Published: October 4th, 2021
Author: Caitlynn Joann
Akira Hashimoto worked for a video game developer, Konami, in 1981. Hashimoto conceptualized the game while at a stoplight. While waiting he saw a frog attempting to cross the road but was unable due to passing vehicles. Hashimoto went to retrieve the frog and carried it to the other side of the road. This was the spark for Frogger.
Hashimoto began working on Frogger and presented it at Konami. Konami presented the idea to Gremlin, a video game publisher, that was acquired by Sega. In the beginning, Gremlin believed that a frog as the main character would not sell well, but they eventually came around with some nudging.
Elizabeth Falconer worked as a market researcher at the time for Gremlin and found Frogger in the archives. She pushed for it to be published despite its previous rejection. The executive continued to claim Frogger was a simple game that wouldn’t be gruesome enough for boys to play. Falconer was given a second chance if she could prove the game was fun to play to Paramount, the company that owned Sega. Many executives once again repeated that the game was already rejected and only women and children would play. You think, so what, as long as you have an audience; but this wasn’t the case in the ’80s.
Falconer was able to rebuttal by recalling how executives rejected Pac-Man, yet the game was monumental despite their opinion on the gameplay. Impressed by the truth in her argument, executives allowed Sega to play-test a prototype for the game, with a 60-day licensing window. Sega paid Konami an average of $3,500 a day during this licensing period. The EPROMs were sent to America and Falconer created the prototype for the arcade machine.
The first test location for this game was at a small bar, Spanky’s Saloon, in San Diego, California. This game was strategically placed due to the audience of this bar being primarily men and the game’s projected audience being women. The executives did not care if the game did well as they were not interested in developing it. When this game became one of the bar’s most popular games, Gremlin was prompted to publish the game in October of 1981. European countries received Frogger in August of the following year. In the 90’s Frogger was in every skating rink and pizzeria and even a Seinfeld episode, where Costanza moved the Frogger cabinet to save the high score he received as a kid.
Frogger expanded to Windows, PlayStation, Genesis, Super NES, and Game Boy/color in the ’90s. In 2006 they released a version for Xbox 360. We have also seen roughly 40 remakes of the game on almost any system imaginable. If you haven’t played Frogger, there’s no excuse not to!