Please note that this article contains spoilers for Frog Fractions and Frog Fractions 2.
Frog Fractions was a surprise indie hit in 2012, surprising and delighting players by playing with their expectations. Initially presented as an edutainment game about learning mathematical fractions with a cartoon frog protagonist, the game soon transforms into a collection of various gameplay styles paired with gonzo storylines. Among the sections of the game are a text adventure to navigate a spaceship, a portion where your Frog character takes a warp drive to Mars to fight a robotic alien squid, and a rhythm dance game which sees the Frog being elected president.
Suffice to say, the internet loved it. And expectations were high for Frog Fractions 2, a follow-up promised by creator Jim Crawford.
True to character, Crawford announced that in order to retain a sense of surprise, the sequel would be released under an alternative name, effectively hidden within another game.
An ARG was launched to ultimately help lead players to the game. ARGs are essentially puzzle games in their own right, typically divulged over the internet and solved by hardcore fans who sleuth their way through a variety of marketing collateral often including (but not limited to!) elaborately built in-universe websites, phone numbers, and live events at physical real world locations.
In the case of Frog Fractions 2, the ARG took 2 years and 8 months to solve. Twinbeard worked with other independent development studios to insert graphics into their games depicting parts of a sigil, which once combined, created a map that pointed to real world locations where initial clues could be discovered. Participating games included Crypt of the NecroDancer, Quadrilateral Cowboy, and Firewatch. The ARG ultimately included an extensive narrative about time travel, and interactions with fans on Facebook and YouTube.
Players of the ARG eventually found clues to a physical location where a box with an “FF2”-labelled button and a key switch was found. Around the same time, the location of a real-life escape the room game was discovered, where players found the matching key. The key was shipped to the player who found the box, and was triggered on Christmas Eve 2016.
Once triggered, Glittermitten Grove, a game ostensibly about building a city for fairies that was released a few weeks prior on Steam, received an update, and players uncovered Frog Fractions 2 within the game a few days later. Or is that 3? Some argue that the ARG itself was Frog Fractions 2.
Whatever it was, it naturally included a Barack Obama shaving simulator, a text-based multiplayer online battle arena, and a clone of Flappy Bird. Additionally, the game reportedly allows players to import their save game from Mass Effect 2.
A game of the decade edition is now available on Steam. Or is that a new game entirely? You'll just have to buy the Hop's Iconic Cap DLC in order to find out.