The Tao of Frogger

Remember Frogger? The classic video game that inspired a memorable Seinfeld episode? It struck me that the game illustrates the difference between working smart and various flavors of working stupid. So here is one of my world-renowned cartoon philosophy illustrations (haven’t done one in a while).  Of course, the full-blow version also has crocodiles, turtles and a busy highway, but let’s keep it simple.


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About Venkatesh Rao

Venkat is the founder and editor-in-chief of ribbonfarm. Follow him on Twitter


  1. Aargh the green qualia, it burnss usss, it burnss uss my preciousss :)

  2. Cute but not acute
    By ribbonfarm standards, a
    Quickie, not tricky.

    Having said that, another usual thought exploder.

    After a flurry of “research” on the ill-effects of video/computer games, nowadays we see more of research proving the learning value of games (typically strategy or reflex). Not all of it funded by game manufacturers one hopes.

    Would be interesting to ponder on the types of thinking induced by certain games versus others. For instance, Pacman seems to favor a frenzy of always-moving-ahead action versus a Digger that required (relatively speaking) strategic thinking.

    Could be extended to popular comic themes, too.

    While I equally enjoy(ed) Tintin and Asterix comics, the latter was dissatisfying in its magic potion-enabled biff-bam approach to solving all problems compared to a richer repertoire of tricks employed by the protagonists of the former.

  3. Disagree with RG.
    Indeed application of the concept of smartness (whatever this might be) in _this_ game turns out to be jumping from ship to ship. More cognitive energy (but not too much or else we are on case II) leads to less real energy and less time consumption.

    So the lesson is that being smart includes coordination, intuition, a bit of agression, careful observation, patience and a sense of context.

  4. My only complaint is that your last cartoon doesn’t show success. Mr. Frog is tantalizingly on the verge, but you don’t win until you’re on dry land again (at which point it kicks you up to the next level). I think this metahpor could actually be expanded significantly and still be of value. Keep up the (good) drawing!