Remember Frogger? That old arcade game developed by Konami and licensed by Sega back in the early 80s is making a comeback, and to celebrate its 30th anniversary, Frogger's virtual gameplay has been introduced into the real world.
5th Ave Frogger, created and developed by Tyler DeAngelo, tracks real-time cars and traffic on 5th Avenue in New York City, and by hacking into the old arcade game, players on the massive avenue can navigate their virtual frogs across the road right in front of them.
In 1981 a daredevil frog hopped out of his swamp and into our hearts. Over the last 30 years, we killed him... millions of times... in an arcade game called Frogger. To celebrate 30 years of smashing frogs, we decided to breathe a little life back in him just before we run him over again. Happy birthday Frogger! Welcome to NYC!
Real cars, real time, fake frog, is the game's tagline. The classic Frogger arcade reinvented.
DeAngelo, with help from Renee Lee and Ranjit Bhatnagar, created a trailer describing how he built the game, using a bullfrog to narrate:
Hi, I'm the frog from the classic 1980s arcade game, Frogger, it said. This year is my 30th birthday. To celebrate, I want nothing more than to get into the brand-new 'Art of Video Games' exhibit at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. So, here's my plan: I'm going to build a Frogger game by reimaginging what Frogger would look like if it was created today.
For Frogger's real-world debut, DeAngelo chose New York City, the place with the most terrifying drivers in the world. To give players plenty of traffic to dodge in the game, DeAngelo had to find an exciting street with lots of crazy drivers, and settled on New York City's famous 5th Avenue.
To make the game work, DeAngelo needed to find a way to transmit traffic into a virtual game in real-time. He tried an experiment with Optical Flow techniques, which involved tracking cars once they drove through the crosswork, but the experiment didn't pan out. In the end, DeAngelo installed a web camera with a bird's eye view of 5th Avenue and wrote code that could track the real-time positions of the cars, but he also found a way to segment the foreground so the computer could tell the difference between stationary objects in the picture (ex: street, buildings) from the moving objects (cars). By transmitting the car information into pixel data and live streaming it in real-time, the positions of the cars could be mapped into car graphics in the virtual arcade game, driving down the road in real-time.
Finally, DeAngelo introduced 5th Ave Frogger to New Yorkers by hauling a hacked arcade game of Frogger onto the sidewalk overlooking 5th Avenue. DeAngelo hooked up a mini generator to power the game system, and once the connection to the camera was achieved, passing New Yorkers could finally play 5th Ave Frogger.
After being outside for only a few minutes, this Frogger's getting more play than Justin Bieber at a Justin Bieber concert, the video said.
5th Ave Frogger's ingenuity reminds gamers why Frogger was such a popular game in the first place, but this creative twist adds a new element into the game: true immersion.
I think what makes this version of Frogger so special is that the game's experience changes based on events that are happening in the real-world, and in real-time, the creator said in the video.
DeAngelo and his team are pushing to help make Frogger's birthday wish come true by getting the game into the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The group is asking fans to visit the Facebook page or and urge the Smithsonian to consider Frogger.
Check out the video below, and let us know what you think of 5th Ave Frogger in the comments section below.