Frogger

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Frogger
Frogger arcade flyer.jpg
Developer(s)Konami
Publisher(s)
SeriesFrogger
Platform(s)Arcade
Release
Genre(s)Action
Mode(s)Single-player

Frogger[a] is a 1981 arcade action game developed by Konami and manufactured by Sega.[5] In North America, it was released by Sega/Gremlin. The object of the game is to direct a series of frogs to their homes by crossing a busy road and a hazardous river.

Frogger was positively received as one of the greatest video games ever made and followed by several clones and sequels. By 2005, 20 million copies of its various home video game incarnations had been sold worldwide. It entered popular culture, including television and music.

Gameplay[edit]

Arcade screenshot

The objective of the game is to guide a frog to each of the empty homes at the top of the screen. The game starts with three, five, or seven frogs, depending on the machine's settings.[6] Losing all frogs is game over. The player uses the 4-direction joystick to hop the frog once. Frogger is either single-player or two players alternating.

The frog starts at the bottom of the screen, which contains a horizontal road occupied by speeding cars, trucks, and bulldozers. The player must guide the frog between opposing lanes of traffic to avoid becoming roadkill and losing a life. After the road, a median strip separates the two major parts of the screen. The upper part consists of a river with logs, alligators, and turtles, all moving horizontally across the screen. By jumping on swiftly moving logs and the backs of turtles and alligators, the player can guide the frog to safety. The player must avoid snakes, otters, and the open mouths of alligators. A brightly colored female frog is sometimes on a log and may be carried for bonus points. The top of the screen contains five "frog homes". These sometimes contain bonus insects or deadly alligators.

The opening tune is the first verse of a Japanese children's song called "Inu No Omawarisan" ("The Dog Policeman"). Other Japanese tunes include the themes to the anime series Hana no Ko Lunlun and Rascal the Raccoon. The American release has the same opening song plus "Yankee Doodle".

In 1982, Softline stated that "Frogger has earned the ominous distinction of being 'the arcade game with the most ways to die'."[7] There are many different ways to lose a life (illustrated by a skull and crossbones symbol where the frog was), including being hit by a road vehicle; jumping into the river; running into snakes, otters, or an alligator's jaws; staying on top of a diving turtle; riding a log, alligator, or turtle off the side of the screen; jumping into a home already occupied by a frog; jumping into the side of a home or the bush; or running out of time.

When all five frogs are in their homes, the game progresses to the next level with increased difficulty. After five levels, the difficulty briefly eases and yet again progressively increases after each level. The timer gives 30 seconds to guide each frog into one of the homes, and resets whenever a life is lost or a frog reaches home safely.

Scoring[edit]

Every forward step scores 10 points, and every frog arriving safely home scores 50 points. 10 points are also awarded per each unused ½ second of time. Guiding a lady frog home or eating a fly scores 200 points each, and when all 5 frogs reach home to end the level the player earns 1,000 points. A single bonus frog is 20,000 points. 99,990 points is the maximum high score that can be achieved on an original arcade cabinet. Players may exceed this score, but the game only keeps the last 5 digits.[8]

Release[edit]

The game was originally developed by Konami, and it was first published in Japan on January 12, 1981.[9] It entered mass-production in June 1981, becoming a success in Japan over the next few months.[10] On July 22, 1981, Sega gained the exclusive rights to manufacture the game worldwide.[5]

North America[edit]

Sega/Gremlin was skeptical about Frogger's earning potential in North America. This was because no other company licensed the game. Also, an earlier game called Frogs that was developed there had flopped. It was believed that Eliminator would be the company's next big hit. Elizabeth Falconer, a market researcher at Sega/Gremlin, was tasked by Gremlin founder Frank Fogleman to check Gremlin's library of video presentations to see if there was anything worth licensing, and she stumbled across Frogger.[10]

Thinking the game deserved a chance though being "cute", she requested a licensing window for playtesting. She reminded executives who denigrated Frogger as a "women and kids game" by reminding them of Pac-Man. Sega/Gremlin agreed to pay Konami $3,500 per day for a 60-day licensing window. A prototype was playtested in a San Diego bar and was so successful that distributors agreed to resell the game based on the test alone.[11]

Wanting to broaden the player base demographics,[12] Jack Gordon, the director of video game sales at Sega/Gremlin, noted that women shied away from the "shoot em' ups" on the market and that games like Frogger "filled the void".[13]

Ports[edit]

Frogger disk by Sierra On-Line for IBM PC

Frogger was ported to many contemporary home systems. Several platforms such as the Commodore 64 support both ROM cartridges and magnetic media, so they received multiple versions of the game.[14]

Sierra On-Line gained the magnetic media rights and sublicensed them to developers who published for systems not normally supported by Sierra. Cornsoft published the official TRS-80/Dragon 32, Timex Sinclair 1000, and Timex Sinclair 2068 ports. Because of that, even the Atari 2600 received multiple releases: a cartridge and a cassette for the Supercharger. Sierra released disk or tape versions for the Commodore 64, Apple II, the original Macintosh, IBM PC, and Atari 2600 Supercharger, and cartridge versions for the TRS-80 Color Computer

Parker Brothers received the license from Sega for cartridge versions and produced cartridge versions for the Atari 2600, Intellivision, Atari 5200, ColecoVision, Atari 8-bit family, TI-99/4A, VIC-20, and Commodore 64. Parker Brothers spent $10 million on advertising Frogger.[15] The Atari 2600 version was programmed by Ed English.[16]

Coleco released stand-alone Mini-Arcade tabletop versions of Frogger, which, along with Pac-Man, Galaxian, and Donkey Kong, had three million sales combined.[17]

The game was ported to systems such as the PC-6001 and Game Boy.[18] Frogger is one of the 6 launch games for the 1983 Gakken Compact Vision TV Boy.

Reception[edit]

Frogger's appeal was seen to lack barriers of age or gender.[27] Its success increased production, becoming one of the top-grossing arcade games in North America during 1981.[28] The arcade game earned over $135 million (equivalent to $402 million in 2021) for Sega/Gremlin in US cabinet sales, becoming the most successful Sega/Gremlin release.[10] In Japan, Frogger was the 12th highest-grossing arcade game of 1981.[29]

Home versions of Frogger had high sales. The 1982 Atari 2600 version earned its publisher Parker Brothers $40 million in orders upon launch.[30] By the end of the year, 4 million Atari 2600 cartridges were sold with $80,000,000 (equivalent to $225,000,000 in 2021) in wholesale revenue.[16] It became the company's most successful first-year product, beating the sales and revenues of its previous best-seller, Merlin.[31] By 2005, 20 million copies of the various home versions had been sold worldwide by 2005, including 5 million in the United States.[32]

In 1981, Computer and Video Games reviewed the arcade game as "one of the popular new generation of arcade games which are getting way from space themes".[21] In his 1982 book Video Invaders, Steve Bloom described Frogger as a "climbing game" along with Space Panic (1980) and Nintendo's Donkey Kong (1981). He said it was one of the "most exciting variations" on Pac-Man's maze theme along with Donkey Kong due to how players need to "scale from the bottom of the screen to the top" which make them "more like obstacle courses than mazes" since "you always know where you're going — up."[33] Brett Alan Weiss of AllGame later reviewed the arcade game, calling it one of "the most beloved videogames ever created" and "pure, undiluted gaming at its finest". He said the "graphics are cute and detailed, the sound effects are crisp and clear, and the controls are sharp and responsive".[19]

Arcade Express reviewed the Atari VCS version in 1982, calling it "a highly authentic translation of the coin-op hit" that combines "great graphics with sophisticated play action".[22] Ed Driscoll reviewed the Atari VCS version in The Space Gamer, commenting that, "All in all, if you liked the arcade version, this should save you a lot of quarters. The price is in line with most cartridges. It also proves that Atari isn't the only one making home versions of the major arcade games for the VCS."[26] Danny Goodman of Creative Computing Video & Arcade Games wrote in 1983 that the Atari 2600 version "is one of the most detailed translations I have seen", noting the addition of the wraparound screen.[24] In 2013, Entertainment Weekly named Frogger one of the top ten games for the Atari 2600.[34]

Legacy[edit]

Remakes and sequels[edit]

In 1997, Hasbro Interactive released Frogger, a vastly expanded remake of the original for Windows and the PlayStation. Unlike the original, it consists of multiple different levels. It was a commercial success, with Windows sales alone at nearly one million units in less than four months.[35] In 1998, Hasbro released a series of versions of the original game for the Sega Genesis, Super NES, Game com, Game Boy, and Game Boy Color. Each version has different graphics, with the Genesis version having the same as the original arcade game. The Genesis and SNES versions are the last games released for those consoles in North America.[36] Though using the same box art, they are otherwise unrelated to the 1997 remake.

In 2005, InfoSpace worked with Konami Digital Entertainment to create the mobile game Frogger for Prizes,[37] in which players across the U.S. competed 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.[38] A Java version was released for compatible mobile phones.

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 was replaced, including the familiar Frogger theme. This version is in the compilation Konami Classics Vol. 1.

The original 1981 arcade version joined the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 Arcade Archives on December 12, 2019.[39][40]

A remake of the game has been announced for release exclusively for the Intellivision Amico.[41]

The home versions of Frogger had numerous sequels, remakes, and spin-offs:

Clones[edit]

Unofficial clones include Ribbit for the Apple II (1981), Acornsoft's Hopper (1983) for the BBC Micro and Acorn Electron, A&F Software's Frogger (1983) for BBC Micro and ZX Spectrum, PSS's (Personal Software Services) Hopper for the ORIC 1 in the UK (1983) and a later release for the ORIC Atmos, Froggy for the ZX Spectrum released by DJL Software (1984), Solo Software's Frogger for the Sharp MZ-700 (1984) in the UK, and Leap Frog for the NewBrain.

Several clones retain the basic gameplay of Frogger and change the style or plot. Pacific Coast Highway (1982), for the Atari 8-bit family, splits the gameplay into two alternating screens: one for the highway, one for the water.[45] Preppie! (1982), for the Atari 8-bit family, changes the frog to a preppy retrieving golf balls at a country club. Frostbite (1983), for the Atari 2600, uses the Frogger river gameplay with an arctic theme. Crossy Road (2014), for iOS, Android and Windows Phone, has a randomly generated series of road and river sections in one endless level, with only one life and a single point given for each forward hop.

In popular culture[edit]

  • In 1983, Frogger made its animated television debut as a segment on CBS's Saturday Supercade cartoon lineup. Frogger, voiced by Bob Sarlatte, worked as an investigative reporter.
  • On the 1984 Bad Religion album "Back to the Known", the song "Frogger" describes Los Angeles traffic as "playing Frogger with my life". The song uses a sample from the game as its intro.
  • In the 1998 Seinfeld episode "The Frogger",[46] Jerry and George visit a soon-to-be-closed pizzeria they frequented as teenagers and discover the Frogger machine still in place, with George's decade-old high score still recorded.
  • Frogger appears in the films Wreck-It Ralph,[47] Pixels,[48] and Ralph Breaks the Internet.[citation needed]
  • A scene in the Teen Titans episode "Cyborg the Barbarian" parodies the game.
  • In 2006, a group in Austin, Texas, used a modified Roomba dressed as Frogger to play a real-life version of the game.[49]
  • In science, Frogger is the name given to a transposon ("jumping gene") family in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster.[50]
  • In 2008, the City of Melbourne created a spin-off called Grogger as part of a public service campaign to encourage people to take safe transportation home after a night of drinking.[51]

Game show[edit]

Konami announced that a Frogger game show was in production for Peacock, produced by Konami Cross Media NY and Eureka Productions. It debuted on September 9, 2021.[52][53]

Competition[edit]

On November 26, 1999, Rickey's World Famous Sauce offered $10,000 to the first person who could score 1,000,000 points on Frogger or $1,000 for a new world record prior to January 1, 2000.[54][55] On March 25, 2005, Robert Mruczek offered $1,000 for beating the fictitious world record of 860,630 as set by George Costanza in an episode of Seinfeld or $250 for a new world record by the end of that year.[56][57] On December 1, 2006, John Cunningham offered $250 for exceeding the same fictitious world record of 860,630 points by February 28, 2007.[58] These scores were surpassed only after the bounties had all expired.

The first score to have been verified as having beaten George Costanza's fictional score of 860,630 points was set by Pat Laffaye on December 22, 2009, with 896,980 points.[59] This was surpassed by Michael Smith of Springfield, Virginia, with a score of 970,440 points on July 15, 2012.[60] The current Frogger world record holder is Pat Laffaye, scoring 1,029,990 points on August 15, 2017, becoming the first and only person to break one million points on an original arcade machine.[61][62]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Japanese: フロッガー, Hepburn: Furoggā

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Manufacturers Equipment". Cash Box. Cash Box Pub. Co. January 16, 1982. p. 37.
  2. ^ Akagi, Masumi (October 13, 2006). アーケードTVゲームリスト国内•海外編(1971-2005) [Arcade TV Game List: Domestic • Overseas Edition (1971-2005)] (in Japanese). Japan: Amusement News Agency. p. 131. ISBN 978-4990251215.
  3. ^ Akagi, Masumi (October 13, 2006). アーケードTVゲームリスト国内•海外編(1971-2005) [Arcade TV Game List: Domestic • Overseas Edition (1971-2005)] (in Japanese). Japan: Amusement News Agency. p. 27. ISBN 978-4990251215.
  4. ^ a b Daniel Hower; Eric Jacobson. "Video Game Flyers: Frogger, Konami". The Arcade Flyer Archive. Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  5. ^ a b c "Page for Overseas Readers - Sega of Japan got all rights of "Frogger" from Konami" (PDF). Game Machine (in Japanese). No. 172. Amusement Press, Inc. September 1, 1981. p. 20. Retrieved December 17, 2019.
  6. ^ "Frogger DIP Switch Settings". International Arcade Museum.
  7. ^ Rose, Gary and Marcia (November 1982). "Frogger". Softline. p. 19. Retrieved July 27, 2014.
  8. ^ "Classic Arcade Games For Sale | ArcadeClassics.net". arcadeclassics.net. Retrieved May 6, 2020.
  9. ^ "Frogger (Registration Number TX0000815705)". United States Copyright Office. Retrieved June 1, 2021.
  10. ^ a b c Horowitz, Ken (June 22, 2018). The Sega Arcade Revolution: A History in 62 Games. McFarland & Company. pp. 36–42. ISBN 978-1-4766-7225-0.
  11. ^ Horowitz, Ken (June 14, 2018). "The Sega Arcade Revolution". McFarland. pp. 36–40.
  12. ^ "How To Cope With Success Is Focus Of AMOA Expo '81". Cashbox. October 31, 1981.
  13. ^ "How To Cope With Success Is Focus Of AMOA Expo '81 (continued)". Cashbox. October 31, 1981.
  14. ^ Moriarty, Tim (May 1984). "Frogger". Ahoy!. pp. 52–53. Retrieved June 27, 2014.
  15. ^ Harmetz, Aljean (January 15, 1983). "New Faces, More Profits For Video Games". Times-Union. p. 18. Retrieved February 28, 2012.
  16. ^ a b "Ed English: 2600 (Frogger, Mr. Do!, Roc 'n Rope)" (PDF). Digital Press. No. 52. May–June 2003. p. 7. Retrieved April 19, 2021.
  17. ^ "More Mini-Arcades A Comin'". Electronic Games. Vol. 4, no. 16. June 1983. p. 10. Retrieved February 1, 2012.
  18. ^ "1981". Sega Arcade History. Famitsu DC (in Japanese). Enterbrain. 2002. pp. 43–4.
  19. ^ a b Weiss, Brett Alan. "Frogger - Review". AllGame. Archived from the original on November 14, 2014. Retrieved August 18, 2017.
  20. ^ Weiss, Brett Alan. "Frogger (Atari Video Computer System) - Review". AllGame. Archived from the original on November 14, 2014. Retrieved April 19, 2021.
  21. ^ a b "Arcade Action". Computer and Video Games. No. 2 (December 1981). November 18, 1981. pp. 30–1.
  22. ^ a b "The Hotseat: Reviews of New Products" (PDF). Arcade Express. Vol. 1, no. 3. September 12, 1982. pp. 6–7. Retrieved April 19, 2021.
  23. ^ a b "1985 Software Buyer's Guide". Computer Games. Vol. 3, no. 5. February 1985. pp. 11–8.
  24. ^ a b Goodman, Danny (Spring 1983). "Home Video Games: Video Games Update". Creative Computing Video & Arcade Games. p. 32.
  25. ^ "Video Game Explosion! We rate every game in the world". Electronic Fun with Computers & Games. Vol. 1, no. 2. December 1982. pp. 12–7.
  26. ^ a b Driscoll, Ed (December 1982). "Capsule Reviews". The Space Gamer. No. 58. Steve Jackson Games. p. 48.
  27. ^ "Chicago Chatter: Dateline San Diego". Cashbox. October 3, 1981.
  28. ^ "Sega/Gremlin Steps Up Production of 'Frogger' Video, Bows Cocktail". Cashbox. November 28, 1981.
  29. ^ ""Donkey Kong" No.1 Of '81 — Game Machine's Survey Of "The Year's Best Three AM Machines" —" (PDF). Game Machine. No. 182. Amusement Press, Inc. February 15, 1982. p. 30.
  30. ^ Wojahn, Ellen (2003). The General Mills/Parker Brothers Merger: Playing by Different Rules. Beard Books. p. 139. ISBN 978-1-58798-182-1.
  31. ^ Rosenberg, Ron (December 11, 1982). "Competitors Claim Role in Warner Setback". The Boston Globe. p. 1. Archived from the original on November 7, 2012. Retrieved March 6, 2012.
  32. ^ "Konami's Frogger and Castlevania Nominated for Walk of Game Star" (Press release). Konami. October 11, 2005. Archived from the original on February 2, 2013. Retrieved March 21, 2009.
  33. ^ Bloom, Steve (1982). Video Invaders. Arco Publishing. pp. 29, 42. ISBN 978-0668055208.
  34. ^ Morales, Aaron (January 25, 2013). "The 10 best Atari games". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved April 17, 2016.
  35. ^ 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. ProQuest 405201946. Retrieved March 28, 2022 – via ProQuest. Just before the holidays, Hasbro Interactive introduced a PC version of Frogger; in less than four months, it has sold nearly one million units
  36. ^ Rignall, Jaz (December 27, 2015). "System Swan Songs: The Last Games Released on the Greatest Consoles". USGamer. Retrieved July 25, 2019.
  37. ^ Video Game News – Konami Digital Entertainment and InfoSpace Partner to Create Mobile Game Frogger for Prizes Archived 2011-07-11 at the Wayback Machine
  38. ^ "Frogger Mobile Games Exceed $10 Million In The US". GameZone. September 12, 2006. Retrieved April 20, 2012.
  39. ^ "Arcade Archives | HAMSTER Corporation". www.hamster.co.jp. Retrieved March 28, 2020.
  40. ^ "Guide: Every Arcade Archives Game On Nintendo Switch, Plus Our Top Picks". Nintendo Life. March 13, 2020. Retrieved March 28, 2020.
  41. ^ a b Salazar-Moreno, Quibian (March 17, 2020). "Intellivision shows off more games for its Amico console". GameCrate. Archived from the original on August 10, 2020. Retrieved March 28, 2022.
  42. ^ Konami Mobile: Frogger Archived September 29, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  43. ^ "Konami reveals new screenshots for Frogger Returns" (PDF). Konami Digital Entertainment. November 4, 2009. Retrieved November 9, 2009.[dead link]
  44. ^ "コナミ商品検索". Konami.jp. Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  45. ^ Atari 8-bit – Pacific Coast Highway [Datasoft] 1982. Archived from the original on December 21, 2021 – via YouTube.
  46. ^ ""Seinfeld" The Frogger (1998)". Imdb.com. Retrieved February 9, 2011.
  47. ^ "Wreck-It Ralph Trailer". September 13, 2012. Archived from the original on December 21, 2021. Retrieved October 13, 2012 – via YouTube.
  48. ^ "Classic video game characters unite via film 'Pixels'". Philstar. July 23, 2014. Retrieved July 23, 2014.
  49. ^ Terdiman, Daniel. "Roomba takes Frogger to the asphalt jungle - CNET News.com". News.com.com. Retrieved February 9, 2011.
  50. ^ "FlyBase Transposon Report: Dmel\Frogger". Flybase.org. Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  51. ^ "Grogger flash game encourages Aussies to think when they drink". Destructoid.com. December 5, 2008. Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  52. ^ "Frogger goes hopping to TV". Twitter. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
  53. ^ "Frogger Gameshow Series Coming to Peacock". IGN. February 23, 2021. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
  54. ^ "$100,000 Prize Offered to Pac-Man Players". Recordholders.org. Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  55. ^ "Rickey's World Famous Sauce bounties". Classicarcadegaming.com. Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  56. ^ "Robert Mruczek Arcade Bounties". Spyhunter007.com. Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  57. ^ "Gaming's Top Ref Pays Big Bucks For Record Breaking-Scores". Mtv.com. Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  58. ^ "Golden Era Game of the Week 12/2/06: Frogger". Forums.marpic.net. Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  59. ^ Mastrapa, Gus. "Gamer Beats George Costanza's Frogger Score". Wired. Retrieved July 8, 2015.
  60. ^ "Classic Frogger arcade world record squashed once again". Patrickscottpatterson.com. Retrieved November 17, 2012.
  61. ^ "Impossible One Million Point Score Made On The Arcade Classic Frogger". Prlog.org. Retrieved August 27, 2017.
  62. ^ "Pat Laffaye 'owns' arcade Frogger, at 1,029,990 !". Classicarccadegaming.com. Retrieved August 27, 2017.

External links[edit]