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What was up with Froggo?

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Froggo licensed out other companies games and repackaged them for the 2600, but turned it around and made original titles for the 7800? It reminds me of how Majesco licensed the Sega Genesis to make the Genesis 3. What was up with this crazy company? Let's talk about it.

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It's unclear if Frogglo licensed the 2600 games, or simply sold them with some minor alterations and figured no one would care.

I would love to know more about Froggo, but I simply cant find any supported info on them. It's speculated that Froggo was mostly a one man show with programming know-how trying to make a buck off of the revitilized game market in the late 80s.

 It actually doesn't sound much different than homebrew sites today that sell hacks and original games.

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16 minutes ago, nosweargamer said:

It's speculated that Froggo was mostly a one man show with programming know-how trying to make a buck off of the revitilized game market in the late 80s

This somewhat reminds me of Micronics. They were a ghost developer that were involved in several terrible NES arcade conversions like 1942 and Ghosts n Goblins. People have also speculated this was a one man operation as well.

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2 minutes ago, HDN said:

This somewhat reminds me of Micronics. They were a ghost developer that were involved in several terrible NES arcade conversions like 1942 and Ghosts n Goblins. People have also speculated this was a one man operation as well.

Yeah, it's sometimes forgotten, but the majority of pre-NES games were programmed by one person, so it wouldn't surprise me if there were some one man NES Games.

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43 minutes ago, RickR said:

According to the article linked below, Froggo was recruited by Atari themselves to create 2600/7800 games!  And it sounds like they got stiffed!!

https://everything2.com/title/Froggo

 

Nice find, but it's so hard to find out what is really true about Froggo. Searching on AA, I found one user who said Sam Tramiel ran it! Then there's another guy who said he wrote and article that included this tidbit:


 "Sam Tramiel, son of Atari owner Jack Tramiel, once intentionally left the Chairman of Froggo Games to sit in the lobby of Atari headquarters for almost six hours on one occasion in 1988. Having scheduled an appointment to meet with Tramiel, the Froggo chief executive showed up in a timely manor to discuss the development of new games for the Atari 7800 and checked in with the receptionist at the front desk. Tramiel allegedly told his secretary "Tell him I'm busy. He's going to be waiting a long time." The gentleman was even denied a glass of water after waiting several hours to meet with Tramiel. By the time he made it in to meet with Sam, it was late in the day and sources report that he only spent fifteen minutes listening to Tramiel list numerous reasons why the 7800 was not a viable system to produce for, and how it was morally wrong to make video games, before eventually being dismissed by Tramiel, and heading on home for the evening."

So far I have heard that Froggo was recruited by Atari, Froggo was ignored by Atari, and Sam Tramiel owned Froggo. I wish I could nail down something concrete.

Edited by nosweargamer

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Interesting. I was reading one of the links showing the worst 2600 games and Gangster Alley (aka Task Force as Froggo called it) wasn't even on there. That game sucks!

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Thanks Rick. I read through all three and discovered...nothing new. 😔 (except that some people don't realize that the 7800 was profitable enough for Activision & Absolute to make multiple games for)

Personally I sticking with the lone wolf, one-man show theory for the time being. The one article mentioned Atari recruited Froggo, but how would they recruit a company that didn't exist until they started making 2600 games in the late 80s? The only way it would make sense to me is if Jack Tramiel convinced a programming buddy to go into business to make games for the 7800. However, Jack seemed content to simply hire other programmers to makes games for Atari to profit on under their own label. 

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The "lone-wolf" theory holds water, and maybe it's a combination of the two.  Maybe this fellow is acquaintances with one of the Tramiel boys, gets wind that the 2600 is being re-relaased, and decides to hack a few old games to make some dough.  Then with that tiny market foothold, he gets some kind of commission or developer info packet from Atari to make those new 7800 games.  From these articles, we know there where two released and two more in development. 

 

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2 minutes ago, RickR said:

The "lone-wolf" theory holds water, and maybe it's a combination of the two.  Maybe this fellow is acquaintances with one of the Tramiel boys, gets wind that the 2600 is being re-relaased, and decides to hack a few old games to make some dough.  Then with that tiny market foothold, he gets some kind of commission or developer info packet from Atari to make those new 7800 games.  From these articles, we know there where two released and two more in development. 

 

One things for sure: The guy had some programming skills. At least enough to hack existing games and produce 2 new 7800 titles. I would love to hear whoever headed up Froggo in an interview. I saw Froggo games in a bunch of stores in the late 80's, so my guess is he made at least a little bit of money.

We also know he paid to advertise in Atarian magazine, which I think was owned by Atari, and had offices by Atari (same city). And by the looks of it, there where 4 more 7800 games in the works.

image.png.9dc28881d04fb1287da03901a08b4909.png

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It seems this guy and Atari are linked. I don't think these were unlicensed hacks either. Could they have bought the rights to the games like Atari did with some red label games like Q*Bert and Donkey Kong?

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42 minutes ago, HDN said:

It seems this guy and Atari are linked. I don't think these were unlicensed hacks either. Could they have bought the rights to the games like Atari did with some red label games like Q*Bert and Donkey Kong?

He could of, but outside of Parker Brothers, these were pretty obscure companies. Also, I don't recall the manuals or boxes saying "licensed from" or "Copyright" other company, like is typical when that officially happened. You can see Atari credited both Coleco & Nintendo on their Donkey Kong.

image.png.87165ca666707a820f274d0f39cf0a6c.png

Edited by nosweargamer

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3 minutes ago, nosweargamer said:

He could of, but outside of Parker Brothers, these were pretty obscure companies. Also, I don't recall the manuals or boxes saying "licensed from" or "Copyright" other company, like is typical when that officially happened. You can see Atari credited both Coleco & Nintendo on their Donkey Kong.

image.png.87165ca666707a820f274d0f39cf0a6c.png

You have a good point there. I never noticed that.

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21 hours ago, nosweargamer said:

Nice find, but it's so hard to find out what is really true about Froggo. Searching on AA, I found one user who said Sam Tramiel ran it! Then there's another guy who said he wrote and article that included this tidbit:


 "Sam Tramiel, son of Atari owner Jack Tramiel, once intentionally left the Chairman of Froggo Games to sit in the lobby of Atari headquarters for almost six hours on one occasion in 1988. Having scheduled an appointment to meet with Tramiel, the Froggo chief executive showed up in a timely manor to discuss the development of new games for the Atari 7800 and checked in with the receptionist at the front desk. Tramiel allegedly told his secretary "Tell him I'm busy. He's going to be waiting a long time." The gentleman was even denied a glass of water after waiting several hours to meet with Tramiel. By the time he made it in to meet with Sam, it was late in the day and sources report that he only spent fifteen minutes listening to Tramiel list numerous reasons why the 7800 was not a viable system to produce for, and how it was morally wrong to make video games, before eventually being dismissed by Tramiel, and heading on home for the evening."

So far I have heard that Froggo was recruited by Atari, Froggo was ignored by Atari, and Sam Tramiel owned Froggo. I wish I could nail down something concrete.

hi,

 

 this i can attest to. i was told the same thing by an Atari employee about the Froggo guy. also, i too got a two hour lecture from one of the Tramiels on the evils of video games. also the Froggo guy was kind of a one man operation. when i called, no one hardly ever answered, it would just ring and ring. and when someone answered, it was always the Froggo guy. Froggo was making controllers for the NES at that time also.

 

 the Froggo guy called me one time to let me know that my orders for Pyromania and Night of the Ninja for the Atari 7800 were about to be filled. two weeks later i called when they did not arrive, the phone was disconnected.

once Atari told me that if i wanted new games, go to work for Nintendo. in fact, they gave me a name, and i worked for a Nintendo distributor for 6 months. the distributor was waiting for me, knew my name ahead of time.

later on i found out Atari was programming games for the NES. i found that out when i bought a bunch of hard drives out of the Atari office. SNK's Ikari Warriors and Millipede were on one of the hard drives, i have the NES source codes for the games.

then when i complained that a lack of modern productivity software and disk storage was hurting their 8-bit sales. many people are unaware that the 130 XE was favored by many authors, they told me to tell them to buy a PC.

 

folks you can't make this stuff up about the Tramiels. it's a wonder they lasted as they did.

 

lance

www.atarisales.com

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5 hours ago, Video 61 said:

hi,

 

 this i can attest to. i was told the same thing by an Atari employee about the Froggo guy. also, i too got a two hour lecture from one of the Tramiels on the evils of video games. also the Froggo guy was kind of a one man operation. when i called, no one hardly ever answered, it would just ring and ring. and when someone answered, it was always the Froggo guy. Froggo was making controllers for the NES at that time also.

 

 the Froggo guy called me one time to let me know that my orders for Pyromania and Night of the Ninja for the Atari 7800 were about to be filled. two weeks later i called when they did not arrive, the phone was disconnected.

once Atari told me that if i wanted new games, go to work for Nintendo. in fact, they gave me a name, and i worked for a Nintendo distributor for 6 months. the distributor was waiting for me, knew my name ahead of time.

later on i found out Atari was programming games for the NES. i found that out when i bought a bunch of hard drives out of the Atari office. SNK's Ikari Warriors and Millipede were on one of the hard drives, i have the NES source codes for the games.

then when i complained that a lack of modern productivity software and disk storage was hurting their 8-bit sales. many people are unaware that the 130 XE was favored by many authors, they told me to tell them to buy a PC.

 

folks you can't make this stuff up about the Tramiels. its a wonder they lasted as they did.

 

lance

www.atarisales.com

Thanks Lance! 👍 That's probably the best info I ever heard about Froggo. Funny thing about the T's: Thinking games are evil while at the same time hiring people to make and sell them, and also treating a third parties so poorly. Maybe that's why there was a lack of third parties for the late 80s 2600, 7800, Lynx and Jaguar. I suppose I could create a conspiracy theory that they did this on purpose to scare away other companies so that they were they only ones making money off of their systems. 😁

So Froggo was basically a one man operation that quietly closed up shop, probably when the business was on the decline. I wonder if he left while owing people money or paid-for products. This might also explain why his never went public about who he is or what he did, like many other game programmers have done. It also makes me wonder if there were prototypes of Pyromania and Night of the Ninja. Water Ski & Tank Command, while not must-have games, where actually pretty solid for original 7800 titles. 

I never realize Froggo made controllers for the NES. I wonder if they did anything else I'm unaware of.

froggo1.jpg.5df7c120d564d5eb3d4c7a67a61a8b3d.jpgFroggo2.jpg.271db83dd9042f6e57c5b5c4d0f61b4d.jpg

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6 hours ago, nosweargamer said:

Thanks Lance! 👍 That's probably the best info I ever heard about Froggo. Funny thing about the T's: Thinking games are evil while at the same time hiring people to make and sell them, and also treating a third parties so poorly. Maybe that's why there was a lack of third parties for the late 80s 2600, 7800, Lynx and Jaguar. I suppose I could create a conspiracy theory that they did this on purpose to scare away other companies so that they were they only ones making money off of their systems. 😁

So Froggo was basically a one man operation that quietly closed up shop, probably when the business was on the decline. I wonder if he left while owing people money or paid-for products. This might also explain why his never went public about who he is or what he did, like many other game programmers have done. It also makes me wonder if there were prototypes of Pyromania and Night of the Ninja. Water Ski & Tank Command, while not must-have games, where actually pretty solid for original 7800 titles. 

I never realize Froggo made controllers for the NES. I wonder if they did anything else I'm unaware of.

froggo1.jpg.5df7c120d564d5eb3d4c7a67a61a8b3d.jpgFroggo2.jpg.271db83dd9042f6e57c5b5c4d0f61b4d.jpg

Whaaaaa?  Froggo made NES controllers?  How'd I miss those?  I never seen those anywhere I shopped frequently.

7 hours ago, Video 61 said:

once Atari told me that if i wanted new games, go to work for Nintendo. in fact, they gave me a name, and i worked for a Nintendo distributor for 6 months. the distributor was waiting for me, knew my name ahead of time.

I bet Nintendo treated you a lot nicer than Atari did from the sounds of it.  "Games are Evil?"  Blasphemy.  They aren't evil.  Evil is in the eye of the beholder and how they see the world.  Just because you don't like something doesn't mean it's evil.  I never understand that about some people.  To each their own I guess.

6 hours ago, nosweargamer said:

they told me to tell them to buy a PC.

I remember seeing a Computer Chronicles episode where Jack was interviewed about the ST computer and he kept saying how it was better than the PC, and how he was trying to keep the Asian market out of America.  If you have the "best" computer why would you send your customers to get a PC?  Also, if you are trying to keep Asians stuff out of America then why did you hire them to make your products?  Makes absolutely no sense at all.  And while I'm at it...if you believe video games are evil then WHY DID YOU BUY A VIDEO GAME/COMPUTER COMPANY?!?  Makes no da*m sense.  Maybe I should have bought it if it was that easy to get a hold of.  Geez...at least it would have been owned by some one who LOVED video games.

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On a side note...I just remembered something...I bought a 2600 Junior with my very first paycheck when I was 16.  I got Jr Pac-Man and Midnight Magic but I also picked up a Froggo game called Spideroid.  I gave $10 for it.  Fun game but I felt like I had played it before.  It wasn't until I started collecting the 2600 and its games over the past few years that I discovered I did play that game before...at a friend's house many moons ago...under it's original name...Amidar released on the 2600 by Parker Bros.  Still, it was nice to have at the time and I didn't feel $10 was a bad price for a brand new 2600 game in the early 1990s.

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8 hours ago, nosweargamer said:

I never realize Froggo made controllers for the NES. I wonder if they did anything else I'm unaware of.

froggo1.jpg.5df7c120d564d5eb3d4c7a67a61a8b3d.jpgFroggo2.jpg.271db83dd9042f6e57c5b5c4d0f61b4d.jpg

 

1 hour ago, kamakazi20012 said:

Whaaaaa?  Froggo made NES controllers?  How'd I miss those?  I never seen those anywhere I shopped frequently.

 

Here's the kicker: Froggo developed games for the Atari 7800 and were BASED IN SUNNYVALE, and they made controllers for the NES without changing up the cord and releasing an Atari 2600/7800 variant. Are you serious? Could've used the same case design, the same plastics, mostly the same internals, just changed up the wiring and given us a wonderful D-Pad controller for the 7800. The "cordless remote" one on the left would've been a dream. Generations of Atari 7800 players would still be enjoying these today, seeking them out on eBay and paying a hefty price. They would've owned the 7800 aftermarket. That's incredibly frustrating.

 :wreck-it-ralph_anim:

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22 minutes ago, Justin said:

 

 

Here's the kicker: Froggo developed games for the Atari 7800 and were BASED IN SUNNYVALE, and they made controllers for the NES without changing up the cord and releasing an Atari 2600/7800 variant. Are you serious? Could've used the same case design, the same plastics, mostly the same internals, just changed up the wiring and given us a wonderful D-Pad controller for the 7800. The "cordless remote" one on the left would've been a dream. Generations of Atari 7800 players would still be enjoying these today, seeking them out on eBay and paying a hefty price. They would've owned the 7800 aftermarket. That's incredibly frustrating.

 :wreck-it-ralph_anim:

Well... At least we have the seagull adapter?

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