Whenever I hear about Frogger, my mind goes back to the Seinfeld episode where Jerry & George return to their high school hangout for one last slice of pizza before it closes. There they discover that not only is the original Frogger arcade game still there, but George’s high score is still tops. George decides the buy the game and hilarity ensues.
It’s been nearly 14 years since that episode of Seinfeld was first broadcast, and over 30 years since Frogger was first released by Konami in 1981. In the game players must navigate a frog across a busy highway and safely back to it’s home.
Tyler DeAngelo, Renee Lee, and Ranjit Bhatnagar have created an updated version of the classic game that transmits real-time traffic from Fifth Avenue in NYC. The group is trying to get the project featured in the Art of Video Games exhibit at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
To track the traffic on Fifth Avenue, DeAngelo mounted a web camera high up in a building with a clear view of the busy street and wrote code that translated the real-time position of the cars into live-streaming data. In the game the car graphics are mapped on to those positions in the game in real-time.
As a final stroke of genius, DeAngelo hauled out his hacked version of game to the sidewalk facing Fifth Avenue, and invited passing New Yorkers to play.