Konami - 1981
I first played Frogger when it came out on my Dad's Apple II. (Yes, yes, a bit posh I know) It basically destroyed my brain. I have never been the same since. The object of the game was simple enough: get your frog safely across a busy road, then carry on across a river. One would think that it was a case of just swimming across the river but no, that wasn't the case. For some reason the water was lethal to our little froggy friend, so you had jump onto logs, turtles and crocodiles. After traversing the river, you have to jump into a little hole where, presumably, frogs are safe. Do this five times, into five different holes, and move onto the next level. The levels got faster, more ruthless and, crucially, included more creatures for you to dodge. This was one of the first arcade games to include that kind of progression from level to level. That is to say, the next level had more to it than the increased speed of baddies (Space Invaders for example).
This game was a difficult little blighter but predictably it was totally addictive. Hence the neural destruction that I experienced. Along with Centipede, this was popular with girls. It didn't have any shooting in it, just a pure and simple objective. Like all of the early coin-ops Frogger was a success outside the arcade, the attraction of having a little frog as a hero(ine) was enough to make the game a big success. Frogger has finally reappeared on the PC and some of the newer consoles. Worth looking out for, even just to play the retro versions that are included as bonuses of the main game.
Bubbaray 30 May '03
KLOV's Frogger page - Trivia, technical details and lots more.
Wikipedia's Frogger page - Lots of great information.