Once upon a time, a naive editor in chief sat down in the Sidequest Slack, gazed upon her writers, and asked, “What, dear friends, is a worthy followup to Witch Moms and Sword Dads? What might we rank, to be referenced for generations to come, that sits on par with those parental figures we love so dearly?”
Silence echoed in the great Slack halls, until a single voice rang out: “Frogs.”
And then we listed, like, 30 frogs. And here they are, slightly edited down, for you! If we’ve missed your favorite frog, don’t worry: the comments section is open wide for your froggy contribution, and our Patreon supporters will actually get to vote in the grand frog rank reckoning! The winning frog will be immortalized in a Patreon-exclusive illustration (and in our hearts), so now’s a great time to join up and toss a couple bucks a month towards our site.
And now: the frogs have arrived. Be warned—entries may contain minor spoilers!
LeapFrog (LeapFrog games)
I honestly don’t know too many kids these days that boast playing a LeapFrog console when it’s much easier now to jump right into a fully decked out computer to play “grown-up” things like all the Fortnites, Minecrafts, and the Among Us-es—but just the idea that your little one’s first gateway into gaming might have been via frog is pretty incredible to me. Included in the IP’s colorful (green) cast of froggy character mascots is a green dog, which invites… a lot of questions.
— Elvie Mae Parian
Frolf balls (Ribbit King)
In Ribbit King, you play as a little guy named Scooter who plays golf to save the universe by winning “Super Ribbinite” to fuel his planet. But even though Scooter is the ostensible protagonist, the real heroes of the game… are the frogs. What frogs, you might ask? Why, the frogs that are the balls that Scooter hits with a mallet, of course. They sit on little catapults that spring them through the air towards each hole. In the name of their planet, these frogs heroically leap through spheres to collect points, avoiding a plethora of obstacles such as trees, sand traps, and snakes that eat them. And yes, the game itself does call it frolfing. I nominate these frogs as the best video game frogs of all, because they risk their lives to save their world, while humbly demanding none of the glory and recognition for doing so.
— Emily Durham
Froggy Chair (Animal Crossing)
Why not rep all the good frogs of Animal Crossing through the most iconic chair of all time? The Froggy Chair furniture item is a signature staple in the series—at least, until we were robbed of any version of it in the latest game, New Horizons. Thanks to the recent trendiness of Y2K and kidcore aesthetics, the Froggy Chair at the very least continues to survive in the hearts of many despite being betrayed by the very game that birthed it. Look at it! It’s just so happy that it wants you to sit on it!
Cyclos (The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker)
I find Wind Waker to be a severely underappreciated Zelda game, and by that I mean, I love Toon Link and, somehow, other people don’t. You know what I especially love about Wind Waker? The talking fish who call you Small Fry. But since this is a list about frogs, let’s talk about the frogs! Cyclos is the wind god that gets mad about his broken monument, so he torments the toon people with—you guessed it—cyclones. A jerk frog? Sign me up! Actually, you know what, he gives you one of the most useful songs in the game, which allows you to travel wherever you want. So yeah, he was a jerk, but then he’s a helpful jerk! Eh? Eh????
— Naseem Jamnia
Camofrog (Animal Crossing: New Horizons)
Camofrog was the first cranky villager on my Animal Crossing: New Horizons island, Flavortown, and I really cherished our time together. On an island full of pop stars, jocks, and sisterly villagers, Camofrog was a deep-voiced, grumpy breath of fresh air. I’m still sad that he moved away, but I fondly remember every “ten-hut” and “kiddo.”
— Maddi Butler
Frog Cloud (Final Fantasy VII Remake)
Look, Cloud isn’t the only character in Final Fantasy VII that this happens to, because it’s a temporary status effect that can afflict party members during battles. He is the funniest one it happens to, though, because as of the remake, they give him a tiny buster sword.
It’s got materia slots! A single materia would be too heavy and too large for a frog to use! It’s an unremarked on, completely absurd thing in an otherwise serious world, in exactly the way the Final Fantasy games have always excelled at. I love him.
— Nola Pfau
Dennis the Green Tree Frog (Ty the Tasmanian Tiger)
Okay fine, Dennis the Green Tree Frog is definitely not the best frog in gaming. However, he is a parody of rich people, and what’s funnier than that? Dennis the bougie frog has made a fortune by collecting Thunder Eggs, but to be honest, he doesn’t do much besides brag about his collection and cower behind Ty as you defeat enemies and steer him through the dark swamp back to his luxurious tree house. Any game that shows that rich people are cowards who make their money off the labor of other people is a good game by me.
When I asked my fiance what the good video game frogs are, he said, very passionately, “Do you know anything about Frogger? Look up the Frogger 2 opening cinematic. Frogger has a wife and a family! Frogger is a wife guy!” I mostly remember playing Frogger (badly) on my Gameboy Advance when I was a kid, but Frogger lore does indeed confirm Frogger is noble, brave, and an all-around nice guy. The premise of Frogger 2: Swampy’s Revenge is that crocodiles are kidnapping baby frogs, whom you must rescue with your girlfriend Lillie. Not only is Frogger the platonic ideal of frog, he’s also a family man. What’s not to love about that?
A carpenter. A joyous father. A huggable uncle. A berry picker. A union negotiator. Truly, what does Atul not have to offer. As one of Stella’s first passengers in Spiritfarer, he made my boat a consistently welcoming (if… loud) place to be, all while froggin’ it up. Atul brought regrets into the afterlife, but they were the regrets of a person who lived with a tremendous amount of care for the people around him. I don’t care if Spiritfarer is a fictional game about dead people, Atul is real and alive and my uncle and I love him.
— Zora Gilbert
Bopek isn’t a frog, per se, but he is frog-adjacent, and he is the best—so, listen, when it comes to an actual named character, Bopek gets my vote for the best video game frog. Bopek is a tween mutant boy who was discovered alone in a forest as a baby and adopted by an entire mutant village on the eponymous island Mutazione. Bopek, despite his 12-year-old social awkwardness and his inability to be fully understood by anyone on the island, is the sweetest frog/tadpole boy anyone could ask for. He goes fishing daily, singing songs to the fish so they’ll come nearer to his hook; he is shockingly good at weaving baskets for shopkeeper Claire out of reeds; he has an unhealthy (but extremely endearing) obsession with hot sauce; and he volunteers to teach Ailin’s unborn baby how to be an arcade master. He’s a sweet friend at an awkward age and to me there is no greater frogboy in video games.
Frog (Chrono Trigger)
All right, I don’t want to spoil a thirty-year-old game, but we can’t talk about frogs without talking about Frog. Tragic backstory, check. Self-imposed guilt for something not actually his fault, check. Decision to enact revenge versus realizing it won’t bring back, check. Possibly hot in his human form as long as you forget that he looks like a Dragon Ball Z character, because it’s the same artist, check. What’s not to love? Also, Frog has a badass sword; who doesn’t love a frog with a badass sword? And if you need one more reason to love him, well, he could have been the leader of the party in another life.
Prince Fleaswallow (PaRappa the Rapper)
I have never played PaRappa the Rapper, but I did fondly read about it in a PlayStation magazine when I was eight years old. I didn’t have a PlayStation and I begged my friends to get it, but apparently they weren’t as into the idea of a rapping rhythm game as I was. I think that was because they simply hadn’t seen Prince Fleaswallow, as groovy a frog as you’ll ever see. From reading the PaRappa the Rapper wiki, a thing I am delighted to find exists, I have learned that Prince Fleaswallow raps in a sort of reggae style, which I admittedly am not that into. But still, that style! That name! Perhaps some day I’ll actually play PaRappa the Rapper and will experience Prince Fleaswallow in all his froggy glory, but for now I will simply admire that funky fresh style from afar.
— Melissa Brinks
Elvie somehow finds bliss in purposefully complicating the art of storytelling and undertaking the painful practice of animation. If you see her on Twitter at @lvmaeparian, she is doing neither of those things. She currently helps with managing the socials to ensure that the secret recipe will never be revealed.