Frogger

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This article is about the 1981 video game. For other uses, see Frogger (disambiguation).
Frogger
Frogger 1 xbla cover.jpg
Xbox Live Arcade cover art
Developer(s) Konami
Publisher(s) Konami
Sega/Gremlin
Series Frogger
Platform(s) Arcade
various
Release date(s) 1981
Genre(s) Overhead view action
Mode(s) Up to 2 players, alternating turns
Cabinet Upright
CPU 2x Z80:
Z80 (@ 3.072 MHz)
Z80 (@ 1.78975 MHz)
Sound Sound CPU: Z80 (@ 1.78975 MHz)
Sound Chips: AY8910 (@ 1.78975 MHz)
Display Raster, 224 x 256 pixels (Vertical), 99 colors

Frogger is an arcade game introduced in 1981. It was developed by Konami, and licensed for worldwide distribution by Sega/Gremlin. The object of the game is to direct frogs to their homes one by one. To do this, each frog must avoid cars while crossing a busy road and navigate a river full of hazards. Skillful players may obtain some bonuses along the way. The game is regarded as a classic from the golden age of video arcade games and was noted for its novel gameplay and theme. It was also an early example of a game using more than one CPU, as it used two Z80 processors.[1] Frogger is still popular and clones can be found on many Internet game sites. By 2005, Frogger had sold 20 million copies worldwide, including 5 million in the United States.[2]

Gameplay[edit]

Screenshot of Frogger
The Sierra version

The player starts with three, five, or seven frogs (lives). The player guides a frog which starts at the bottom of the screen. The lower half of the screen contains a road with motor vehicles, which in various versions include cars, trucks, buses, dune buggies, bulldozers, vans, taxis, bicyclists, and/or motorcycles, speeding along it horizontally. The upper half of the screen consists of a river with logs, alligators, and turtles, all moving horizontally across the screen. The very top of the screen contains five "frog homes" which are the destinations for each frog. Every level is timed; the player must act quickly to finish each level before the time expires.

The only player control is the joystick used to navigate the frog; each push in a direction causes the frog to hop once in that direction. On the bottom half of the screen, the player must successfully guide the frog between opposing lanes of trucks, cars, and other vehicles, to avoid becoming roadkill.

The middle of the screen, after the road, contains a median where the player must prepare to navigate the river.

By jumping on swiftly moving logs and the backs of turtles, the player can guide his or her frog safely to one of the empty lilypads. The player must avoid alligators, snakes, and otters in the river, but may catch bugs or escort a lady frog for bonuses. When all five frogs are directed home, the game progresses to the next, harder level. After five levels, the game gets briefly easier yet again gets progressively harder to the next fifth level.

Softline in 1982 stated that "Frogger has earned the ominous distinction of being 'the arcade game with the most ways to die'".[3] There are many different ways to lose a life (illustrated by a "skull and crossbones" symbol where the frog was), including:

  1. Being hit by a road vehicle
  2. Jumping into the river's water
  3. Running into snakes, otters or into an alligator's jaws in the river
  4. Jumping into a home invaded by an alligator
  5. Staying on top of a diving turtle until it has completely submerged
  6. Riding a log, alligator, or turtle off the side of the screen
  7. Jumping into a home already occupied by a frog
  8. Jumping into the side of a home or the bush
  9. Running out of time before getting a frog home

Frogger is available as a standard upright or cocktail cabinet. The controls consist solely of a 4-direction joystick used to guide the frog's jump direction. The number of simultaneous players is one, and the game has a maximum of two players.

The game's opening tune is the first verse of a Japanese children's song called Inu No Omawarisan (The Dog Policeman). The song remained intact in the US release. Other Japanese tunes that are played during gameplay include the themes to the anime Hana no Ko Lunlun and Araiguma Rascal.

Legacy[edit]

In addition to inspiring numerous clones, this game inspired an unofficial sequel by Sega in 1991 called Ribbit which featured improved graphics and simultaneous two-player action.

Ports and clones[edit]

Like many arcade games of the period, Frogger was ported to all the major home computers and consoles of the time. Parker Brothers received the license from Sega for cartridge versions, while Sierra gained the magnetic media rights. Several platforms were capable of accepting both ROM cartridges and magnetic media, thus these systems, such as the Commodore 64, received multiple versions of the game.[4] Sierra also sublicensed their magnetic-media rights to developers who published for systems not normally supported by Sierra (e.g. Cornsoft published the official TRS-80, Timex Sinclair 1000 and Timex Sinclair 2068 ports); because of this, even the Atari 2600 received multiple releases: a cartridge from Parker Bros. and a cassette for the Supercharger from Starpath. The Tomy Tutor version was directly licensed from Konami themselves, although it is not clear if they developed it.

Parker Bros. produced cartridge ports of Frogger for the Atari 2600, Intellivision, Atari 5200, ColecoVision, Atari 8-bit computers, Commodore VIC-20 and 64. Sierra released disk and/or tape ports for the C64 (which as a result ended up with two versions of the game), Apple II, the original 128k Macintosh, IBM PC, Atari 2600 Supercharger, and the above-mentioned versions for the TRS-80 Color Computer and Sinclair developed by UK-based Cornsoft. Parker Bros. spent $10 million on advertising Frogger, along with The Empire Strikes Back, larger than the $6 million marketing budget for a movie at the time.[5] Parker Brothers sold 3 million cartridges of both Frogger and The Empire Strikes Back, with Frogger alone being the company's most successful first-year product, beating the sales and revenues of Merlin, their previous best-seller.[6] Coleco also released stand-alone Mini-Arcade tabeletop versions of Frogger, which, along with Pac-Man, Galaxian, and Donkey Kong, sold three million units combined.[7]

In addition to these official releases, there have been numerous unofficial clones including Froggy for the ZX Spectrum released by DJL Software in 1984, Acornsoft's Hopper (1983) for the BBC Micro and Acorn Electron, A&F Software's Frogger (1983) for BBC Micro and ZX Spectrum, Solo Software's Frogger for the Sharp MZ-700 in the UK in 1984, and a version for the NewBrain under the name Leap Frog.

The 1981 Atari 2600 game Freeway is often considered a clone of Frogger, but each game was developed independently of the other, and both were released in 1981. Freeway, too, had a similar working title as well, "Bloody Human Freeway".

Hasbro Interactive released a new version for Microsoft Windows and the PlayStation in 1997 (in this game, Frogger is green with an orange stripe). It was a success, with the PC version alone selling nearly one million units in less than four months.[8] The ports to the Mega Drive/Genesis and Super NES in 1998 were the last games released for those consoles in North America. A Java port of the game is currently available for compatible mobile phones. A port was also made for the Game com.

A prototype game based on gameplay elements of Frogger was developed for Sega Game Gear, but never released—presumably due to legal issues between Sega and Konami. The prototype wasn't a direct port of the arcade game, as it had additional features and redesigned levels.

In 2005, InfoSpace teamed up with Konami Digital Entertainment to create the mobile game Frogger for Prizes,[9] in which players across the U.S. compete in multiplayer tournaments to win daily and weekly prizes. In 2006, the mobile game version of Frogger grossed over $10 million in the United States.[10]

A port of Frogger was released on the Xbox Live Arcade for the Xbox 360 on July 12, 2006. It was developed by Digital Eclipse and published by Konami. It has two new gameplay modes: Versus speed mode and Co-op play. Some of the music, including the familiar Frogger theme, was removed from this version and replaced with other music. This version was included in the compilation Konami Classics Vol. 1.

Another port of Frogger was released with the Bull Frog Lightning Console by Zero 88. It could be activated by pressing a combination of keys. It was named Frog Run and featured a highscore list.

Sequels[edit]

Unlike the arcade version, the home versions had numerous sequels, including:

In many of the recent games (starting with Frogger: The Great Quest), Frogger is shown as bipedal, wearing a shirt with a crossed-out truck.

In popular culture[edit]

In film and television[edit]

  • In 1983, Frogger made its animated television debut as a segment on CBS' Saturday Supercade cartoon lineup. On the series, Frogger was voiced by Bob Sarlatte. After only one season, Frogger and the Pitfall Harry segment were replaced by Kangaroo and Space Ace. Saturday Supercade has never been officially released on VHS or DVD.[citation needed]
  • In 1995, a VR Troopers episode featured a usurping frog monster called "Amphibidor" that hated being called "Frogger" by Ryan, because he does not "hop across roads or rivers to avoid cars and alligators just to get home".
  • In 1998, the game was featured in the Seinfeld episode "The Frogger".[13] Jerry and George visit a soon-to-be-closed restaurant they frequented as teenagers and discover the Frogger machine still in place, with George's decades-old high score still recorded. He buys the machine and tries to get it home without letting it lose power, which would erase the score with his initials "GLC" (in reality, Frogger does not actually let players enter their initials). After rigging the machine up with a battery, his attempt to navigate it across a busy New York street is a direct parody of the game (which uses the same sound effects and is shown from a top down view) and ends with the machine being smashed. George's score was 860,630 points, a score once thought to be unachievable on an actual Frogger arcade machine, not to mention that the real game has only a 5 digit score counter.
  • In the MTV Movie Awards 2003 sketch, "The MTV Movie Awards Reloaded" has the Architect (Will Ferrell) saying that, while having created Q*bert and Dig Dug, he did not create Frogger but he came up with the name for it because it was going to be called "Highway Crossing Frog". The last half of the joke is actually true - "Highway Crossing Frog" was the working title for Frogger.[14]
  • Frogger appears in the Disney animated film Wreck-It Ralph. In the second trailer for the film, he can be seen in the Game Central Station hopping away from Ralph upon seeing him.[15]
  • Frogger will be appearing in the upcoming film Pixels.[16]

In music[edit]

  • In 1982, Buckner & Garcia recorded a song called "Froggy's Lament", using sound effects from the game, and released it on the album Pac-Man Fever. The song begins:

Froggy takes one step at a time
The way that he moves has no reason or rhyme
He hops and jumps, dodges and ducks

Cars and buses, vans and trucks.

Other[edit]

  • In 2006, a group in Austin, Texas used a modified Roomba dressed as Frogger to play a real-life version of the game. Although the group expected the Bluetooth controlled machine to be crushed on its first time across, the modified Roomba was able to get across the street 10 times (40 lanes) and survive for 15 minutes before it was "killed" by an SUV.[18]
  • Frogger is also the name given to a transposon ("jumping gene") family in the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster.[19]
  • On November 5, 2011, a live-action tribute to Frogger called Field Frogger was played at the Come Out and Play Festival in San Francisco.[20]

Highest score[edit]

On July 15, 2012, Michael Smith of Springfield, Virginia, USA, scored a Frogger world record high score of 970,440 points.[21] This beat Pat Laffaye's score of 896,980 from December 22, 2009. These are the only two scores that have been verified as having beaten the fictional George Costanza Seinfeld score of 860,630 points.[22]

See also[edit]

  • Frogs (1978), an earlier frog game published by Sega-Gremlin

References[edit]

  1. ^ Frogger at the Killer List of Videogames
  2. ^ "Konami's Frogger and Castlevania Nominated for Walk of Game Star" (Press release). Konami. 2005-10-11. Archived from the original on 2013-02-02. Retrieved 2009-03-21. 
  3. ^ Rose, Gary and Marcia (1982-11). "Frogger". Softline. p. 19. Retrieved 27 July 2014. 
  4. ^ Moriarty, Tim (1984-05). "Frogger". Ahoy!. pp. 52–53. Retrieved 27 June 2014. 
  5. ^ Harmetz, Aljean (January 15, 1983). "New Faces, More Profits For Video Games". Times-Union. p. 18. Retrieved 28 February 2012. 
  6. ^ Rosenberg, Ron (December 11, 1982). "Competitors Claim Role in Warner Setback". The Boston Globe. p. 1. Retrieved 6 March 2012. 
  7. ^ "More Mini-Arcades A Comin'". Electronic Games 4 (16): 10. June 1983. Retrieved 1 February 2012. 
  8. ^ Reidy, Chris (March 17, 1998). "Hasbro Unit Pays $5m for Atari Arcade Game Rights Plans Include New Versions for Users of PCs, Playstation". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 6 March 2012. "Just before the holidays, Hasbro Interactive introduced a PC version of Frogger; in less than four months, it has sold nearly one million units" 
  9. ^ Video Game News - Konami Digital Entertainment and InfoSpace Partner to Create Mobile Game Frogger for Prizes
  10. ^ "Frogger Mobile Games Exceed $10 Million In The US". GameZone. September 12, 2006. Retrieved 20 April 2012. 
  11. ^ Konami Mobile: Frogger[dead link]
  12. ^ "Konami reveals new screenshots for Frogger Returns". Konami Digital Entertainment. 4 November 2009. Retrieved 9 November 2009. [dead link]
  13. ^ ""Seinfeld" The Frogger (1998)". Imdb.com. Retrieved 2011-02-09. 
  14. ^ "Frogger Timeline and Biography". Twoop.com. Retrieved 2011-02-09. 
  15. ^ disneyanimation (2012-09-13). "Wreck-It Ralph Trailer". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-10-13. 
  16. ^ "Classic video game characters unite via film 'Pixels'". Philstar. July 23, 2014. Retrieved July 23, 2014. 
  17. ^ "Dance music gives nod to 8-bit era". Megabitsofgaming.com. Retrieved 2012-06-20. 
  18. ^ Terdiman, Daniel. "Roomba takes Frogger to the asphalt jungle - CNET News.com". News.com.com. Retrieved 2011-02-09. 
  19. ^ "FlyBase Transposon Report: Dmel\Frogger". 
  20. ^ "Come Out and Play San Francisco 2011". 
  21. ^ "Classic Frogger arcade world record squashed once again". Retrieved 17 November 2012. 
  22. ^ "Twin Galaxies' Frogger High Score Rankings". Retrieved 1 January 2010. 

External links[edit]