FROGS IN VIDEOGAMES

                

This blog is dedicated to discussing games where you play as a frog, but it might also talk about games which just have heavy frog presence in them. The borders are unclear and the road ahead is hazy. Come with me on the journey to be a frog.

**Updated 20/12/2015!**


PARAPPA THE RAPPER, NANAON-SHA, 1996:

Prince Fleaswallow is the third stage teacher in Parappa the Rapper and raps using a difficult reggae style. He is perhaps the most ambiguously portrayed of all the teachers for his dual and alternating espousals of both commercial nous and spiritual enlightenment: "Money money money / is all you need" / "All you ever need is to be nice and friendly". He is a trickster figure!! While this is possibly a play on the familiar cultural figure of the avaricious guru it is also possible that the compulsive selling off of his own belongings (including, eventually, his toilet) is itself a kind of perverse rejection of material trappings. Anyway he has a good heart and helps Parappa on his miracle journey. In the rain and in the snow got the got the funky flow.

FROG FACTOR: Extremely beautiful. Perfect bug eyes, lips, spindly limbs and a stylish shirt!! This frog surely has it all. I am uncertain as to whether his beard is meant to represent newt-style whiskers or is just an actual beard.

RATING: 100!! Recommended to all.


SAPO XULE O MESTRE DO KUNG FU, SEGA/TECTOY, 1995:

Here's an interesting story which is certain to impress your friends. When Tectoy imported games from the Sega Master System to Brazil, a number of the games were reworked to replace the player character with those from locally popular media, including the comic strip character Sapo Xule, retroactively reworked into 3 games including Vic Tokai's "Psycho Fox" and, in this case, Kung-Fu Kid. So frogs were briefly ubiquitous on this system... This arbitrary insertation led in some cases to mildly upsetting situations like that depicted above, in which the large and humanoid kung-fu frog must brutally slap and kick his much smaller and less anthropomorphised cousins in addition to more standard enemies such as hopping vampires and hopping vampires (recoloured).

FROG FACTOR: Again... like Superfrog... I must unfortunately... register my protest at the smugness of this frog... who appears "slippery" in the perjorative moral sense rather than the praiseworthy physical one. But the fact that he is dressed like a soccer player and fights hopping vampires goes some distance towards alleviating my complaint.

RATING: 44


A SHORT STORY, TETRAGEDDON GAMES, 2015:

A short game done in the style of Theresa Duncan for a game jam of the same theme! Replete with voiceover. Take a walk at night. Make friends with a sad frog and teach it the basics of political economy. I liked it.

FROG FACTOR: A **VERY** cute lumpy frog with a variety of expressions and you talk to it. Throws a damning light upon the paucity of frog conversation simulators on the market today.

RATING: 100


PSYCHIC FROG, WHITE WHALE GAMES, 2012:

Sombre orchestral music brings emotional gravitas to the travails of the psychic frog. It is psychic so can fling cups and bullets at people (just like Neo???). In this game you ARE psychic frog and must escape the facility... the sliding on-rails movement system and static, posturing enemies, combined with aforementioned orchestral music, kind of gives it the feeling of a 19th century diorama, if any of those were about psychic frogs, I dunno. Write me c/o this website if you do...

FROG FACTOR: It has a metal hat and an antenna! It is large and strong (and psychic) but can only face in one direction ever. This power, this curse.... There are also frog signs in the backgrounds of some sections saying DANGER.

RATING: 50


FROG FORCE, LAZY BRAIN GAMES, 2015:

Interestingly similar to Batracien Anti Moules in style or maybe it's just me? I think that frogs are a good fit for dinky isometric worlds due to their dual and admirable suitability for both living in small spaces and hopping on things.

FROG FACTOR: I didn't play too much of this because I hate puzzle games but the frog was nice and squat. It changes colours when it eats berries and things!! A good touch. The frog has sunglasses... it has attitude... it has a frankly surprising amount of attitude in my opinion for anything starring in an isometric puzzle game but who am I to judge.

RATING: 72


BEAUTIFUL FROG, PORPENTINE, 2015:

Interactive text-based frog simulator! Hop, sing, eat. Experience the drama and tension of jumping really high, the emotional catharsis of holding a frog concert and the thrilling lust for power as you accumulate yet more and more human dollars. The most important part is at the start where you can choose whether to accept the bitter reality of frog death or deny it access to the fictive form and in doing so to affirm a vision of utopia from which to judge and attach the world that is. Moving.

FrOG FACTOR: It truly is... A Beautiful Frog. (drives away, goes to credits etc)

RATING: 100


SHADOW HEARTS, ARUZE CORP, 2001:

Included here as a rare example of a lavicious frog. Saint Augustine claimed that frogs breed from the earth itself, just like in Castlevania II; while world mythology varies on the subject I believe at least the videogame iconography of the frog is quite sexless. Possibly this is related to their metamorphic life cycle although I prefer to believe that, in embodying symbols of transformation (land/water, spawn/tadpole, frog/prince), the frog also involves a notion of desire grounded within itself and thus serves an aspirational role as gesturing toward a future utopia of asexual slippery fish people. Of course the major exception to this comes through vore iconography (Yoshi's Island!!) so it makes sense that this frog's rowdiness would take the form of literally eating ass. The above picture is from the excellent bogleech article on the monsters of Shadow Hearts which also contains an entry for the Brain Sucker, described curtly as a "Frog that turned evil."

FROG FACTOR: Deadly poisonous! There is a nice emphasis on the protruding eyes.

RATING:80


TLON, REALITY, 1999:

"Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius" was first published in 1940. The plot involves the discovery of two fragmentary artifacts, one a spurious dictionary entry for a nonexistent country, the other (years later) a volume of an encyclopedia devoted to describing a world from the imaginary literature of that country, a world named Tlon, where among other things it is claimed that fictional objects can manifest themselves in the material world as long as their discoverers don't realise they're imaginary. The entries suggest a shared, secret project of unthinkable scope; early in the story it's debated whether the fragmentary nature of the finds imply them to be pieces of a larger project or whether it is itself a fictional device intended to suggest the wider outlines that project...
Tlon (the videogame) was released in 1999 after being developed by the Slovakian studio "Reality" who had previously worked on Johnny Herbert's Grand Prix (1998). The mobygames entry claims it was inspired by the Borges story and "deals with the theme of how ideas can manifest themselves to alter the physical world", although the subsequent plot description gives no evidence of how this is the case. Neither do the c5 hours of game walkthrough uploaded onto Youtube which mostly seem to depict a pretty dour 90s euro adventure game with minimal metaphysical implications. It is possible that the game really does deal with those issues, but also, that it doesn't, and that the developers knew that this was a game, like Takeshi's Challenge, whose true beauty would only gradually emerge with the passing of the years, as the game itself diminishes into a mysterious, decontextualised fragment, seperated from material conditions, as a cryptic mobygames entry and handful of screenshots, as another nebulously real fragment of Tlon...
I know of no evidence at this time that Johnny Herbert's Grand Prix is part of a secret project to replace our world with that of a fictional universe.

FROG FACTOR: The initial part of the hero's journey consists of having to catch some frogs in a swamp. The frogs are well animated and hop around. The atmosphere of the game is also quite swampy in general and hence also quite froggy.... There are frog ribbits on the OST.

RATING: 12

**MESSAGE FROM TH' PREZ:**
Hello my friends. Well, this blog has been laying dormant for a while as I've been pursuing my white whale: a game-by-game breakdown of the complete Frogger franchise, including the inexplicably numerous sequels with subtitles like "Ancient Shadow", "Temple Of The Frog", "Inferno" and "Swampy's Revenge"!!!!!! As this plan would necessitate actually playing more Frogger games than is compatible with my life decisions at the moment it has reluctantly been put on hold... but who knows how long it may continue to breathe, buried snugly beneath the arid desert surface of my heart.
This week's call for submissions goes out to: whoever can tell me what's going on here!



Ok, that's it!!! Merry Xmas and have a happy remainder of 2015!!!
Sincerely,
Your friend in frog
- STEPHEN


**Updated 10/01/2015!**


FROGGY, TETRAGEDDON GAMES, 2014?:

Chattering mutant Frogger variant takes the sterile highways of the original game as the foundation for a whole world: tarmac-covered death planet where ceaselessly-racing cars on trips to nowhere careen and smash into each other from all directions while small, easily-squished forms of lower life eke out a living amidst the chaos. My favourite part, the distorted, moaning voice effects playing out as you run around gobbling flies and dodging explosion, alternately egging you on, listlessly threatening the cars around you and just expressing a kind of abstract ghastly rapture at the state of proceedings in general. The game incorporates its own ideal player: like the frog, you must haplessly focus on making your way through the chaos around you while the framing systems coo and dream to themselves. The lovingly slurred "frrrrogggyyyyyyy"s are moving and strange.

FROG FACTOR: A small scuttling colourful vermin frog. It's nice and small. You see more portraits of the frog posing as you go through the levels, just like in Contra 3.

RATING: 85


FROG SORD, MECH6 GAMES, 2014:

Gets bonus points for mangled title just like old Slade singles. You are a tiny frog with a sword. What is the appeal of a tiny frog with a sword? Mixture of two contrary forms, the epic and the miniature, and the suggestion that they are in some way the same. The smaller you go the larger things get. Hence ten-year war of the Iliad followed and mimicked by the one-day War of Frogs and Mice, ten-year Odyssey by the one-day Ulysses.............

In this game, the Frog Sord (or its bearer?) must jump and boost over spikes, smash enemies, get to the goal line, it's kind of like Super Meat Boy I think. The mixture of boosting and attacking felt strange to me at first but I got into it. This is only an alpha build for a cancelled game and has that alpha-build sense of emptiness to the setting, although the forest theme is nice.

FROG FACTOR: You play as a frog sord. Just my opinion but the frog seemed a little full of itself. It had a little smirk and scarf. Go back to Sonic Boom. Definitely not the kind of humility we know and love from frog genre. Still an acceptable frog, that leaps around a lot. Content warning, this game contains blood bursts when you or another animal in the game is destroyed.

RATING: 60


MISSION: FROG, ARICWARE, ????:

A ZZT game, nominally about frogs. Play as a frog secret agent infiltrating the FBI. The local crime boss will give you one of the passwords if you solve his Monty Python quiz death trap.

FROG FACTOR: You must use your imagination.

RATING: 40


SEEING GOD'S FROG COLLECTION, EYESICK, 2014:

Play as a moth and shoot the frogs that come at you. Included here for the sake of balance: for all the games where you play as a frog that eats bugs, here is the counterpoint. Depicts life at the bottom of the foodchain as a closed, shrieking, undifferentiated sense-world with all consciousness supplanted by the horrible, inescapable rhythm of fight or flight. "We can't trust the insect" - the Fly.

FROG FACTOR: Ghostly frogs. God's frogs.

RATING: 90


FROG ADVENTURE, JOHN THYER, 2014:

God damn but some good content here, you PLAY as a frog, you fight a BIGGER frog, you live in a TOWN of frogs, there's also a frog-based mechanic and the levels are appropriate for frog (bubbles, etc). The final level music is very, very great. But also I feel this game has a good grasp of the sensibilities of being a frog. You are small and weak and can only waddle/jump slowly (and in the game ':^B). But you are indefatigable. You play out your moves one at a time like a grand chess board of life, jumping here, zooming there... til gradually your small sprite traverses the whole world... A feeling of heroic dinkiness, similar to Bruce Lee II. The puzzles themselves are nice and gentle.

FROG FACTOR: A small round frog in the pac-man mold with incongruously long screen-stretching tongue. While not as cute as many other frogs on this page it has a lot of heart. I believe in frog.

RATING: 100


LEGEND OF FROG, PORPENTINE, 2012:

Multiple perspectives of frog, each with a different place in the hierarchy of vidcon action. While Frog Wizard can live out a fantasy of clearly-defined individual choices serving to venerate the Will, Frog Peasant can only react by avoiding the resultant deadly magical fallout and Frog Village lacks even this capacity for action. There's a good, final fantasy-ish song at the start too.

FROG FACTOR: The frogs appear as weird insects or cowled serfs depending on context, a good nod to multiplicity of frogs.

RATING: 75


FROGGISH SWIMMER, DANIEL REMAR, 2013?:

Are you a frog or merely froggish? This is just one of the many exciting questions posed by this game to you, the viewer. I presume the latter because so much of the game takes place underwater, where you can stay indefinitely. Most of this game is a fairly subdued watery physics puzzle game (think Bubble Ghost?) and it's presumably this lack of polish that landed it in the "Scrappack #3" compilation on the author's site. However, it is catapulted out if it and into our hearts by a magnificent abundance of frog-based content. Leaping, crouching, swimming, eating flies with a tongue, inflating throat, hanging around a pond, these are all elements in the game and have been lovingly rendered. It is relaxing to swim around as the frog and its little hop when on land (or lilypad!) is also nice. A real winner.

FROG FACTOR: Exceptional. Renews my faith in frog-themed videogames. A very cute, barely anthropomorphised frog with good animations and action set, swimming around a strange dark world. I like that it's a quadruped also and has a little hump back.

RATING: 95


TREASURE HUNTER G, STING ENTERTAINMENT, 1996

Courtesy friend of the blog @Neuropath, a savestate containing the Frog Casino from the enigmatic Treasure Hunter G. A synthesised piano plays a slow honky-tonk beat as you enter a dive. There are no other patrons around - just casino operators and, at the other end of the room, a barman alone behind a counter. He offers to sell you some frogs. There are different minigames to put the frog through, racing, dodgeball and fly-catching, all of them kind of grim and solitary. If you lose they keep the frog. Everyone seems tired. Outside the building, there is a gold statue of a frog.

FROG FACTOR: Good, chunky SNES-era frogs.

RATING: 50



**Updated 29/10/2014!**




BATRACIEN ANTI MOUCHES, DOMINIQUE ROUX-SERRET, 1989:

Translates as "Frog Against Flies" I think. Jump around these tiny charming cube rooms. Eat the flies and jump on all the boxes. The mix of chunky primitives and little doodle people sitting on them pushes all of my buttons! It's a kind of heavy, sloppy isometric lineart style that looks a bit like the Apple II version of Congo Bongo... Handdrawn approximations of systemic artificial videogame worlds are charming, like representation coloured by desire. The desire to live in blockland.

FROG FACTOR: Bouncy, surprisingly nicely animated, loosely sketched frog. Its kind of rudimentary but how much animosity can you have towards the concept of bouncing a frog around this colourful little room? "The house of art has many windows."

RATING: 100


RANARAMA, GRAFTGOLD, 1987:

The Amiga version has a fucking righteous titlescreen with enormous, grasping frog seeming to break through a wall and reach out of the screen at the terrified and quiescent player while a synthesised voice recites the game name. What I could play of the C64 port of this game was impressively nonsensical due to my unfamiliarity with the controls and possibly technical problems. But as far as I can tell it's mostly a top down dungeon game where you fire bullets to clear out tiny rooms. There's an enigmatic spell casting system and also minigames where you swap letters to reconstruct the title of the game under the forbidding instruction "PREPARE TO CAST RUNES" (according to wikipedia these minigames are representations of wizard duels??). Rana is latin for frog, -rama means view so a possible title could be... frog vision? Or maybe just treat it as an invocation.

FROG FACTOR: Easily the most impressibe aspect of the game to these weary eyes, the frog is small, impressively frog-shaped, hops around froggishly from tile to tile and is also magic (not essential, but it helps).

RATING: 80


METAL GEAR SOLID 3, KCEJ, 2004:

Compare with entry for Mother 3, there are 64 little rubber squeak frogs hidden around the forest and as is prophecied in the ancient tomes "if you collect all the objects then something might happen". The main story about tactical jungle action and snake eating mechanics is mirrored by a subplot about scooting around shooting at blatantly fake rubber frogs for incoherent reasons. Like classic trickster figures, the frogs both inhabit and play against the narrative framework in which they are encountered. Is it the amphibious dual nature of the real-life frog that lends itself well to this ambiguous aspect or the transformative nature of their life cycle? The medieval bestiary listing at http://bestiary.ca/beasts/beast537.htm makes a curious distinction between land and water frogs. In addition to the rubber frogs this game also allows you to capture and eat Frog Types A, B and C, one of which is tasty, one of which is poisonous.

FROG FACTOR: Too violent for me. Mysterious, disquieting lack of animated frog footage on youtube. I don't remember eating any frogs in the game.

RATING: 10


And more guest reviews! WOW!


PETER WEBB (@pwtbrb) WRITES:

"loz: oot’s frogs

i remember playing with these as a kid
they represented some bizarre sidequest i was never able to figure out involving the ocarina? and they had to do with pieces of heart
the ultimate reward, a fourth of a heart container, being way less intriguing than the aesthetic experience the frogs provided. a problem with many games’s reward structures probably nonetheless the frogs managed to capture my attention. frustrating and threatening, in the way that many side quests are (as a departure from the patterns of the normal game), I still understood them as froglike and being of no possible harm to anyone

frog factor: huge eyes, full range of motions, implied authority over link in that they demand him to perform tasks and reward him with rupees: great

rating: 85"


MAXIMILIAN KENNEDY-HERRON WRITES:

"PAPO AND YO, MINORITY, 2012:

Papo and Yo is about YOUNG BOY throwing titanic tree-frogs around and luring the massive, frog-eating DADDY OGRE into various tactically advantageous positions in order to escape the NIGHTMARE DREAMWORLD he finds himself in. In full 3D graphics, taking the role of YOUNG BOY, you pick up the frogs and, carefully holding them in your tender embrace, either place them on the ground (sometimes in positions where they will ultimately be consumed) or, if there are too many frogs for your requirements, you must take the decision to either hurl a frog against a wall, killing it instantly, or remain trapped in wonderland forever. This seems like a hard decision, but since "wonderland" in fact means walking around gently cuddling frogs for all eternity, the correct path is actually quite clear.
If you choose to guide the boy down the path of destruction, he gradually reflects this by painting skulls on his face and taking all his clothes off, demonstrating his fall into SAVAGE FROG MURDERER MODE.

FROG FACTOR: Beautifully rendered tree frogs with great flexibility. Putting the player in a position where they must proceed with extreme caution at risk of splatting the receptive, passive frogs is educational and poignant. The title screen itself has lovely white frogs running around and one simple misclick results in a brutal splatting.

RATING: 84"



**Updated 16/10/2014!**




Special guest review by Alex Roberts - FINAL FANTASY 9, SQUARE, 2000 :

"Run around trying to catch frogs in a swamp. The frogs will hop away unless you approach slowly, and sometimes even then (pretty good simulation of actual frog-catching imo). For every frog you catch, this one kinda useless move that this one character might learn does slightly more damage. This is not explicitly stated anywhere in the game? The point is that even though FF9 is this huge sprawling Final Fuckin Fantasy about saving the world, you can put everything on hold to go chase frogs down by the ol' swimming hole. Idleness is okay for a while. Also the character you play for the frog game is an insatiable genderless blob named Quinoa so maybe you will like that.

FROG FACTOR: The frogs do not seem to enjoy being chased and when you catch them you eat them (this is not shown but def implied) which may be upsetting for frog lovers. HOWEVER you have the option of letting them go for some reason, which means the froggy fun can last forever~

Rating: 10"



**Updated 06/10/2014!**




Special guest review by JohnTCandy - BREATH OF FIRE II, CAPCOM, 1994 :

"Of the famous Breath of Fire rpgs, only the nauseous volume 2 features a frog in a playable role. Prince 'Jean' is cursed by the Witch in 'Witchtwr' to be a giant frog, but a kiss from a cat girl restores him to his true form...a smaller, clothed, frog. He probably would have been better off, and more of a frog, if you could leave him as he is, sitting in the mud. He affects some French...falling back on his "S'il vous plaits", and his "Mademoiselles", and his "aider mois!" I guess French became the language of the Frog nobles after the opening to Western Europe. Having this guy on the team allows you to hop around the world map in giant frog mode, which is the game's only real frog activity. You could do this forever if you wanted. If he can change like this, why did he ask for your help?? The heroes are a band of rascals on the lam collected from anthropomorphized animal tribes: Cat tribe, monkey tribe, doggy tribe, weepy old man tribe...Frog tribe. Jean is not very crucial to the game after he falls in line with the vague quest. The Capcom artwork of him makes you want to find the cool frog, but for the record, the most striking character in this game is the plant with human scowl from Plant Tribe who inflicts amnesia.

Frog Factor: A Giant frog hopping all over the world (is there a basket on his back for the team to sit in?)

Rating: 79"



**Updated 04/10/2014!**




MOTHER 3, BROWNIE BROWN/HAL LABORATORY, 2006:

I wasn't gonna write about this one at first (reminder of the non-catholicity of this blog >:^) ) but thought about it today and changed my mind, it's true that the frogs have a minor role but it is an important structural one! There's lots of frogs throughout and talking to them saves your game. After talking to one it tells you to say hi to the next frog you meet. There is a trail of frogs through the game that runs parallel to your adventures and also perform a kind of running commentary or analogue for it, eg driving around in tiny cars once you reach city zone, floating around with a little snorkel as you explore the bottom of the sea. As avatars of the game metastructure they stand apart from the events displayed and seem to have privileged insight into the workings of the game overall, just like the truckpumps from Barkley Gaiden. Is having your actions in game mirrored throughout by these tiny inscrutable little frogs the reflection of a faintly hostile ambiguity of intent from the game developers themsleves concerning the world they've made, maybe possibly perhaps I never finished it I dunno. There are lots of frogs.

FROG FACTOR: Lots of em, v cute, tiny gameboy sprites with good bright colours, lots of animations, i dunno, as mentioned the structural context alienates us from the frogs and makes them register as opaque and slightly sinister. I felt sad that I couldn't get closer to the frogs. Is it better to feel sad than not to feel anything at all.................? I leave this question open to the reader. If you need me I will be at the bottom of the sea.

RATING: 50


JUMPING FROG, CASIO, 1988:

Here is a tiny console to go with your tiny frog. The fixed screen depicts a little pond home and you control a frog that swims and jumps around it looking for flies and avoiding(?) fish. It looks slightly less hectic than other game n watch-ish mini titles and has good drawings of the frog on the case. It's pocket sized so you can play with your frog any time!!! A good unification of form and content.

FROG FACTOR: Cute but not excessively so. Expressive face. I worry that the opening/closing mouth animations will give suffocation anxieties to the frog enthusiasts out there but overall I'd say this is a very relateable frog.

RATING: 80


SANRIO VIRTUAL FROG PET, SANRIO, ????:

And speaking of mini consoles here is a little virtual pet toy of the Kero Kero Keroppi character mentioned below. Pocket themed frog nurture sim! It grows from an egg to a tadpole to a frog, there are activities to play such as music and dress-up(???), a soccer-ball icon, everything you could want. Feed it... I think you can evolve into a frog in one of the main Tamagotchi games but this is ideal for people who don't wanna take any chances with their frog parentage. FROG FACTOR: Um, a fairly inexpressive chunky pixel frog. I haven't seen much of the game but probably ok. RATING: No clue. 60. It's not as enticing as it should be, honestly.


BART'S NIGHTMARE, SCULPTURED SOFTWARE, 1992:

Unspeakable.


PANDEMONIUM, TOYS FOR BOB, 1996:

Also known as "Magical Hoppers"(JP), "that one dopey jester game"(PAL), has a mushroom(?) level where you turn into a frog for some reason! It jumps really high and initiates platform part of the level. And it's good! The lowpoly 3d frog has an appropriately bewildered expression, does the throat bulge bit as idle anim, hops around with nice animation, soars through the air with the greatest of ease. But, then it ends and it's back to the jester. All things must pass.

FROG FACTOR: Surprisingly good with the important caveat that it's stuck inside Pandemonium.

RATING: 70


THEY BREATHE, THE WORKING PARTS, 2014:

Independently developed underwater exploration game, like Ecco the Dolphin but with more frogs and dread. Happy to say this game is very frog focused!!! Almost distressingly so given overall air of doom but ah well. You control a sweet frog diving underwater and eating bubbles and meeting the other inhabitants of under the sea. Without wanting to give too much away you do meet a lot of frogs and you help them. The underwater world is very grand and the swimming mechanics are good! It's nice to see game which focuses on amphibian nature of frogs as well as it does not get touched on as much as you'd think.

FROG FACTOR: A good painted-looking frog with animations. Swims around well, relateable problems (not drowning). A game with solid frogs throughout.

RATING: 80


DARK SOULS, FROM SOFTWARE, 2011:

Dark Souls is basically what top game theorists refer to as "some megaman bullshit" but it distinguishes itself by the invention of FROG-RAY, a cross between a frog and a manta ray!!!!!! This truly exciting addition to the world of frogs in games is flat like a ray but has a frogs head on top and is also coloured like a poison dart frog. They live in the forest and glide spookily. There's also a giant frog that looks like a monkey and a bigger frog boss that sings but they aren't as exciting i.m.o.

FROG FACTOR: This is a good frog. It makes a small appearance but is memorable and cool. Good reminder to game devs that a well-placed frog can be the touch of garnish that turns yr 400lb pork dinner into something more palateable.

RATING: 82


PROJECT GREEN FROG TAMAGOTCHI, BPINHO, 2012:

An online game simulating a frog tamagotchi! Use the number keys keys to hug, feed, teach and something else your frog. In portugeuse, but a translation is provided next to the game. I played for 1 min before I got so anxious about accidentally killing my frog that I had to turn it off.

FROG FACTOR: Good for people who can handle the pace!!!!!!!!! The frog walks around the room. Basic cartoony shape but you're able to hug it, which counts for a lot in my world.

RATING: 100


SEAMAN, VIVARIUM/JELLYVISION, 1999:

Oh my goodness, how could I forget this wonderful frog!!!!!! Yes, Seaman is a frog, at least in his final form. He evolves by eating flies and is voiced by Leonard Nemoy. He gives you stentorian life advice each day as you moderate the temperature of his tank. Sometimes he sasses or sulks. His final form looks like a frog with a stern human face. You talk to him with a mic. This is the only perfect videogame on god's earth. It makes me want to weep to think about it. I recommend watching Brett Darien's youtube videos about this game, which take the structure of socratic dialogues gently drawing out Seaman's opinions.

FROG FACTOR: 100%. Great. The human face is sinister but it's a well animated, big 3d frog on the dreamcast and explores a big tank and you can TALK to it and it makes fun of you back. Perfect.

RATING: 10000!!! Infinity!!!!! The world is not enough!!!!!!!!!!



**Updated 03/10/2014!**




KERO BLASTER, STUDIO PIXEL, 2014:

This game is what started me on the road to creating this webpage. I purchased it using the resources allocated to me by mysterious claw of god's free market just so I could become a frog. This game is by Pixel who did Cave Story but in my opinion it's a better game, reasons include: there's nothing like that one bit in CS where you have to collect all the puppies and also you're a frog. It's less sprawling but more charming I think. I like that the frog is a janitor. The plot is basically melancholy but in a weirdly understated way for videogames. The frog's only ways of acting are by jumping and shooting so it's unable to help its friends until their emotional problems get bad enough for this hyperspecific skillset to become relevant again.

FROG FACTOR: This game was originally designed for mobile so there's an initially offputting thing in place where you can't change the direction you're shooting in until you let go of the fire button. I liked it because it's a very squat little frog with a big gun and I liked the suggestion that the frog has trouble dealing with the gun, that it's not that suited for the work at hand physically but still goes through with it out of iron determination. The frog is very cute and small. It has a stoic face. It's sad that you shoot so many animals but the frog doesn't have any interest in dealing with this, even though it is also an animal, so the first few levels are..... sad? "War is hell". When you go to the ice zone the frog puts on a tiny little jacket and always looks sooooooooo happy and excited when it finds the jacket again. It's moving. In short, I liked this game.

RATING: 100


FROG VOLLEYBALL, HYUNG J. CHOI, 1991

Starts off with translated frog speech(!) represented both as english (the translation) and enigmatic heiroglyphs (the original text). Phantom precursor to Goblet Grotto? It plays like a weird simulation of volleyball as fed through the pong engine. But you play as frogs. The presentation is dignified and mysterious as is the soundtrack.

FROG FACTOR: Very high. The frogs are inviting yet mysterious. I want to be a part of their world. Through the magic of game, this is permitted.

RATING: 100


RIBBIT KING, JAMSWORKS CO., 2003:

I played a demo of this once and liked it. It's like golf but with frogs. An important note is that you do NOT hit the frogs!!!!! You hit a little catapult thing that fires them. They are sturdy because unreal. There's different colours. You don't officially play as the frog but when you fire the camera follows as it soars and hops around. The game is cute but also frustrating because it can only gesture at world of exciting friendly frog exploration that the rigid confines of sports game cannot allow.

FROG FACTOR: Kind of weird, I think all the players get their own type of frog and it becomes abstract. Frogs with teeth and eyes on stalks that look like the fairy from Five Children And It. But overall I'm glad for the gates of frog to be widened and there are many more regular types of frog for the traditionalists out there.

RATING: I dunno. N/A.


3D FROG MAN, WEBFOOT TECHNOLOGIES, 1998:

Pac-Man clone. A sign says "PARTY TIME" when it eats enough... objects... and grows bigger. Vaguely swamp-themed level design. I don't really like how the frog looks in it. But it's a good name for a game. I believe this title is part of a series including 3D Maze Man, 3D Ms Maze and 3D Munch Man II. Alternative title of Froggies I think.

FROG FACTOR: Unsettling. A staring Pac-Man but with legs but the legs are lumpy and vestigial and creepty.

Rating: 10


JAMES POND III, VECTORDEAN LTD/MILLENNIUM INTERACTIVE, 1993:

Enter four frogs on the password screen to play as a frog instead of a fish. And it's a good frog!! Green and round with little sneakers and a tongue move and cheerful smile. One very special feature: if you keep jumping on the spot as the frog, you bounce higher and higher, which is special feature unique to the frog character. You can eventually jump v high in the night sky. It is entrancing. I would recommend this frog for other people who like vertical space exploration in videogames, Jumping Flash, Platform Masters, Ulillillia videos of Bubsy 3D, that one glitch in Mario Sunshine.
If you type in four frogs and then the tooth icon in the password screen then the frog has teeth for eating enemies and mice. It's creepy.

FROG FACTOR: A very cute and spiffy little frog!

Rating: 100


CHRONO TRIGGER, SQUARE, 1995:

The frog is not the "official" main character but is so much cooler than any of the others that it dominates proceedings by default. It's a little frog in armor with a sword who also speaks in a Mighty Thor-esque elizabethian pastiche!!! What more do you people want?!??! The cute ridiculous fantasy character grappling with tragic past in outsize colourful world sums up appeal of Square Enix titles for me. It's possible to help the frog (initial starting name: "Frog") with his problems but part of doing so is that he won't be a frog any more and just turns into some guy. I kind of think Frog's situation works better as this heiroglyph of exciting goofy cartoon fantasy and the winsomeness that accompanies recognition of same but maybe that's selfish, I dunno. The famous movie "Porco Rosso" was based on this character except as a pig and also with kind of dubious preteen girl sidekick that everybody flirts with.

FROG FACTOR: He is beautiful and wears a little adventurer outfit. The official concept art depicts him with whiskers.

RATING: 80 because you have to play as other people too.


FROGGER, KONAMI, 1988-20XX

There are several million versions of the game Frogger in existence and I hate them all. Or not hate but I dunno theyre just too grim for me. Enforced trek forward oer busy traffic lanes and rushing rivers and frantically dodging cars before the next blessed interstice. Frogs hit by cars crossing road is big environmental problem some places (in slovenia there are volunteer groups that go out to carry frogs across the road in big buckets) and I like social realism fine but it's just missing a bit of the romance and wonder that made us all love frogs in the first place. Just my take, god bless.

FROG FACTOR: Underwhelming frogs.

RATING: 30


SUPERFROG, TEAM17 SOFTWARE, 1993

Actually pretty good, fast paced and open, lotta focus on jumping really high and speeding blindly through the air. Has that weird 90s platformer feeling where it's playing off lower-res videogame conventions but with less abstraction, so the green green grass has weird gradients on it and there's more shading on the spooky smiling tree. Available to play online and with kick starter in the works, I think.

FROG FACTOR: The frog is sorta smarmy and unpleasant looking but also has a little cape and can jump really far.

RATING: 80


CRYSIS, CRYTEK, 2007:

This is degenerate militaristic nonsense game for shit people BUT it has frogs in it for some reason and there was a wonderful glitch where you can throw them against an object (:^{) and they bounce but then they FLOAT OFF INTO SPACE FOREVER!!!! Magnificent!!! Transcending the form, floating free of origin to lose themselves in a dream of virtual space. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qc6AHtM8qKM Whenever I watch this video I am moved. Maybe there's hope for all of us.

FROG FACTOR: It looks pretty cute nestling in that android's hand or whatever he's meant to be. Jesus christ.

RATING: 50


DONKEY KONG COUNTRY, RARE, 1994:

One of a subgenre of games where you don't play frogs but do play people who ride around on them. But to be honest I'm fine with that and just wish it was more prevalent, eg Joust with frogs. The frog in this is called Winky and can jump high and also jump on bees. I like it when videogames make up nonexistant animal traits for the sake of gameplay!! Winky is very timid and scoots off on being hit by an enemy. And it's heartbreaking.

FROG FACTOR: Prerendered 3d frog. Good awkward hopping motion and can jump high. Idle animation, I think the throat bulges out and it scratches like a dog(???). Good.

RATING: 70


FROG SIMULATOR 2014, PHILLIP SEARCEY, 2014:

Frog themed shooter game. Eat the bees. The lack of danger was refreshing but I was sad it was all so restricted. I always hoped there'd be more to being a frog.

FROG FACTOR: Ok i guess.

RATING: 40


YOSHI'S ISLAND, NINTENDO, 1995:

Another game where you don't play as a frog my friends. But there's a frog enemy that acts weirdly like yoshi: it has a tongue move and carries mario around on its back and jumps around. It's sinister. When I played this as a kid I always felt there was emnity between the yoshis and the frogs, the emnity of imperfect reflections. In the context of yoshi's world they take on a kind of changeling vibe.

FROG FACTOR: They're sinister but hop around in a big swamp and are interestingly opaque. I imagine they play the part of threatening yet alluring bad-boy figures in the Yoshi's Island fanfic universe if there is such a thing.

RATING: 60


NINJA JAJAMARU-KUN, TOSE, 1995:

Another entry in the frog-riding canon. Cute dinky ninja game. You get to ride a frog as your ultimate bonus powrup and also the frog is displayed prominently on the game art and title screen. It's honestly an impressively gross frog compared to everything else in the game.

FROG FACTOR: I'm a fan of both the ninja / giant frog double-team and the extent to which it is emphasised by the game itself.

RATING: 80


JSNEBULO, JESÚS GARCIA CARRERO, 2011:

A gentle tower ascenscion game is elevated by presence of playable frog. Avoid the eyes. Nice colours and scroll effect. Only 10 kb!

FROG FACTOR: I couldnt get it to jump but that's fine. A cute cartoon frog in a mysterious world. It's what it's all about.

RATING: 75


FROG FRACTIONS, TWINBEARD STUDIOS, 2012:

Well. some of you might know this game, the game Frog Fractions which is wellknown for being funny surprising good etc. But let's cut the cr*p and get straight to the important stuff which as we all know is the frogs!!! I'm happy to report the frog standard for this game is good, you control a beautiful poison arrow frog and get to eat bugs and collect fruit. The tongue controls and noises are very good also. You can't move the frog around but you can make friends with other animals and move around that way which is an acceptable substitute. There's also roleplay segments with the frog. A sequel to Frog Fractions is currently in production under the working title of Metal Gear Solid V.

FROG FACTOR: A pretty colourful frog.

RATING: 80

BREATH OF FIRE 2, CAPCOM, 1994:

Heard you can play as a frog in this one. If anybody feels like writing a guest review let me know.

FROG FACTOR: ???

RATING: ???


CASTLEVANIA ADVENTURE, KONAMI, 1989:

A good example of how different games play up different aspects of frog, in this case minimising altogether the big round eyes to focus on the legs. This is a frog made entirely out of legs. It's very upsetting.

FROG FACTOR: Interesting....

RATING: 50


POISON FROG PRINCE, 4463.com(?), 2011:

This is one tough looking frog!! Glaring and with teeth and a crown. Which is weird because the game is pretty innocuous. Jump around empty platforms and follow the arrow. If you land on a butterfly it turns evil and you can mind control it into flying you around. I flew it to where the arrow was pointing and it told me I'd failed. Ah well.

FROG FACTOR: Kind of generic and flash-art-y but I appreciated the effort gone into making the frog look distinct and hateful.

RATING: 40


KERO KERO KEROPPI NO DAIBOUKEN, CHARACTER SOFT, 1991:

I played this once and found it as dispiriting as every other puzzle game but the frog is nice.

FROG FACTOR: It's pretty fucking cute! I think this is a preexisting IP.

RATING: 60


BACK TO NATURE, BOB CARR, 1982:

The title is good and ominous and so is the instruction that "Froggy needs bugs to live". All the graphics are made of keyboard characters and colour blocks and it looks angular and eerie. There's a meter for flies caught and one for calories! When the frog stands up it looks like the bad robot from robocop but otherwise can't move around much. A sombre addition to the frog canon.

FROG FACTOR: This frog looks so upset that it has a Q for an eye. Is the tail of the Q a tiny tear? If you admire the fly eating prowess of frogs then you will like this game but if you like frogs that hop around and explore you might find it distressing. It's a good frog.

RATING: 75


FOR THE FROG THE BELL TOLLS, NINTENDO R&D1, 1992:

Our last entry for the moment is this extremely charming little music-box of a game. It's an "RPG", but the battles all play out automatically based on the items and health you have, and there aren't too many, so it's all pretty relaxed. It was made in the same engine as Link's Awakening but i.m.o. this game makes better use of gameboy dinkiness, between the simplified combat and also very compressed towns and areas compared to zelda sprawl. However the most impressive thing about this game MUST be the heavy frog presence throughout!!!! Our hero turns into a frog and is then able to talk to other frogs and swim around. He can no longer fight as well but he can jump higher. The frog section makes up a significant portion of the game and is very good. The little frog clambors around the castle. Tiny frogs are a perfect mix for a tiny console and I truly lost myself in swimming around all the little areas!! Worth a look!!!

FROG FACTOR: Very cute sprite, can jump and also talk to other frogs, which is a good bonus in my book. Nicely compact just like a frog. My opinion.... if you care about frogs in videogames... you owe it to check this out!!!

RATING: 100




Well, that's it for today. I hope to add more frogs in days to come but there's also lots of frogs I won't write about. If you want to submit a guest frog review my email is stephengillmurphyty at hotmail.com. I am especially interested in reviews of the following:

- Frog guy in Breath Of Fire 2 (COMPLETED)
- Frog catching minigame in FF9????? (COMPLETED)
- Any of the weird looking PS2 3d platformer sequels to Frogger.

So long from me and good luck with the frogs!












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