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Frogger

Frogger

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Frogger is an arcade game introduced in 1981. It was licensed for worldwide distribution by Sega/Gremlin, and developed by Konami. The game is regarded as a classic and was noted for its novel game play and theme. Frogger is still popular and versions can be found on many Internet game sites.

Overview

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. The skillful player may obtain bonuses along the way.

Description

The player starts with three 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, taxis,bicyclists. and/or motorcycles, speeding along it horizontally. The upper half of the screen consists of a river with logs, alligators, and turtles, almost moving horizontally across the screen. The very top of the screen contains five "frog homes" which are the goals 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 road kill.

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 lily pads. 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.

There are more ways to lose a turn in this game than the typical video games of the era. Players lose a turn if the frog:

  • Gets hit by traffic
  • Gets struck by a snake in the median strip or on a floating log
  • Misses a log or turtle and ends up in the water
  • Runs off the screen on a floating log or turtle
  • Stays on top of a "diving turtle" too long as it submerges
  • Jumps into the mouth of a floating alligator
  • Jumps into the mouth of an alligator in the dock
  • Gets eaten by an otter while on a turtle or end of a log
  • Misses the dock as he tries jumping into it
  • Jumps into a dock already occupied by a frog
  • Runs out of time before making it to the dock

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.

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

Scoring

  • Successful forward jump: 10 points.
  • Getting a frog home: 50 points.
  • For each remaining clock beat: 10 points.
  • Escorting a lady frog home: 200 points bonus.
  • Catching a fly: 200 points.
  • Getting all five frogs home: 1,000 points.

Legacy

The game was originally going to be titled "Highway Crossing Frog," but the executives at Sega felt it did not capture the true nature of the game and was changed simply to "Frogger". 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.

Frogger is regarded as one of the "Top 10 Video games" of all time by the Killer List of Video games (KLOV).

The original "Highway Crossing Frog" was actually an exact copy of an earlier game called Freeway, developed in 1971 at the University of Washington Psychology Department on an IMLAC PDS-1 graphics minicomputer, as the "reward" part of a project related to studies of human short-term memory. Apparently, someone at Konami saw it and commercialized it. The Atari version was released in 1981, developed for the company by Ed English, who was also the programmer for Coleco's Mr. Do.

Ports and Clones

Like many games of the early 1980s, Frogger was ported to a wide variety of home systems for personal use. In the United States, Frogger was licensed by Sega to multiple companies for conversion: Parker Brothers held ROM-cartridge rights, while Sierra On-Line held magnetic-media rights. Several platforms were capable of accepting both ROM cartridges and magnetic media, thus these systems received multiple versions of the game. Sierra also sublicensed their magnetic-media rights to developers who published for systems not normally supported by Sierra; because of this, even the Atari 2600 received multiple releases: a cartridge from Parker Bros. and a cassette for the Supercharger from Starpath.

Official releases:

  • BR = Brazil
  • EU = Europe
  • JP = Japan
  • UK = United Kingdom
  • US = United States of America

Self-contained units:

  • LCD, US, Excalibur
  • LCD, US, Nelsonic
  • Plug and play, US, 2005, Majesco Sales as Frogger TV Arcade
  • Plug and play, US, 2005, Majesco Sales in Konami Collector's Series Arcade Advanced
  • Plug and play, US, 2006, VG Pocket Tablet
  • VFD, EU JP, CGL (EU), Gakken (JP)
  • VFD, US, Coleco

Releases for programmable systems:

  • Atari 2600, US, 1983, Parker Bros.
  • Atari 2600 for the Starpath Supercharger, US, 1983, Starpath
  • Atari 5200, US, 1983, Parker Bros. (developed by Sierra On-Line)
  • Atari 8-bit, US, 1983, Parker Bros.
  • Atari 8-bit, US, 1983, Sierra On-Line (cassette, disk), programmed by John Harris
  • BREW, US, 2003, Konami
  • ColecoVision, US, 1983, Parker Bros.
  • Commodore 64, US, 1983, Sierra On-Line (cassette, disk)
  • Commodore 64, US, 1983, Parker Bros.
  • Commodore VIC-20, US, 1983, Parker Bros.
  • Commodore VIC-20, US, 1983, Sierra On-Line (cassette)
  • Dragon 32, UK, 1983, Microdeal
  • Game Boy Advance, EU JP US, 2003, Konami in Konami Collector's Series Arcade Advanced
  • Game Boy Color, US, 1989, Majesco Sales, programmed by David Lubar
  • Game.com, US, 1999, Tiger
  • Game Gear, prototype only, Sega
  • Genesis, US, 1989, Majesco Sales
  • IBM compatible, US, 1983, Sierra On-Line
  • Intellivision, US, 1983, Parker Bros.
  • Macintosh, US, 1984, Sierra On-Line
  • MSX, JP, 1983, Konami
  • Philips Videopac, EU BR, 1983, Parker Bros.
  • Sega SG-1000, JP, 1983, Sega
  • Super NES, US, 1998, Majesco Sales, programmed by David Lubar
  • Timex Sinclair 1000, US, 1983, Cornsoft
  • TI99/4a, US, 1983, Parker Bros.
  • Tomy Pyuuta, JP, 1983, Tomy
  • TRS-80 (Model I), US, 1983, Cornsoft
  • TRS-80 Color Computer, US, 1983, Cornsoft
  • Xbox 360, US, 2006, Konami on Xbox Live Arcade

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.

Hasbro Interactive released a new version for Microsoft Windows and the PlayStation in 1997 (in this one, Frogger is green with an orange stripe). The port to the Mega Drive/Genesis in 1998 was the last game released for that system. It was also the last official North American release for the Super NES in 1998. The prototype developed for the Sega Game Gear was never released, presumably due to legal issues between Sega and Konami. A Java port of the game is currently available for compatible mobile phones.

In 2005, InfoSpace teamed up with Konami Digital Entertainment to create the mobile game Frogger for Prizes,[1] in which players across the U.S. compete in multiplayer tournaments to win daily and weekly prizes. Frogger was released on the Xbox Live Arcade for the Xbox 360 on July 12th 2006.

Sequels

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

  • Frogger II: Threedeep! (1984)
  • Frogger 3D (1997)
  • 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 (2001)
  • 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 for Prizes (mobile game) (2005) [2]
  • Frogger's 25 Anniversary (Xbox 360) (2006) [3]
  • Frogger 25th, Frogger Evolution (mobile game) (2006) [4]
  • My Frogger Toy Trials (Nintendo DS) (2006)

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.

Frogger in Popular Culture

In Film and Television

  • 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.
  • The game was featured in the 23 April 1998 episode of Seinfeld (episode #168, "The Frogger").[5] Jerry Seinfeld and George Costanza visit a soon-to-be-closed restaurant they frequented as teenagers and discover the Frogger machine still in place, with Costanza's decades-old high score still recorded. Costanza buys the machine and tries to get it home without letting it lose power, which will erase the score with his initials "GLC" (in reality, Frogger does not actually let players enter their initials). After rigging the machine up with batteries, 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 a "smashing" defeat. George's score was 863,050 points, even though the current world record is 589,350.
  • 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 a true fact - "Highway Crossing Frog" was the working title for Frogger.[6]
  • Robot Chicken parodied Frogger which looks like an enhanced Version but it turns out to be a joke when Frogger crosses the road and a truck crashes into a car and exploded while people are yelling at each other.
  • In Season 12's last episode of Fifth Gear, Johnny Smith's Frogger self contained unit is put into an armored vehicle, to test its construction.
  • Grandma's Boy Alex (Allen Covert) is challenged to a game of Frogger by one of the younger staff members at Brainasium.

In Music

  • In 1982, Buckner and 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.
  • Bad Religion has also recorded a song called "Frogger" about the traffic in Los Angeles, in which the singer claims to be "playing Frogger with my life".

Other

  • 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.[7]
  • In The Simpson's Game one area in the lumberjack level involves a hazard based on Frogger.

References

  1. [1][infospacegames]
  2. [2][infospacegames]
  3. http://www.cubechickenbox.com/en-US/games/f/froggerlivearcadexbox360/default.htm
  4. Konami Mobile
  5. "Seinfeld" The Frogger (1998)
  6. Frogger Timeline and Biography
  7. Roomba takes Frogger to the asphalt jungle - CNET News.com

External Links