On February 27, software engineer Michael Smith surpassed his own previous world record for Konami’s 1981 coin-op classic Frogger, a feat which involved maxing out the game’s score counter multiple times. His new score sits at a comfortable 1,356,520, handily toppling his previous record of 970,440.
Smith’s new Frogger score was verified by Twin Galaxies, an organisation dedicated to preserving video game records. His achievement was validated via the Twin Galaxies Submission and Adjudication Process (TGSAP), in which a record-setter can submit a video and have adjudicators vote to accept it into the record books if they feel it’s genuine, with votes from adjudicators with higher reputations being weighed more heavily. The record was formally accepted on March 1.
This feat makes Smith one of very few Frogger players to ever break one million. Pat Laffaye, who has also held the Frogger world record in the past, reportedly scored 1,029,990 on August 15 2017, but he never formally submitted this score to Twin Galaxies.
“But wait! The Frogger score panel doesn’t even go up to a million!” As with a number of early arcade games, Frogger’s designers apparently never anticipated the astronomical scores some players might actually achieve in the brutally difficult game, and so there are only five digits in the score display. This means that the score effectively “rolls over” back to zero whenever a player surpasses 99,990 points. Smith maxed out the scoreboard 12 times during his record-shattering game, finally ending with a score of 56,520 displayed onscreen and 1.3 million points in the tank. The accomplishment also meant that Smith endured in the game on one credit, dodging cars and hopping across logs and lily pads for over seven hours.
The Frogger community was universally impressed with the achievement. According to Excelliron, who holds Twin Galaxies records in other arcade games including Rampage, Centipede, and Missile Command: “Frogger fits the mould of the very best classic arcade games; its opening levels are very easy and so incredibly intuitive that a young child can both understand and perform it, but stick around for a level or two and suddenly wheats getting separated from the chaff, boys are being separated from men.” He said that even a 50,000 or 100,000 point score was impressive in Frogger, and he doubted that anyone would ever come to beat this new record.
Smith joked in his record-breaking video that the key factors to him achieving the score were standing up every now and then and asking his wife to bring him Cheez-its. Though a little bit of practice probably didn’t hurt him.