Frogger

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Frogger
Frogger 1 xbla cover.jpg
Xbox Live Arcade cover art
Developer(s)Konami
Publisher(s)
SeriesFrogger
Platform(s)Arcade
various
Release
  • JP: June 5, 1981
  • NA: October 23, 1981
  • EU: August 6, 1982[1]
Genre(s)Overhead view action
Mode(s)Up to 2 players, alternating turns
CabinetUpright
CPU2x Z80:
Z80 (@ 3.072 MHz)
Z80 (@ 1.78975 MHz)
SoundSound CPU: Z80 (@ 1.78975 MHz)
Sound Chips: AY8910 (@ 1.78975 MHz)
DisplayRaster, 224 x 256 pixels (Vertical), 99 colors

Frogger (フロッガー (Furoggā)) is a 1981 arcade game developed by Konami. It was licensed for North American distribution by Sega-Gremlin and worldwide by Sega itself. It is regarded as a classic from the golden age of video arcade games, noted for its novel gameplay and theme. The object of the game is to direct frogs to their homes one by one by crossing a busy road and navigating a river full of hazards.

Frogger was positively received and followed by several clones and sequels. By 2005, Frogger in its various home video game incarnations had sold 20 million copies worldwide, including 5 million in the United States.[2] The game found its way into many areas of popular culture, such as television and music, as well as sparked healthy competition in the video game world.

Gameplay[edit]

Screenshot of arcade version

The game starts with three, five or seven frogs, depending on the settings used by the operator. These are counted as the player's lives, and losing them results in the end of the game, or "game over." The only player control is the 4 direction joystick used to navigate the frog; each push in a direction causes the frog to hop once in that direction. The number of simultaneous players is one, and the game has a maximum of two players.

The objective of the game is to guide each frog to one of the designated spaces at the top of the screen, also known as "frog homes." The frog starts at the bottom of the screen, which contains a road with motor vehicles, which in various versions include cars, trucks, buses, dune buggies, bulldozers, vans, taxis, bicyclists and motorcycles, speeding along it horizontally. The player must guide the frog between opposing lanes of traffic to avoid becoming roadkill, which results in a loss of one life. After the road, there is a median strip where the player must prepare to navigate the river. The upper portion of the screen 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 their frog to safety. While navigating the river, the player must also avoid the open mouths of alligators, snakes, and otters. The very top of the screen contains five "frog homes," which are the destinations for each frog. The player must avoid alligators sticking out of the five "frog homes," but may catch bugs or escort a lady frog which appear periodically for bonuses.

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: being hit by or running into a road vehicle, jumping into the river's water, running into snakes, otters or an alligator's jaws in the river, jumping into a home invaded by an alligator, staying on top of a diving turtle until it has completely submerged, 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 directed home, the game progresses to the next level with increased difficulty. After five levels, the game gets briefly easier before yet again getting progressively harder after each level. The player has 30 seconds to guide each frog into one of the homes; this timer resets whenever a life is lost or a frog reaches home safely.

Every forward step scores 10 points, and every frog arriving safely home scores 50 points. 10 points are also awarded per each unused ​12 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 bonus frog is given at 10K or 20K, and none thereafter. 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.[citation needed]

The game's opening tune is the first verse of a Japanese children's song called Inu No Omawarisan (The Dog Policeman). Other Japanese tunes that are played during gameplay include the themes to the anime Hana no Ko Lunlun and Araiguma Rascal. The United States release kept the opening song intact, and added "Yankee Doodle Dandy".

Reception[edit]

Reception
Review score
PublicationScore
AllGame5/5 stars[4]

Danny Goodman of Creative Computing Video & Arcade Games wrote in 1983 that the Atari 2600 version of Frogger "is one of the most detailed translations I have seen", noting the addition of the wraparound screen.[5]

In 2013, Entertainment Weekly named Frogger one of the top ten games for the Atari 2600.[6]

Licensing and ports[edit]

Frogger was ported to many contemporary home systems, meaning its software was adapted to be used on different systems. Several platforms were capable of accepting both ROM cartridges and magnetic media, so systems such as the Commodore 64 received multiple versions of the game.[7]

Frogger disk by Sierra for PC.

Sierra Entertainment gained the magnetic media rights and sublicensed them to developers who published for systems not normally supported by Sierra (e.g. 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 and/or tape ports for the C64, Apple II, the original 128k Macintosh, IBM PC, Atari 2600 Supercharger, as well as cartridge versions for the TRS-80 Color Computer A version for Sinclair developed by UK-based Cornsoft.[citation needed]

Parker Brothers received the license from Sega for cartridge versions and produced cartridge ports of Frogger for the Atari 2600, Intellivision, Atari 5200, ColecoVision, Atari 8-bit computers, Texas Instruments TI-99/4A, Commodore VIC-20 and 64. Parker Brothers spent $10 million on advertising Frogger and sold three million cartridges.[8] Frogger was the company's most successful first-year product, beating the sales and revenues of its previous best-seller, Merlin.[9]

Coleco also released stand-alone Mini-Arcade tabletop versions of Frogger, which, along with Pac-Man, Galaxian, and Donkey Kong, sold three million units combined.[10]

Hasbro Interactive released a vastly expanded remake of the original for Microsoft Windows and the PlayStation in 1997. Unlike the original, the game consisted of multiple levels, each different than the preceding one. It was a commercial success, with the PC version alone selling nearly one million units in less than four months.[11] In 1998, Hasbro released a series of ports of the original game for the Sega Genesis, Super NES, Game com, Game Boy, and Game Boy Color. Each port featured the game with different graphics, with the Sega Genesis port featuring the same graphics of the original arcade game. The Sega Genesis and SNES versions are notable for being the last games released for those consoles in North America.[citation needed] Despite using the same box art of the 1997 remake, the ports are otherwise unrelated to the 1997 game.

In 2005, InfoSpace teamed up with Konami Digital Entertainment to create the mobile game Frogger for Prizes,[12] 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.[13] A Java port of the game is available for compatible mobile phones.

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.

Legacy[edit]

Sequels[edit]

The home versions of Frogger had numerous sequels, including:

From Frogger: The Great Quest to Frogger: Helmet Chaos, Frogger is shown as bipedal, wearing a shirt with a crossed-out truck.[citation needed]

Frogger also inspired an unofficial sequel by Sega in 1991 called Ribbit, which featured improved graphics and simultaneous two-player action. Additionally, a prototype game, based on gameplay elements of Frogger, was developed for Sega Game Gear but never released.[citation needed] The prototype contained additional features and redesigned levels.

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 a version for the NewBrain under the name Leap Frog.

Several clones retained the basic gameplay of Frogger while changing the style and/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.[17] 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. The game is one endless level, with only one life and a single point given for each forward hop.

The Atari 2600 game Freeway is often considered a clone of Frogger, but each game was developed independently of the other,[citation needed] and both were released in 1981.

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.[18]

In popular culture[edit]

Frogger is tied to American popular culture and can be found in film, television, music, and more. In 1983, Frogger made its animated television debut as a segment on CBS' Saturday Supercade cartoon lineup. Frogger was voiced by Bob Sarlatte and worked as an investigative reporter and aired for one season.[citation needed] In 1998, the game was featured in the Seinfeld episode "The Frogger".[19] 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. He buys the machine and tries to get it across the street without letting it lose power, which would erase the high score with his initials "GLC". In the Season 4 episode of George Lopez "Friends Don't Let Friends Marry Drunks", George says to his son Max "play the one where the frog tries to cross the street", an obvious reference to Frogger.[citation needed] Frogger also appears in the films Wreck-It Ralph[20] and Pixels.[21]

Music in which Frogger is referenced can also be found. 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.[citation needed] Punk band Bad Religion recorded a song called "Frogger" about the traffic in Los Angeles. In the song, which includes a sample of the game's theme music at the beginning, frontman Greg Graffin claims to be "playing Frogger with my life", as a result of the traffic. The song was included on the band's 1985 EP Back to the Known and 2004 remaster of their debut album How Could Hell Be Any Worse?.[citation needed] The UK girl group, Sugababes, sampled the coin-insert tone of a Frogger game in their 2002 hit single Freak Like Me.[citation needed]

In addition to film, television, and music, Frogger can be found in popular culture in other mediums as well. In 2006, a group in Austin, Texas used a modified Roomba dressed as Frogger to play a real-life version of the game.[22] In the realm of science, Frogger is the name given to a transposon ("jumping gene") family in the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster.[23]

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.[24][25] On March 25, 2005, Robert Mruczek offered $1,000 for beating the fictitious world record of 860,630 as set by George Costanza in the famous episode of Seinfeld or $250 for a new world record by the end of that year.[26][27] On December 1, 2006, John Cunningham offered $250 for exceeding the same fictitious world record of 860,630 points by February 28, 2007.[28] No one was ever able to achieve any of the bounties, and these scores were surpassed only after the bounties had all expired.

The first score to have been verified as having beaten the fictional George Costanza Seinfeld score of 860,630 points was set by Pat Laffaye on December 22, 2009 with 896,980 points.[29] This was surpassed by Michael Smith of Springfield, Virginia, USA with a score of 970,440 points on July 15, 2012.[30] The current Frogger world record holder is Pat Laffaye of Westport, Connecticut, USA. On August 15, 2017, he scored 1,029,990 points, becoming the first and only person ever to break one million points on an original arcade machine.[31][32]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Daniel Hower; Eric Jacobson. "The Arcade Flyer Archive - Video Game Flyers: Frogger, Konami". Flyers.arcade-museum.com. Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  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 (November 1982). "Frogger". Softline. p. 19. Retrieved 27 July 2014.
  4. ^ Weiss, Brett Alan. "Frogger - Review". AllGame. Archived from the original on November 14, 2014. Retrieved August 18, 2017.
  5. ^ Goodman, Danny (Spring 1983). "Home Video Games: Video Games Update". Creative Computing Video & Arcade Games. p. 32.
  6. ^ Morales, Aaron (January 25, 2013). "The 10 best Atari games". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved April 17, 2016.
  7. ^ Moriarty, Tim (May 1984). "Frogger". Ahoy!. pp. 52–53. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
  8. ^ Harmetz, Aljean (January 15, 1983). "New Faces, More Profits For Video Games". Times-Union. p. 18. Retrieved 28 February 2012.
  9. ^ Rosenberg, Ron (December 11, 1982). "Competitors Claim Role in Warner Setback". The Boston Globe. p. 1. Retrieved 6 March 2012.
  10. ^ "More Mini-Arcades A Comin'". Electronic Games. 4 (16): 10. June 1983. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
  11. ^ 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
  12. ^ Video Game News – Konami Digital Entertainment and InfoSpace Partner to Create Mobile Game Frogger for Prizes Archived 2011-07-11 at the Wayback Machine.
  13. ^ "Frogger Mobile Games Exceed $10 Million In The US". GameZone. September 12, 2006. Retrieved 20 April 2012.
  14. ^ Konami Mobile: Frogger Archived September 29, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  15. ^ "Konami reveals new screenshots for Frogger Returns" (PDF). Konami Digital Entertainment. 4 November 2009. Retrieved 9 November 2009.[dead link]
  16. ^ "コナミ商品検索". Konami.jp. Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  17. ^ "Atari 8-bit – Pacific Coast Highway [Datasoft] 1982". =YouTube.
  18. ^ "Grogger flash game encourages Aussies to think when they drink". Destructoid.com. Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  19. ^ ""Seinfeld" The Frogger (1998)". Imdb.com. Retrieved 2011-02-09.
  20. ^ "Wreck-It Ralph Trailer". YouTube. 2012-09-13. Retrieved 2012-10-13.
  21. ^ "Classic video game characters unite via film 'Pixels'". Philstar. July 23, 2014. Retrieved July 23, 2014.
  22. ^ Terdiman, Daniel. "Roomba takes Frogger to the asphalt jungle - CNET News.com". News.com.com. Retrieved 2011-02-09.
  23. ^ "FlyBase Transposon Report: Dmel\Frogger". Flybase.org. Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  24. ^ "$100,000 Prize Offered to Pac-Man Players". Recordholders.org. Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  25. ^ "Rickey's World Famous Sauce bounties". Classicarcadegaming.com. Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  26. ^ "Robert Mruczek Arcade Bounties". Spyhunter007.com. Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  27. ^ "Gaming's Top Ref Pays Big Bucks For Record Breaking-Scores". Mtv.com. Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  28. ^ "Golden Era Game of the Week 12/2/06: Frogger". Forums.marpic.net. Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  29. ^ "Gamer Beats George Costanza's Frogger Score". Wired.com. Retrieved 8 July 2015.
  30. ^ "Classic Frogger arcade world record squashed once again". Patrickscottpatterson.com. Retrieved 17 November 2012.
  31. ^ "Impossible One Million Point Score Made On The Arcade Classic Frogger". Prlog.org. Retrieved 27 August 2017.
  32. ^ "Pat Laffaye 'owns' arcade Frogger, at 1,029,990 !". Classicarccadegaming.com. Retrieved 27 August 2017.

External links[edit]