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Xbox Live Arcade cover art
|Genre(s)||Overhead view action|
|Mode(s)||Up to 2 players, alternating turns|
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 (フロッガー) 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. The Frogger arcade ("coin-op") version is an early example of a game with more than one CPU, as it used two Z80 processors.
By 2005, Frogger in its various home video game incarnations had sold 20 million copies worldwide, including 5 million in the United States.
Gameplay (Arcade version)
The game starts with three, five, or seven frogs (lives), depending on the settings used by the operator. The player guides a frog which starts at the bottom of the screen, to his home in one of 5 slots at the top 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 (1 minute); the player must act quickly to finish each level before the time expires.
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. 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 and alligators except the alligator jaws, the player can guide his or her frog safely to one of the empty lily pads. The player must avoid alligators sticking out at one of the five "frog homes", 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 level, with increased difficulty. 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'". 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 into 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
- Running out of time
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. The US release also has "Yankee Doodle Dandy".
- Every safe step (10 points).
- Every frog arriving home (50 points plus 10 per unused second).
- Guiding lady frog home and/or eating fly (200 points).
- When all 5 frogs are home to end the level (1,000 points).
Players earn an extra life at 10,000 or 20,000 points, and none thereafter. Ofttimes, no extra lives.
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. In 2013, Entertainment Weekly named Frogger one of the top ten games for the Atari 2600.
Frogger was ported to many contemporary home systems. 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, so those systems, such as the Commodore 64, received multiple versions of the game. 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/Dragon 32, Timex Sinclair 1000 and Timex Sinclair 2068 ports). Because of that, 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 itself, although it is not clear if Tomy further 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, as well as the above-mentioned versions for the TRS-80 Color Computer A version for 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. Parker Brothers sold three 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, its previous best-seller. 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.
A prototype game, based on gameplay elements of Frogger, was developed for Sega Game Gear but never released, presumably due to legal disagreement between Sega and Konami. The prototype wasn't a direct port of the arcade game, because it had additional features and redesigned levels.
Hasbro Interactive released a vastly expanded remake of the original for Microsoft Windows and the PlayStation in 1997 (in this game, Frogger is green with an orange stripe). 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.
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 in particular featuring the same graphics of the original arcade game. The Sega Genesis and SNES versions are notable for both being the last games released for those consoles in North America. Despite using the same box art of the 1997 remake, the ports are otherwise unrelated to that game.
In 2005, InfoSpace teamed up with Konami Digital Entertainment to create the mobile game Frogger for Prizes, 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. 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.
In addition to the official releases, there are numerous unofficial clones including Ribbit for the Apple II in 1981, 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.
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
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.
Unlike the arcade version, the home versions had numerous sequels, including:
- Frogger II: ThreeeDeep! (1984)
- Frogger (1997)
- Frogger (Tiger Electronic) (1998, LCD Game)
- Frogger 2: Swampy's Revenge (2000)
- Frogger: The Great Quest (2001)
- Frogger's Adventures: Temple of the Frog (2001)
- Frogger Advance: The Great Quest (2002)
- Frogger Beyond (2002)
- Frogger's Adventures 2: The Lost Wand (2002)
- Frogger's Journey: The Forgotten Relic (2003)
- Frogger's Adventures: The Rescue (2003)
- Frogger: Ancient Shadow (2005)
- Frogger: Helmet Chaos (2005)
- Frogger Puzzle (2005)
- Frogger's 25 Anniversary (Xbox 360) (2006)
- Frogger 25th, Frogger Evolution (mobile game) (2006)
- My Frogger Toy Trials (Nintendo DS) (2006)
- Frogger Launch (2007)
- Frogger Hop Trivia (arcade) (2007)
- Frogger 2 (Xbox 360) (2008), the third game to call itself "Frogger 2", for Xbox Live Arcade
- Frogger Returns (Wii/PlayStation 3) (2009)
- Frogger Beats 'n' Bounces (2008)
- Frogger Inferno (iOS) (2010)
- Frogger (Windows Phone) (2010)
- Frogger 3D (Nintendo 3DS) (2011)
- Frogger Decades (iOS) (2011)
- Frogger Free (iOS) (2011)
- Frogger: Hyper Arcade Edition (Wii) / (PlayStation 3) / (Xbox 360) (2012)
- "Frogger Free" (iPhone/ Android) (2012)
- Frogger's Crackout (Windows Store) (September 11, 2013)
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
In film and television
- 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. The Frogger segment only lasted one season.
- In 1998, the game was featured in the Seinfeld episode "The Frogger". 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 let players enter their initials).
- Frogger appears in the films Wreck-It Ralph and Pixels.
- 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.
- Bad Religion recorded a song called "Frogger" about the traffic in Los Angeles, in which the singer claims to be "playing Frogger with my life."
- In 2006, a group in Austin, Texas used a modified Roomba dressed as Frogger to play a real-life version of the game.
- Frogger is the name given to a transposon ("jumping gene") family in the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster.
On July 15, 2012, Michael Smith of Springfield, Virginia, USA, scored a Frogger world record high score of 970,440 points. 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.
- Frogger at the Killer List of Videogames
- "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.
- Rose, Gary and Marcia (November 1982). "Frogger". Softline. p. 19. Retrieved 27 July 2014.
- Morales, Aaron (January 25, 2013). "The 10 best Atari games". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved April 17, 2016.
- Moriarty, Tim (May 1984). "Frogger". Ahoy!. pp. 52–53. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
- Harmetz, Aljean (January 15, 1983). "New Faces, More Profits For Video Games". Times-Union. p. 18. Retrieved 28 February 2012.
- Rosenberg, Ron (December 11, 1982). "Competitors Claim Role in Warner Setback". The Boston Globe. p. 1. Retrieved 6 March 2012.
- "More Mini-Arcades A Comin'". Electronic Games. 4 (16): 10. June 1983. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
- 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
- Video Game News – Konami Digital Entertainment and InfoSpace Partner to Create Mobile Game Frogger for Prizes
- "Frogger Mobile Games Exceed $10 Million In The US". GameZone. September 12, 2006. Retrieved 20 April 2012.
- "Atari 8-bit – Pacific Coast Highway [Datasoft] 1982". YouTube.
- Konami Mobile: Frogger Archived September 29, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
- "Konami reveals new screenshots for Frogger Returns" (PDF). Konami Digital Entertainment. 4 November 2009. Retrieved 9 November 2009.[dead link]
- Konami Company Information (Japanese)
- ""Seinfeld" The Frogger (1998)". Imdb.com. Retrieved 2011-02-09.
- disneyanimation (2012-09-13). "Wreck-It Ralph Trailer". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-10-13.
- "Classic video game characters unite via film 'Pixels'". Philstar. July 23, 2014. Retrieved July 23, 2014.
- Terdiman, Daniel. "Roomba takes Frogger to the asphalt jungle - CNET News.com". News.com.com. Retrieved 2011-02-09.
- "FlyBase Transposon Report: Dmel\Frogger".
- "Classic Frogger arcade world record squashed once again". Retrieved 17 November 2012.
- "Twin Galaxies' Frogger High Score Rankings". Retrieved 1 January 2010.
- Moriarty, Tim (May 1984). "Frogger". Ahoy! Magazine. pp. 52–53. Retrieved 25 April 2015.