Travel Frog

  • 24 February, 2018
  • jvantrieste
Curious John

Over the past few weeks, a little frog has suddenly taken over the Chinese-speaking world. It’s everywhere, on both sides of the Taiwan Strait. All through the day, on the subway, in restaurants and parks, and in the office, you can see people taking a few moments to check on what this little frog is up to. This nameless frog is the star of the Japanese game “Travel Frog”, a smartphone app that has surged in popularity among young people. At first glance, Travel Frog seems an unlikely hit with a generation known for its love of action-packed games. And indeed, online commentators around the world have tried to puzzle out why so many young Chinese-speakers have taken the game to heart.

The frog doesn’t run or jump. It has no enemies to fight or missions to complete. Unlike a virtual pet, it takes care of itself just fine. And for days at a time, it wanders off on long journeys, leaving players with little to do but wait. In many ways, this is the opposite of a traditional video game. But fans say that this is exactly where the game’s appeal lies. Some fans will even tell you that there is something deep behind the game’s sudden success- something that resonates with young people by tapping into their hopes and wishes. RTI intern Luna is one such fan. This week, she joins us to explain what she believes is behind this wandering frog’s overnight celebrity.