Froggo is generally considered the worst Atari 2600
game maker ever. Mystique
, who made Custer's Revenge
, in an absolute sense probably wins that worst title, but Mystique actually went out of its way to be offensive. Froggo, on the other hand, was an unintentionally offensive company. And that takes some skill.
By about 1983 the Atari 2600 was dead, killed by an over supply of cheap game carts. The demise of Atari also took down with it Intellivision
. No one thought the video game industry would ever rise from its ashes. A couple years later the Nintendo Entertainment System
was released. It took a bit for the NES to catch on but by 1988 the industry had come roaring back. The only thing Atari had to compete was the rather lame, underpowered Atari 7800
and about 5 games for the 7800 versus the 100 or so games available for the NES.
Atari had the "brilliant" idea to re-release the 2600 but at a price point of $49 and a console
wood grain. However, no one was making games for the 2600. Many of the third party companies were now out of business. To recapture the magic, Atari recruited a third party company called "Froggo" to "make" games for the 2600. If they also developed games for the 7800, Atari promised to throw them some money to defray development costs (a common practice these days where Intel
will give game companies money to develop games for the latest chip, cool games that tax hardware are the few things these days that drive chip sales).
Froggo's idea of development was to acquire abandoned game titles from other companies, tweek them a bit, and slap on their new label. Froggo acquired an utterly miserable collection of games. The worst was a game called Karate
, which was originally made by a company called Ultravision
. Ultravision showed it at the CES
before release and the response to the game was so overwhelmingly negative, Ultravision never actually released the game commercially (making the game quite valuable to collectors). Froggo, apparently having no shame, happily purchased the rights to the game and released it under their own label.
And what a label it was. Most Atari games suck but they always had cool art on the box and cart. Froggo basically went with black and white labels for the box and cart.
Since Froggo re-titled and repackaged games, many 2600 fans bought the Froggo games assuming they were new titles. Upon playing, they found they had bought a game they basically owned already, save for some minor color/screen changes. For example, Froggo's Spiderdroid
game was Parker Brothers
, with the ape sprite
changed to a spider sprite.
Froggo did not last long. The development money Atari promised them, and they were banking on, never materialized.