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Video Game / Frog Fractions

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Like a Billion
Frog Fractions is a Flash Game from Twin Beard Studios that parodies the everloving hell out of Edutainment Games, among other things.

You start as a frog sitting in a pond trying to keep bugs from eating your fruit. Eating bugs scores you points (which are expressed in fractions), and you have to collect the fruit when it ripens and falls off the vine (a tall order, since your character can't move back and forth right away). The fruit you do collect you can spend on power-ups (some of which are seemingly prohibitively expensive and sold in a currency you don't have), and as you do so you discover hints that there's more to this game beyond this little frog's pond.

"Discovery" is a big theme of the game, according to Word of God, and as you play you'll discover all sorts of nonsense we'll try not to spoil here.

Frog Fractions 2 was Kickstarted and turned into an ARG that spanned two years. In December 2016 it was finally released and discovered, included as a secret in a children's game by the name of Glittermitten Grove.

In August 2020, the first game was re-released on Steam as Frog Fractions: Game of the Decade Edition, alongside $10 cosmetic DLC... that's actually an entirely separate game taking place after the original Frog Fractions.

Tropes fractioned in the first game include:

  • All Just a Dream: The human segment turns out to be a dream.
  • Art Shift: The human segment has Hop transformed from a cartoon frog to a photo-realistic man.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: In a long dialogue as you enable and disable the lock-on upgrade, the two people arguing over whether or not the frog really needs the lock-on upgrade eventually question why the frog is still in the beginning stage of the game and whether they should force the frog to move on.
  • Controllable Helplessness: The level where the frog is transformed into a human. You can try to catch bugs, but your tongue is much too short, so it's impossible to do anything but lose.
  • Deconstruction Game:
    • Edutainment games don't actually require any grasp of the subject matter. Fractions occur throughout the game but having knowledge of fractions is in no way required or rewarded by the game nor is ignorance of them penalized.
    • Games that create false goals. In one segment of the game, you manage investments. It doesn't matter at all if you run a surplus or a deficit.
  • Edutainment Game: Starts as one, but in name only, and quickly goes off the rails.
  • Feelies: None exist, obviously, this being a free browser game, but the text adventure game segment identifies the "out of order" sign as being the one included in the non-existent box.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: On the last typing segment before you can get at the underwater cache of "like a billion" fruit, amongst the words that appear are "dunk" and "stash."
  • Gameplay Roulette: Oh brother, and how. Starts as a Shallow Parody of edutainment games, then becomes a Bullet Hell shooter, followed by a Visual Novel segment, back to a parody edutainment game, then a maze game with art game aesthetics, a text adventure, a parody edutainment game yet again (as part of a Joke Level), a DanceDanceRevolution clone, and ends with a pastiche of Lemonade Stand/Hamurabi where you sell bug porn.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: When you Shoot The Core of the boss in the shmup level, it traps you.
  • Humanity Ensues: The frog becomes human at one point. Fortunately, it's All Just a Dream.
  • In Memoriam:
    In memory of Beard #2
  • Little Known Facts: Segments of the Maze section of the game are narrated by a bogus history of boxing, which claims the sport originated in Portugal in the late seventeenth century and originally took the form of gentlemen trying to bore their opponent into unconsciousness with monotonous anecdotes.
  • Overly-Long Gag: The Lock-On Targeting and Uninstall Lock-On Targeting upgrades, with new descriptions each time until the two go on a tangent about waffles, and then wonder why you're still turning it on and off.
  • Pixellation: The "bug porn" in the credits consists of photographs of insects mating with their sex organs pixel-censored.
  • Shout-Out:
    • To Star Fox 64 in most of the dialogue boxes.
    • To Radiant Silvergun in the intro to the boss fight ("WARNING; NO REFUGE BE ATTITUDE FOR GAINS").
    • The credits that play right before The Big Chair chapter are a shout-out to The West Wing.
  • Standard Snippet: Low-res snippets of public domain songs are used as musical stings for the weather reports during the Big Chair sequence. Stormy weather uses "Ride of the Valkyries", cloudy weather uses "Introduction" from Rite of Spring, hot and dry weather uses "La Cucaracha", and sunny weather uses Vivaldi's "Spring".

Tropes fractioned in Frog Fractions 2 include:

  • All Just a Dream: Once the player unlocks the alarm clock, it will reset everything everytime it's alarm goes off, making it feel like a dream. Repeatly unless it's turned off.
  • Alternate Reality Game:
    • A major part of Frog Fractions 2 was the two ARGs that got people all around the world cooperating to figure out what the game really was.
    • A series of puzzles and enigmas involving a time travel plot and a threat known as the "Decay" that would be unleashed with the release of this game.
    • A mysterious symbol known as the Eye Sigil was placed on several indie games since 2014 with Kingdom of Loathing. This symbol would in some way reveal a series of pieces to a map which pointed towards a connection with the main Frog Fractions 2 ARG.
  • Artifact Title: Contains no fractions, and the only frogs are one in a totally optional hidden minigame (an LCD version of Frog Fractions) and one near the end of the game, and it's the third game, not the second.
  • Award-Bait Song: "My Heart Divided" which plays over the end credits.
  • Batman Gambit: The ARG relied on the player’s choosing to share the game with the world to ensure it was even released.
  • Conlang: The room with the frog is based on a fairly simple one, where every glyph you've collected stands for a different word or phrase. In a couple cases, the glyph is the same as the in-game symbol for what it means.
  • Exposition Fairy: Your assistant in Glittermitten Grove. She sticks around once it becomes TXT World.
  • Gainax Ending: The final Korn fact is that Korn was the dying dream of the last mammal on the planet after a disastrous asteroid impact. Then there's a massive quake, the world starts falling apart, and you make a mad dash for the final mindstone... smash to Glittermitten Grove, followed by the credits. Once the credits finish, Glittermitten Grove accelerates to ludicrous speed (filling the screen with butterflies) until hitting Year 0000000000, where that world has, evidently, been engulfed by its sun and your fairy guide saying your trees didn't survived before cutting to the Sound Test.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: The glyphs scattered through the world. There's two of each — collecting the first one gets you the yellow version, collecting both gets you the purple version.
  • Guide Dang It!: Some of the glyphs can be very tricky to find or access without looking them up. Probably the worst offenders are the Eye glyph near the shack, which can only be accessed from Bomb Hell, and both the Up Arrow glyphs, one of which only seems to show up on not just solving the puzzle but then exiting and re-entering the room (possibly because it's blocked by the giant "go right" arrow that appears, and the other of which is received by repeatedly talking to the guard on the second screen.
    • While thankfully they do provide a copy of Dante's Inferno in the game, Inferno Investigation still requires knowing at least most of it, especially since the game will try and trip you up by mixing up infomation from it.
  • Inventory Management Puzzle: There are a few of them, mainly revolving around how holding certain items will occasionally be detrimental (the sword will take up space and prevent you from taking certain tight corners, gems become impassible if you collect too many, and in one area of the game having a particular key makes you unable to progress). All your items are placed in storage every time you reload the game, so you have to remember not to pick up the ones that will block you.
  • Little Known Facts: A running gag, this time about the bogus history of the Nu Metal band Korn.
  • Non Sequitur Environment: All over the place. At one point you climb up into the sky, enter the front door of a blimp, and find yourself in an underground sewers level. Lampshaded by your Exposition Fairy, who provides a ridiculous Hand Wave for it.
  • Oddly Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo: Released under the name Glittermitten Grove to hide its connection to the first game.
  • Old Save Bonus: The game uses saves from Mass Effect 2 for one puzzle and a few jokes. Yes, really.
  • Overly-Long Gag: The credits start off normal until you see the phrase Assistant Director. This is where every backer is named in the credits like in your average kickstarter game. This game does that but adds on Assistant to the Assistant Director and then Assistant to the Assistant to the Assistant Director and then Assistant to the Assistant to the Assistant for all the remaining backers even going as far as to occasionally pop up a Netflix prompt asking if you're still watching Frog Fractions 3.
  • Shout-Out: Virtually every bit of the game. But a few to start with:
  • Stealth Pun:
    • One of the minigames consists of chasing a thief through the nine circles of Dante's Inferno. If you pay attention to the interface, and are familiar with the original incarnations of the series in question, you'll realize you're playing Where the Hell is Carmen Sandiego?
    • Meanwhile, another game has you teeing off your Xenomorph roommate. In other words, Alien: Irritation.
  • Stealth Sequel: In probably one of the most nonsensical ways imaginable, Frog Fractions 2 was stated from the beginning of its Kickstarter campaign to not have a "normal" release, with the game intended to not have any elements hinting at it being a sequel. The insane Alternate Reality Game that ensued, in which players connected various real-world incidents to pieces of online paper trails, had the end-goal of revealing the "location" of Frog Fractions 2; the TXT World game hidden in Glittermitten Grove, a game released by a completely different developer unrelated to Twinbeard, was revealed to be where the sequel was... except Twinbeard confirmed the two games to not be Frog Fractions 2, but Frog Fractions 3. The ARG itself, with its own insane running plotline, was the true Frog Fractions 2, revealing Glittermitten Grove to be a Stealth Sequel to a Stealth Sequel, in an absurd, real-life example of It's the Journey That Counts.

Tropes contained in Hop's Iconic Cap:

  • Adventure Archaeologist: Hattie's profession, though she only wears the associated outfit for Hop.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: During the visual novel segments, most of the dialogue options are marked with a bullet point, but the options that will end the conversation early or otherwise advance the plot are marked with a "fast forward" symbol—making it much easier for players to see all the dialogue in one playthrough, if they want.
  • Art Shift: The digging mini-game turns Hop into a pixel version of himself. The post-game version does the same for Draggy and Toby.
  • Art-Style Clash: Hop looks the same as he did in the original game, his wife is a pixel art cat, and October (AKA "Toby") is drawn in a cartoony manner similar to the frog on the title screen.
  • Chekhov's Gun: From the start of the mode, there's a "Smell Diary" listed in the bottom-right corner that lists smelly things Hop interacts with, like "algae" and "lily". You're eventually asked to remember what the villain smells like to bypass his security, though you can just pick randomly until you select four minerals.
  • Brown Note: The villain's plan is hitting Hop with "Spoiler Orbs", or "SpoilOrbs", that have this effect, in the hope that one will eventually reveal an exciting twist in Hop's own future.
  • Bumbling Dad: Hop is rather out-of-touch with his daughter, Toby. They reconnect as the mode goes on.
  • Call-Back: The Museum that Hop takes his daughter Toby to references both the court case and the boxing monologue from the main game.
  • Cloning Blues: The villain turns out to be the original Hop, who mass-produced clones of himself to regain some excitement in his life.
  • Cosmetic Award: The hat appears to be nothing more than this. But when you start playing with it on...
  • Cut the Juice: The digging segment to find specific ores and bypass the villain's smell-gates abruptly ends when Hop hits a power line and the security system completely shuts down.
  • Ditch the Bodyguards: The point and click adventure game section is about sneaking out past curfew set by your bodyguard.
  • Embedded Precursor: Inverted; the game was released as DLC for the re-release of the original Frog Fractions.
  • Irony: In Hattie's first scene, she insists that she may dress like Indiana Jones (because Hop asked her to), but real archeology is nothing like what you'd see in an Indy movie. Then her expedition unseals the Demiurge, and the team has to fight off hordes of zombies and eventually confront the Demiurge himself.
  • Happy Ending Override: In the Big Chair segment of the original game, there didn't seem to be any consequences for screwing up Bug Mars' economy. This game reveals that you're no longer the president because Bug Mars eventually got fed up with your antics and impeached you.
  • Hero of Another Story: While Hop is spending time with his daughter, Hattie inadvertently awakens, defeats, and usurps a Demiurge, and in the post-game, she must perform other grand feats, such as climbing a World Tree, to get time off to spend with her family.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: The villain is defeated when Phil's limit break aggravates every single Hop clone, leading to a stampede that tramples him as well.
  • Interspecies Romance: Hop (frog) married Hattie (cat) and had a daughter, Toby (different species of frog).
  • Jerkass: Phil. Just one sentence is as irritating as losing a fruit.
  • Over 100% Completion: Beating both the main story, and the expanded version of the digging mini-game that takes place after, leads to a 200% complete save file.
  • Playing Games at Work: Draggy plays a version of solitaire with Uno and Magic: The Gathering cards mixed in, with the cards spilling out of the monitor once he wins.
  • Proscenium Reveal: The mode starts out almost identical to the default game (the only differences being a hat, and smell list). But when "Draggy" appears, he's obviously just a puppet. And then a heckler called Phil interrupts the Bullet Hell segment to complain about your hat, which continues until Hop gets irritated enough to break character and argue with him. The camera pull back to reveal the stage, just as Hop leaps into the audience. The whole opening scene was just a performance based on Hop's past adventure.
  • Prisoner's Dilemma: Not shown, but referenced off-hand. Hattie usurps Ialdabaoth as the Demiurge by beating him at a game of "Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma," which is a version of the game where the Prisoner's Dilemma is played in multiple rounds, with the "score" of each round being held over.
  • Red Herring: Peter Molyneux's bones, as well as whatever word/phrase you create in the anagram segment.
  • Show Within a Show: Hop now plays as himself in a stage play based on his past adventures. The first few levels of this game are actually one of those shows, initially presented as if it were actually happening.
  • Smoke Out: During the conversation with the theater manager, you're given the option to throw a smoke bomb and leave at multiple points. If you stick with the conversation until the end, eventually all of your options are to throw a smoke bomb, and your only choice is what you say before throwing it. And then you forget which door is the way out, so you're still there when the smoke clears.
  • Starving Artist: Implied by Hattie to be what's become of Hop after the events of the original game, endlessly performing a theatrical adaptation of his adventures for dwindling audiences.
  • Stealth Sequel: Thought the "Hop's Iconic Cap" DLC in the rerelease was just a cosmetic? Turns out, it's its own tale entirely.
  • Sudden Sequel Heel Syndrome: The main villain of the game is revealed to be the original Hop, when October finds his original work visa on his person.
  • The Thing That Would Not Leave:
    • Hop's opinion of Carl, his Secret Service agent, particularly since he's not even the president anymore.
    • Phil is also considered to be this, though he ends up being Killed Off for Real in the final battle.
  • Time Skip: This mode takes place months after the original Frog Fractions; most notably, Hop is married, has a child, and is no longer President of Bug Mars, though he still has a live-in Secret Service agent watching over his family.
  • You Are Worth Hell: The post-game is about Hop and Toby trying to dig to the underworld and reunite with Hattie, while also sending her schematics to help her scheme to get less working hours.
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: Hattie accidentally becomes the Demiurge after an archaeological expedition uncovers its tomb and she kills it.