, but it's not scary. There's no consequence except starting over the segment, and other games have that consequence, but have more emotional connection. I know I can't give the voice of a serious gamer, but I can give my opinions from the writing side, as a writer, and a watching audience. Plus, I can analyze mechanics, even if from a third party view. I can tell when things feel weird, at least to some extent, and I can tell that the lack of doing-ness in Five Nights is a horrible design.
John was also the one who introduced me to another one of my favorite, very serious, even still, funny at times, horror games. The Cat Lady is a true magnum opus: serious, fulfilling story with mystery, with drive, with a personality. It tries an art style that isn't particularly common, it touches on subjects that are very taboo, but it does it with respect. It doesn't just use the subject as the horror, it uses the whole context as the horror. It's not an inexplicable "suddenly here we are" situation, there's a reason for what's done, and it's a game that gave me something I didn't have before, and developed one of the first buds of respect for horror.
You see, I didn't understand horror before things like The Cat Lady. I saw all horror as slashers and things like Five Nights. I didn't see that there was a depth, a message. Horror has a great deal of power in expressing cathartic messages that other mediums can struggle with on the best of days. When played with passion and sincerity, the horror card can be valuable. Things like Five Nights breed the stereotypes I didn't see past. They make a fog. So, I urge you, if you enjoy horror, play games like Neverending Nightmares, Fatal Frame, Silent Hill, Siren, or The Cat Lady, don't stay with the jumpscares, because they are eating away at an amazing source of expression, and breaking it down until people don't give it respect.