Frog Fractions is a 2012 browser game developed by Twinbeard Studios, a company composed primarily of founder Jim Crawford. The game, released on October 25, 2012, has been described as a spoof of the edutainment game genre. In the game, the player begins by controlling a frog to eat bugs and defend fruit. Later on, the player may spend points on upgrades to improve their frog's abilities. The game does not actually teach the player about fractions; the player's score is given in fractions, but no knowledge of them is necessary to play.
|Release||October 25, 2012|
|Genre(s)||Independent video game|
Frog Fractions begins with a frog sitting on a lily pad. The player controls the frog, and must use its tongue to attack insects, while collecting and protecting fruit. The game later introduces upgrades that the player may purchase, including lock-on targeting, a cybernetic brain, and a flying dragon. When the player collects enough fruit, they can buy a warp drive, which lets them ride their dragon through an asteroid field to Bug Mars, where the player then battles an alien robot squid. The player is then sent to Bug Court, where they sign for a work visa. The player then travels under the water below Bug Mars, while listening to a narrated history of the creation of boxing. At the end of the maze, the player activates a spaceship, and must complete a text adventure game to return to Bug Mars, where the game appears to end (actually fake credits). Upon returning, the player runs for president in a Dance Dance Revolution-style game. Regardless of how well they perform, they succeed in being elected president, and must complete a business simulator manufacturing bug pornography to unlock further upgrades. Once all required upgrades are collected the game concludes. The game takes about one hour to complete.
Crawford originally created Frog Fractions to entertain his friends, and to see their reactions when they first played it. Later on, he felt that with the indie genre taking off, Frog Fractions was taken more seriously among gamers. Crawford noted that although critics often described the game as a satire on old educational games, he never intentionally developed Frog Fractions with that in mind. Instead, Crawford explained that Frog Fractions had an educational theme because of the name's alliteration, and because he considered educational games a part of his youth.
Originally, Frog Fractions included tutorials to teach the player how to progress through the game. However, after Crawford asked his friend Tim Ambrogi to play test the game, Ambrogi stated that he did not want to read any of the informational popups that appeared throughout the game because he was too busy focusing on the gameplay. Crawford added transitions that made the game feel like a "dream-like progression", which he believed would better appeal to players. For transitions in the game's latter half, Crawford wanted the transitions to entertain players more, rather than attempt to make any sense of the game's story. PC World complimented Frog Fractions for using the transitions to draw connections between each scene to add a feeling of consistency, despite the often strange transitions that take place.
In order to make money from Frog Fractions, Crawford first sold the game's soundtrack, with part of the proceeds going to the game's music team. He later decided to sell T-shirts containing jokes from the game in order to benefit its art team. While developing Frog Fractions, Crawford said that he came up with a lot of other video game ideas, but he then realized that he could implement them immediately into Frog Fractions rather than start a new project, due to the game's unpredictable nature.
Crawford released Frog Fractions earlier than he wanted, when he sent an incomplete version to the 2013 Independent Games Festival as a "Main Competition Entrant" but was told that he needed to increase the game's popularity before it would be accepted. Subsequently, he let Gamasutra editor and popular Twitter user Brandon Sheffield play the game, who enjoyed it so much that he shared it with his more than 3,000 Twitter followers. Within a day, tens of thousands of people had played the game.
After the game's release, players began requesting new features, such as more updates, a high definition version for tablets and smartphones, and a sequel. Crawford was interested in developing a high definition version in which he could include some leftover ideas, but admitted that he was unsure if this would ever materialize. He noted that he created Frog Fractions to gain visibility for himself rather than to profit from it. Frog Fractions was described as being possibly the "greatest game of all time" by Rock Paper Shotgun, who credited the wild range of gameplay mechanics. It was also called "the most deranged thing you'll play this year" by Eurogamer, and "either the best or worst piece of math edu-tainment in history" by the Gameological Society. The game won Giant Bomb's "URL of the Year" award for 2012. In March 2014, Twinbeard launched a Kickstarter campaign to crowdfund the development of a sequel entitled Frog Fractions 2.
Crawford announced his plans for a sequel, Frog Fractions 2, via a Kickstarter campaign in March 2014, with a planned release in 2015. The campaign included a number of elements that pointed players towards a larger alternate reality game (ARG) that incorporated a number of web sites, social media accounts, real-life locations, and around two dozen independent video games. The ARG was solved by players around December 2016, discovering a physical box that triggered the release of Frog Fractions 2, hidden within the content of the video game Glittermitten Grove.
- Prell, Sophie (2013-01-28). "Before the Internet, there were secrets: the design of Frog Fractions". The Penny Arcade Report. Archived from the original on 2013-12-26. Retrieved 2013-01-27.
- Crawford, Jim (2012-10-25). "frog fractions". Goombas. Retrieved 2013-01-03.
- Matulef, Jeffrey (2012-10-26). "Free game Frog Fractions might be the most deranged thing you'll play this year". Eurogamer. Retrieved 2013-01-03.
- Grayson, Nathan (2012-10-25). "Frog Fractions Might Be The Greatest Game Of All Time". Rock Paper Shotgun. Retrieved 2013-01-03.
- Toal, Drew. "Math Munchers". The Gameological Society. Retrieved 2013-01-03.
- Daw, David (2012-11-02). "Free Game Friday: Frog Fractions creator talks about making surprising games". PC World. Retrieved 2013-01-03.
- "Frog Fractions". Independent Games Festival. Retrieved 2013-01-03.
- "Giant Bomb's 2012 Game of the Year Awards: Day Three". Giant Bomb. 2012-12-26. Retrieved 2013-01-05.
- Samit Sarkar (2014-03-10). "Frog Fractions developer launches $60K Kickstarter for sequel". Polygon. Retrieved 2014-03-10.
- Klepek, Patrick (December 26, 2016). "Inside the Development of Gaming's Biggest Mystery, 'Frog Fractions 2'". Vice. Retrieved December 26, 2016.
- D'Anastasio, Cecilia (December 26, 2016). "The Two-Year Mystery Is Over: This Is Frog Fractions 2". Kotaku. Retrieved December 26, 2016.