Frogger is a classic arcade game that was designed by Konami way back in 1981 (although they licensed it to Sega, who put their name on it).

The story

Most classic arcade games seem to have some fantastic story attached to them. Like how the programmers just finished writing the code ten minutes before the first machine was scheduled to be loaded onto the truck to go to the consumer electonics show. Or how the programmer found inspiration in a box of pizza. Sadly enough Frogger doesn't have any stories like that. Konami just decided to make a frog game, and Sega bought it from them. But since that time Frogger has become a true classic, and has inspired many sequels, rip offs, console ports, and even a few modern 3-D remakes.

The game

In Frogger you control a frog on his way home. You begin at the bottom of the screen, and your goal is to get to the top of the screen. To get there you have to cross several rows of traffic, followed by leaping between several rows of floating logs and turtles. You must avoid being hit by any cars, ending up in the mouth of any alligators (which may appear in the river, or in your little frog home). You can gain bonus points by picking up bugs, and female frogs along the way.

I have reprinted the official game instructions (the ones that are displayed on the game's attract screen), below.

Move frog vertically or horizontally using the joystick.

Object is to safely maneuver frog to its home within allotted time -Sixty beats on the timer-

Cross highway without getting run over and cross river without falling in.

Avoid traffic deadly snakes otters crocodiles and the treacherous diving turtles.

The Bugs

Mario Kart might have a few bugs, but it has nothing on Frogger. This game is filled with bugs, although many of them are not apparent to the average player.

Sections of the music will occasionally cut out from time to time (but the main melody will continue to play). Speaking of music, for some reason the in-game music is much longer than you can possibly listen to before the time runs out. To hear the entire song you can load the game in MAME (with the cheat.dat file), and enable unlimited time. Just sit there and eventually the music will run out.

The game seems to have been programmed a bit backwards when it comes to collision detection. A side effect of this is that sometimes making a perfectly legal and safe jump will kill you. Another side effect of this is that you can jump up onto the first row of turtles, and then immediately jump back. You will be "off the grid", and you can jump right off the side of the screen (which will kill you).

There are a few other odd jumps you can make as well. First, you can hang off the left side of a turtle, but attempting to do the same on the right side results in death. If you jump onto a home base with an alligator (and the gator vanishes after you jump, but before you land), your frog will die, but he will also make it home. Finally, left and right jumps on the top row of logs are sometimes much slower than usual (for no apparent reason).

Another bug is that the lady frog will sometimes be invisible, but will flash red when you jump on the spot where she is.

The final problem with Frogger could be either classified as a "bug" or a "feature". When watching the demo mode, you can control the frog once he reaches the last log (making him either make it home safely, or die).

The Machine

Frogger came in a rather plain looking Sega cabinet known as the "Convert-a-Cab'. The cabinets had wood grain sides, and the monitor was laid back at a 45 degree angle (just like the monitor in a Ms. Pac-Man). The control panel, monitor bezel, and marquee all have a single tire tread graphic that continues on all of them. Most machines have a large sticker for sideart, but a lot of machines seem to be missing them (as not all of them were even installed, and many machines have had the sticker peeled off in the last 20 years).

This game uses the Konami Classic wiring harness, but it doesn't have any buttons, which limits plug and play conversion quite a bit.

Where to play

The MAME emulator supports this game perfectly (along with several bootleg versions). You may want to try and use a real 4-Way joystick, but it plays decently with a standard gamepad.

This is a game that is really worth adding to your arcade game collection. Not only is it a classic with time proven gameplay, it is also cheap. Frogger seems to be one of the cheapest classic games around. Mostly due to the fact that it shipped in a rather generic looking cabinet (and doesn't easily convert to a lot of other "killer" games either).

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