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Remember Pocket Frogs? The iconic 2010s mobile game you should start playing again.

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at JMU chapter.

September 15, 2010 was a landmark day in video game history. No, it was not the release of the Wii—that was 2008. It wasn’t the release of Red Dead Redemption either—that was May 18, 2010. 

In fact, it was the release of Pocket Frogs, a free game you could download from the App Store and play on your iPod Touch—hence the “pocket” part of the title. 

The aim of the game, if the memories haven’t come flooding back to you yet, is to collect frogs of all kinds of breeds and color combinations. You start the game in a dirt habitat with two: a Cocos Bruna Anura and a Green Folium Anura—or rather, “a brown frog” and “a green frog,” as they’d be called by the general public. First, you have to take them to the pond to tame them. Then, you can breed them, either with each other or with frogs they meet at the pond. You can also solve puzzles to earn prizes, some of which are frogs and some of which are coins and decorations for your frogs’ habitats. 

Then, of course, there is the nail-biting racing mini-game. It deserves its own set of paragraphs because, in the memory of kids who played this game, it’s what sticks out most—like a frog tongue reaching for flies, if you will. You enter one of your frogs into a race, and if it wins, you can pick between receiving coins and taking one of your opponent frogs home. 

Many young players (myself included) were under the impression that tapping the screen made our frog go faster. That isn’t a reach—most mobile games of the 2010s operated this way: “Tap really fast and really hard for some reward.” But in fact, your frog was not at all influenced by your tapping—sorry if this is news to you. Your frog went as fast as it pleased while you cried and beat your greasy little fingers against the screen in a sad attempt to win a race that was lost from the beginning. 

The idea of losing would not have been so bad, if not for the fear that your winning opponent could steal your frog. That’s why you would never race your see-through or color-changing frogs—they were precious, and you could not risk losing them. 


I started playing Pocket Frogs again in March.

It started as a random thought: I wonder if this game is still on the App Store. I searched it up while everyone else on my improv team was packing up their bags to go to class in a few minutes. 

Guys,” I said because I was so excited, I had to say something

I had found it: Pocket Frogs, still on the app store, in all its glory. 

“WHAT?” said one of my team members, reaching for her phone to redownload the game. 

I realized that most of my teammates had also played the game when they were younger, and the ones who didn’t play it when they were younger started that day. We all exchanged friend codes and gifted each other frogs.

It was my senior year of high school, so I was prone to senior slumping—and I knew it would get worse as I got closer to the end of the school year. But checking on my frogs in between each class period—seeing all the pretty colors and patterns I’d collected—helped. 

And the sound design is beautiful, it’s a perfect stress reliever after a frustrating class. Cicadas hum. Birds chirp. River water runs. Frogs hop across the screen, making gentle thuds whenever they land—not unlike the sound of chopping wood in Minecraft. The game is very soothing to listen to. I’m listening to it as I write this article. 

I’m currently on level 17. Why? What is so fun about this game, in which all you do is breed frogs and maybe take them to races you can’t even influence the outcomes of? Playing the game now, races are far less stressful though, knowing that your opponents are computers, and you can only take their frogs—they can’t take yours. 

I don’t know, but I do know that I’m not the only one this game appeals to: there is an active Pocket Frogs Discord server, home to nearly 16,000 members who share strategies, habitat decoration ideas, and friend codes so they can send each other gifts.

Maybe it’s nostalgia, the way the interface looks almost exactly like it did when I was five—exactly how the interface of everything looked back then. Maybe it’s a deep-seated human desire to collect, influenced by hunter-gatherer times when you had to, you know, gather. Maybe it’s that the repetitiveness of the game is soothing. Maybe it’s that the frogs themselves are endearing, hopping around the screen and croaking when you click on them. 

Whatever it is, Pocket Frogs is worth redownloading—or downloading for the first time. It is truly riveting… or rather, ribbiting. 

I love writing, reading, singing, and listening to music. I love dogs and the smell of Tic Tacs. My favorite word is "radar." Ask me about the underrated genius of The B52s.