FROGGER / Konami / Arcade
 
 
I hate to pile on George Costanza, but Frogger was really one of the easier arcade games of the early '80s. Originally released by Konami in 1981, it was distributed in North America by Sega, so you might see their name attached to it instead in some places. Our titular frog is simply attempting to get to his home across a river, but first he'll have to cross a freeway. Place five frogs in their homes per level, then you move on to the next. There are five levels in total, each with the same basic road-river structure, but adding new dangers each time. New dangers also sometimes appear after you've placed a few frogs in a level already, like the high-speed sportscar that starts ripping across the freeway. Clear all five levels and you cycle around to a faster version of the initial level and do it all over again.

Anyway, everyone seems to remember the freeway part of the game, but people who haven't played it in a long time actually seem to forget that the freeway was relatively easy and the main challenge was in getting across the river! You have to jump across surfaces that are continually moving, and if they take you off the screen you die. You're forced to use the turtles that can flip on you and dump you in the water, and later the alligators who can decide to open up their mouths and eat you. Ultimately, though, the game's only really big challenge is in getting the frog into the final two slots that are opposite the current in each level.

To be fair to George, the game does ramp up significantly in challenge once you make a couple passes through the levels and the speed increases. And his score of hundreds of thousands of points is legitimately pretty impressive, I think he was way in excess of the actual world record until MAME came around and they started counting emulation scores.

Even if the game gets repetitive fairly fast, it's still quite creative for the time in terms of both gameplay and visuals and you can see why it was such a huge hit when put up against the likes of a Scramble, Pleiads or any of the tidal wave of samey space shooters with black backgrounds that were coming out in 1980-1981. Has managed to age decently as well.
 
 
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