Plugged In

‘Frogger’ turns 30

Plugged In

After years spent dodging countless cars, hopping across millions of floating logs and gobbling an untold number of flies, Frogger has made the jump into his 30s.

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Yup, it was this day in 1981 when the coin-op classic first leapt into gamers' lives, inspiring plenty of clones and a legacy of sequels that's still going strong today.

The game was originally called "Highway Crossing Frog," until some smart executive at Sega (which distributed the Konami-made game throughout the world) figured out how ridiculous that name was and promptly shortened it.

That gave birth to a legacy that spawned everything from a Saturday morning cartoon to an iconic episode of Seinfeld:

To celebrate the 30-year mark, Konami has released a new game to the Apple app store, appropriately titled Frogger Decades.

The heroic amphibian isn't the only video game icon to celebrate a big birthday this year.

Gamers met Mario for the first time in 1981's Donkey Kong, though he was known as Jumpman at the time. More importantly, Donkey Kong was the game that put Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto on the map, marking the first effort from the most revered developer in the industry. Arcade standard Galaga also debuted in '81, as did Qix and Vanguard. And let's not forget Ms. Pac-Man, one of the most popular games of all time.

And while it didn't debut until 1986, another game is celebrating a landmark anniversary this year: The Legend of Zelda. The action-role-playing phenom turns 25 in 2011, and Nintendo is making sure the party will last all year long. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword will serve as the Wii's swan song when it releases November 20, joining Nintendo's critically-lauded update of the smash hit Ocarina of Time for the 3DS back in June.

The company is also hosting a series of symphony concerts around the world featuring the music of the Zelda games. Buyers of the Skyward Sword Gold Bundle will receive a CD of the game's music as well as a gold Wii controller.

Next year has a few banner birthdays as well. Revered role-playing giant Final Fantasy turns 25, while arcade stalwart Q*Bert will turn 30.

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