Now one of the most iconic arcade games of all time, Frogger (Konami 1981) was initially presented to the public in Japan in June of 1981. Incidentally enough, this was the same year that Ms. Pacman was released, although Frogger managed to hold it’s own in spite of competition, and triumphed in it’s own right. It was originally developed by Robert Pappas, developed by Konami, and was then transferred to Sega, who collaborated with Gremlin Industries to make Frogger machines on a mass scale. Due to it being an instant hit with the masses, other developers began to release their own versions of the game, although the official sequel, also named Frogger, was not released until 1997. Afterwards, there was Frogger 2- Swampy’s Revenge (2000 Hasbro Interactive), and others that followed. Although it was originally made as an arcade machine, it was subsequently adapted to various Atari consoles during the mid-80s, with other developers adapting it to various other computers and consoles afterwards. The game company Milton Bradley even made a board game of the same name, although one can imagine gameplay would be slightly different in that context.
It is a one/two-player game with a four-way joystick for you to move your character around. Said character is, as implied by the title, a frog, who must cross a road filled with passing cars, and journey across a river by jumping onto turtles and logs to eventually make it back to his home in the swamp. While the name implies that it’s a singular character, Frogger actually represents an infinite number of frogs that the player has to get home. To complete a level, you must get five frogs into respective “spaces” in the swamp within the allotted minute. You’re usually allotted five lives, which can be taken away when you get hit by a car, fall into the river, get bitten by a snake, or get eaten by a crocodile. Each and every level has the same layout, although the difficulty increases with passing levels, and one can technically play forever, since the main objective of the game is to collect as many points as possible. Points can be earned by moving forward, although you can only get 100 for this per level, getting the frog into the space, completing a level, bringing the occasional stranded frog with you into a space, and eating flies, along with getting 10 times the remaining seconds added to your score upon level completion. A Virginian software engineer named Michael Smith, who achieved 971,440 points in 2012, holds the current record.
Along with being one of the most well-known arcade fixtures, it also inspired an entire episode of Seinfeld, where George Costanza and company try to save a Frogger machine that had George’s high score of 860,630. Along with this, there was an entire eponymous cartoon on CBS, a song called “Froggy’s Lament,” by Buckner and Garcia, and the namesake character appeared in the hit movie, “Wreck-It Ralph,” released by Walt Disney Animation Studios in 2012.
Robert Pappas/Konami 1981, Frogger, Video game, arcade machine, Sega/Gremlin
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