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Frogger Arcade Game

Updated on June 12, 2013
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Martin is an experienced software developer with a passion for retro machines and gaming.

Frogger - A True Arcade Classic

Frogger is an arcade game which was released waaaay back in 1981.

It was developed by those arcade giants Konami, and ended up being licensed for worldwide distribution by Sega.

For anyone who is not familiar with this classic of the genre, the object of the game is to direct frogs to their homes one at a time.

To do this, the player must ensure that each frog avoids cars while crossing a busy road and then navigate a river full of waterbound hazards.

This game is regarded as a classic from the golden age of video arcade games and was noted at the time for its novel gameplay and subject matter.

Frogger is still extremely popular and versions of it can be found on many Internet game sites such as Miniclip Games - and it remains a popular addition to the ranks of games online.

Many versions of it were released on home computers such as the ZX Spectrum, Acorn Electron, BBC Micro, Commodore 16, Commodore VIC 20 and Commodore 64 back in the day, so let's have a look a Frogger and many of it's versions...

Frogger - The Arcade Game

Frogger is a classic title from 1981
Frogger is a classic title from 1981

Frogger Gameplay

In the game the player begins with either with three, five, or seven frogs which count as lives.

The player guides a frog which begins at the bottom area of the game-screen. The lower half of the screen displays a roadway complete with moving vehicles. There are a large variety of vehicles to avoid such as trucks, buses, cars, JCB's, vans, cycles, motorbikes and even beach buggies!

The vehicles move horizontally over the roadway, from left-to-right and right-to-left depending on the 'side of the road'. It was nicely done.

The upper area of the game-screen consists of a river complete with logs and creatures such as turtles and deadly crocodiles. Again these creatures are moving horizontally across the screen.

The top-most portion of the game-screen contains five 'hidey holes' which are the destinations for each frog.

In classic arcade tradition each level is timed; so the player must move those frogs to their save havens quickly before the time limit expires.

On the original cabinet the only player control is a joystick which is of course used to move around each frog (one at a time naturally). Each joystick 'push' in any direction causes the frog to 'hop' once in that direction, by moving sort of '1 character square'.

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 a squashed frog on the riverbank highway.

Once the river has been reached the frog can be moved to safety by jumping on swiftly moving logs and the backs of turtles (which do not eat the frogs). The frogs must not come into contact with any snakes, crocodiles or otters which live in the river, but may catch bugs or even escort a lady frog for nice bonus points.

When all five frogs are directed home, the game progresses to the next level, which is more difficult than the last.

After five levels, the game gets briefly 'easier' before becoming progressively harder to the next fifth level. Nasty!

The Frogger Arcade Cabinet

A fine example of the Frogger upright cabinet
A fine example of the Frogger upright cabinet

Frogger Items On Amazon

Watch out and keep those frogs safe!

There are many different ways to lose a life in Frogger, such as:

  1. Colliding with road vehicles (Splat!)
  2. Jumping into the river (I am not sure why this would kill a frog? Perhaps the water is heavily polluted! ;-))
  3. Coming into contact with snakes, otters or jumping into a crocodile's jaws in the river (Deadly!)
  4. Jumping into a home that is occupied by a crocodile (Just as deadly!)
  5. Sitting on top of a diving turtle for too long (It will submerge itself and of course - the water kills you!)
  6. Drifting off the edge of the game-screen by sitting on a log or turtle for too long (There is no wrap-around facility for our dear frogs!)
  7. Jumping into a home already occupied by a frog (Two's a crowd in this game)
  8. Jumping into the side area of a home or into the bushes (Even the bushes are deadly!)
  9. Running out of time before getting a frog safely home (That darned pesky time limit)

Frogger Player Modes and Cabinet

This game was available as a standard upright unit or as a cocktail cabinet.

The controls were very simple; a 4-direction joystick used to make the frog jump in each direction - and that's it. There was an option for two players to play, but the number of simultaneous players was only one.

Two player mode was turn-based.

Frogger The Arcade Game

Hopper On The BBC Micro - A Frogger Clone

Home Conversions of Frogger

Frogger was such a popular game it was converted to pretty much every home computer of the era.

Versions were available for the ZX Spectrum (although the official version of the Speccy was not very well done), C16, C64, BBC Micro, Oric Atmos and more.

See the videos below to make a visual comparison between home computer versions and the arcade original.

Frogger On The Commodore 64

Froggy On The ZX Spectrum

Frogger Arcade Features and Home Conversion

All of the usual arcade type features were present within Frogger.

The player's high score was displayed at the top of the screen and there was also a high score table which recored the top five scores.

This game was converted to nearly every 8-bit computer of the era such as the ZX81, ZX Spectrum, C16, C64, C128, Amstrad CPC 464, Oric 1, Oric Atmos, Acorn Electron and BBC Micro.

On each machine there were lots of unofficial ports which had similar sounding names such as Frog, Frogs Run, Froggy and so on.

The ZX Spectrum had roughly twenty versions developed for it - and programming magazines often featured a version of Frogger as a type-in BASIC program which was great for teaching simple game design and logic to budding coders.


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