November 09, 2012, 6:31 AM — Frog Fractions has been getting a lot of press in the past week or so, with more than one reviewer throwing around phrases like the best game of all time. It's also a game that's much more enjoyable if you go in blind, and people who've experienced it are reticent to say anything about the game at all. As a result a lot of people start up what they expect to be the most revolutionary game in years to find...a Missile Command clone starring a frog? Yet the game's critical praise isn't an elaborate hoax; there's a lot more to Frog Fractions than meets the eye.
I conducted a short interview (via e-mail) with the game's creator Jim Crawford where we discuss why Frog Fractions is an "educational" game and how some of the non-traditional steps he's taking to monetize a game this odd (among other things). A word of warning, though: Give the game a try (and really try) before you read on, as we discuss some specific spoilers along with some more broad ideas that might ruin the experience of Frog Fractions for you.
Game On: Given all the disparate things that Frog Fractions becomes as you play it, why did you wrap it in the sort of old-school educational game trappings? It could have started as just about anything.
Crawford: Robert Yang wrote a great piece about, in part, how Frog Fractions is a satirical takedown of bad educational software, and I really wish that had been intentional, because it totally works as one. Death of the author and all that.
One major reason was the alliteration of "Frog Fractions." It just rolls right off the tongue! But mostly it was that I wanted to add an additional fakeout to the beginning of the game, and educational games in particular were part of my youth and resonate with me.
I'm curious about if you planned to make the world feel consistent; despite constantly pulling the rug out from under the player, the world in your game feels like it just expands rather than transporting the player to some crazy and radically different universe each time.
Crawford: There's some connective tissue running through the game, and I wish there were more, but obviously the dream-like progression is part of the appeal. Most of the connections I make later in the game are there to make the player grin rather than to make the storyline make sense.