Dr. David's Indie Spotlight: Frog Fractions 2 reminds us that surprises in video games used to be a thing
Anyone who's ever played video games prior to the 2000s probably has some great gaming discovery stories to tell. Back then, the Internet wasn't a household requirement, game guides didn't pop up everywhere, and spoilers didn't run rampant. People discovered things on their own, and sometimes they came across fascinating little nuggets that were a secret to most. That's exactly what Frog Fractions and its upcoming sequel Frog Fractions 2 from Twinbeard Studios are all about — that nostalgic sense of discovery — and that's exactly why most anyone who's ever loved the mystery of gaming should be at least partially excited about the sequel's Kickstarter campaign
Admittedly, I played Frog Fractions for the first time ever just over a week ago. (Hey, it's not the first time I'm pitifully late in playing something remarkably ingenious.) Even though I'd already heard plenty about Frog Fractions, perhaps it's the fact that I hadn't touched it that made me forget pretty much any factoid that could potentially venture into spoiler-flavored territory.
The magic of edutainment?
Naturally, I'd been intrigued for some time, but I just never gave Frog Fractions the time of day. (When Christopher Walken invents time travel, I'm going to punch my past self in the nuts for ignoring this game initially.) There I was, though, two years after the browser title's launch, intrigued once more following a Kickstarter campaign for Frog Fractions 2. So what did I do? I went back and watched GiantBomb's 2012 Game of the Year awards to see exactly why Brad Shoemaker had listed the game as one of his personal favorites that year.
He was vague about it — something I didn't recall on account of it being two years since I'd watched that video the first time — but he said what most people (now including me) who've played Frog Fractions say: just play the game. So I did exactly that. About five minutes in, I just didn't see the appeal. Yeah, I was one of those people. So I closed the tab and started looking at random things on the Internet. But I wasn't feeling good about ignoring the game, so I did a bit of light reading on it, delving ever so slightly into a mild spoiler.
I didn't read too much, because the moment I read about one particular part of the game, I knew I had to return to it and play it to completion. I don't regret that sequence being spoiled, because if anything, it pushed me to play the game from start to finish. Even though that one thing was no longer going to be a surprise, I knew I would be amused by it regardless. More importantly, as I played Frog Fractions, I was treated to surprises that progressively grew more awesome.
No idea what this is, but it could be in Frog Fractions 2.
In essence, I traded in one pretty big spoiler in favor of a bunch of huge, wonderful moments. The payoff was worth it. My experience was kind of like talking about a game in the schoolyard, finding something out that you would've liked to discover on your own, and then playing the game to see that particular cutscene or boss battle for yourself. Then, once you got to that part, you were still filled with a paramount sense of gratification because, at the very least, you witnessed it for yourself.
In the case of Frog Fractions, I was definitely filled with the utmost satisfaction because even though I didn't experience the "WTF?!" moment as a "WTF?!" moment, I still experienced it as a laugh-out-loud moment that completely overjoyed me. But then, things just got even crazier and more amazing from there. Things happened in Frog Fractions that I'd seen in other games, but the way they played out in this particular game along with the characters and writing that were utilized to propel the happenings were wonderfully and beautifully absurd.
Since getting to the jovial end of the game, I've been keeping a close eye on Frog Fractions 2. I want nothing more than for creator Jim Crawford's project to succeed and meet its crowdfunding goal on Kickstarter. The great thing about it is that Crawford himself is being both vague and realistic about Frog Fractions 2. Is this even going to be a sequel to Frog Fractions? Could it be a completely different game? Will it be any good? Those are all things everyone who's looking forward to Frog Fractions 2 needs to take into account, because Crawford himself certainly is.
No idea how to describe this, but it's a part of Frog Fractions 2.
It's that ability to create something that's become so thought-provoking that makes Crawford one of the more creative and daring individuals in the gaming industry. In addition, that's exactly the type of thing that makes me urge anyone who's played Frog Fractions to support this upcoming endeavor, and anyone who's never played it (or shrugged it off) to give it a chance. Seriously, stop being d--ks like I was and just play the game — it'll take you roughly 30 minutes. Maybe 40.
If you play Frog Fractions and hate it, you've at least earned the opportunity to say, “This game is a load of balls!” If you enjoy it, however, you're a part of something special — a group of fans who appreciate how games used to surprise us. Frog Fractions, and ultimately Frog Fractions 2, are about those special moments we never see coming. Burning a bush to unveil a secret in The Legend of Zelda. The Konami Code. Yoshi's brief appearance in Super Mario 64. Those were great surprises, and Frog Fractions is loaded with its own special moments that won't soon be forgotten. I can only imagine how Frog Fractions 2 will surprise its players.
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