Monthly Archives: January 2020

Koji the Frog Arcade categoryMacintosh category

Title screen from Koji the Frog

What did Koji the Frog do to deserve this? All Koji wants to do is eat bugs, and not only does he have to deal with angry bees and cars and lightning strikes, but there’s a gopher underground who’s trying to blow up Koji with dynamite! The gopher can’t sleep through Koji’s incessant hopping, so I understand being annoyed by that, but dynamite seems like a disproportionate response.

Koji seems reassuringly chill about this. He carries the same blank expression throughout the game. Even when he wins, to express his enthusiasm, he holds up a sign that says “Ribbit!”, like a Looney Tunes character. Maybe he’ll get eaten by a snake. It’s all good. He’s Koji the Frog.

Screenshot from Koji the Frog

Koji’s gonna fall right into that snake’s mouth and enter a world of pain

Besides the unrelenting misfortune that poor Koji has to endure if he wants a meal, the interesting part of Koji the Frog is how Koji moves around. His tongue can stretch out pretty far, but he still has to jump to catch bugs out of the air. Koji’s hop has a wide arc, which can be tricky to line up with the bugs in motion, so you have to lean into his momentum. Plus there’s the gopher, who will blow you up if you stand still for too long (maybe as a homage to the gopher from Caddyshack?). These minor variations – his limited range, his big hops, the homicidal gopher – add a nice twist to this cute, simple game. Otherwise, it gets by on how utterly terrific Koji the Frog himself is.

I expected that developer Marco Carra, operating under the name Slimyfrog Software, would have exclusively made frog-related games, but most of the other titles in the Slimyfrog catalog are desktop utilities, educational tools, or novelty programs (like EarthQuake, a program that shakes the screen around). That means Koji the Frog shoulders the responsibility of being the only frog software produced by Slimyfrog Software. I am happy to confirm that it is certifiably froggy.

A note on versions

The screenshots in this article might look different than the version of Koji the Frog you can find online. Most copies on the internet are version 2.0.1. These screenshots were taken from version 1.0.1, which was included on the demo disc for MacAddict issue #1.

Below the Root Platform category

Title screen from Below the Root

Below the Root is based on a series of children’s fantasy novels by Zilpha Keatley Snyder, and without having read the books, I can’t speak to it as a literary adaptation. What I can say is that the game, co-designed by Snyder, is clearly drawing on rich source material, and the Green-Sky Trilogy is a perfect setting for a game with lots of exploration.

In the world of Green-Sky, the people live up in the trees, in harmony with nature. Relevant to the game, the people in Green-Sky wear these cape-like garments called “shubas” that they use to glide through the air, which are very fun to control. As fun as it is to glide through the treetops, though, the thing that makes Below the Root greater than its parts is how pleasant it is, and how it puts kindness, peace, and connectedness at the forefront. » Read more about Below the Root

Mirage Multimedia category

Title screen from Mirage

Multimedia CD-ROM games – live-action games in particular – can have a bad reputation because it’s easy to dismiss them. They can be weird and obtuse, often told in a way that’s intentionally fragmented, and they’re rarely given the dignity of being appreciated on their own terms. Corny live-action games get lumped into the same category as multimedia art like Puppet Motel. They’re treated as these bizarre anachronistic objects that don’t deserve respect or patience. Yet these sorts of games, which seem the most confusing at first, can be the most rewarding if you give them a chance.

The tragedy of the surreal Western game Mirage is that it justifies those gut reactions. It’s the kind of nightmare fiasco that you’d imagine if you assumed the worst from the genre. » Read more about Mirage