Play Frogger With Real-Time Traffic

An update to a popular 1980s arcade game includes live cars in New York City.

The Smithsonian American Art Museum recently unveiled a new exhibit, The Art of Video Games, which explores the 40-year history and evolution of video games, focusing on games with ‘the most striking visual effects and the creative use of new technologies’.  The exhibit features 80 games ranging from Pac Man on the Atari VCS to Halo 2 on the Xbox.

But for New York designer Tyler DeAngelo, one game was missing: Frogger, the popular 1980s arcade game that pit frogs against oncoming traffic as they tried to make their way across a busy street.  In honor of the game’s 30th(ish) birthday, and in an effort to get Frogger added to the Smithsonian exhibit, DeAngelo created ‘Fifth Avenue Frogger,’ an updated version of the classic that uses real-time traffic data from New York’s 5th avenue.

To create ‘Fifth Avenue Frogger,’ DeAngelo hacked into an original Frogger console and connected it to a webcam positioned above 5th avenue. The webcam captured the positions of cars on the street; the positions were then translated into live-streaming data on the game console, allowing players to guide their frogs across the street perfectly in sync with the real-time traffic.

The game’s difficulty changes with traffic patterns- if the frog is trying to cross at 2am, his chances are a lot higher than if he’s trying to cross during the 9am rush hour.  And during the 5p gridlock? He just has to maneuver around parked cars.

Watch a video of Fifth Avenue Frogger below:

(Sadly, the Smithsonian did not admit Frogger into the exhibit.)

Fifth Avenue Frogger

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