Five Things You Never Knew About Superfrog's Voice
(And Four Things You Probably Did)
1) Superfrog was originally intended to have a Geordie accent.
Let’s start with the basics. Team17 are based in West Yorkshire (Ossett, West Yorkshire, to be precise), which isn’t exactly within the Geordie catchment area. But then again, Newcastle – the original place for the Geordie accent – is, of course, where Newcastle Brown Ale comes from (although it’s now brewed in Tadcaster). And this is in Tyne and Wear – the more North-Eastern part of the country.
Newcastle Brown was cited by Rico Holmes as his source of inspiration while creating the enemy characters for Superfrog, but although that’s an amusing thought, any gamer worth his salt will know that, before Lucozade provided a profitable marketing resource, Newcastle Brown was touted to be the drink from which our hero would gain his powers. Couple that with the fact that it’s brewed in Geordie territory, and the fact that the Newcastle Brown glass is dubbed the “Geordie Schooner”, and it all makes sense – why shouldn’t he have the classic Northern twang after all?
“The plot was OK, but I preferred it when the story involved Newcastle Brown Ale and the Geordie accent the frog had” – Martyn ‘Spadge’ Brown
2) Superfrog’s trademark croak was found on the Internet.
Although the story about the fart sound eventually becoming the enemy ‘splat’ noise is a more amusing one, the ‘ribbit’ noise that Superfrog emits when firing Spud was actually found on the Internet. Allister Brimble will freely admit to this:
“I made all of the sound effects except for the frog croak which was found on the internet” – Allister Brimble
This is particularly impressive when you consider that Superfrog was in development throughout the 1992-1993 period. In those days, although the Internet existed (and was probably a better place without all this Facebook malarkey), it would have been in quite a primitive form, and the fact that Allister was able to find the perfect frog croak is an impressive feat indeed.
As a bonus fact, every croak heard throughout the game – whether in-game, during the introduction, or as part of a musical score, is exactly the same croaking sound. The multiple ‘croak’ sound heard during the Worlds’ music is actually a synth line in the track itself set to a changing pitch and not the croak sample after all – clever, eh?
3) Superfrog can be heard shouting his own name in the ‘Amiga Action’ Challenge Demo.
Probably the closest we got to hearing what Superfrog was originally intended to sound like, the demo given away with Amiga Action comes with a completely unique soundbyte – the frog himself gleefully yelling “Superfrog!” whenever he picks up a bottle of Lucozade (here’s a recording, if you’re curious). This was later replaced by the more familiar slurping sound by the time the eventual release came out.
4) Superfrog’s voice can be heard in seven samples within the actual game.
Although it may well not be a genuine actor, there are seven distinct sound effects which are clearly meant to be Superfrog speaking (or attempting to speak). The most recognisable one is his laugh, which he emits as secret passages appear. But let’s not dwell on what the rest are. Here’s a ZIP with all of them in (31 KB). If you’re really sad (like me), you can try to guess which ones they are before downloading it. Hours of fun!
5) The croak in Superfrog’s Worms 3D cameo is not the same croak used in the original game.
Although it sounds similar, it’s a lower pitch. So it does beg the question of where exactly they got this sample from...
6) A company named Outsource Media provided Superfrog’s voice in Worms Blast.
Or it could have been Audiogodz.
Worms Blast has the curious quality of its voice acting not done in-house; rather, the characters’ voices were outsourced to two different companies, both of which provide voice acting talents: Outsource Media UK, and Audiogodz. After sending samples from Worms Blast to both companies, Lani Minella from Audiogodz did confirm that she had supplied some voices to Team17 for the game, but had no memory of ever doing Superfrog. She kindly sent me some frog croaks she had done herself, but they were so much unlike the voice in Blast that it couldn’t have been her. Therefore, the company had to be Outsource Media.
Curious? Here are the samples I sent (MP3, zipped, 61 KB)!
7) The actor who played Superfrog’s name is unknown.
After listening to the samples, you might be forgiven for not quite believing that the actor’s real voice sounds like that. Team17’s Bjorn Lynne doesn’t know who it was, and neither does the company. As Mark Estdale from Outsource Media UK explains:
“It could be any number of actors from the sessions. It's a 'put on' voice, so impossible to ID without the source script and session log, which is long gone I'm afraid.” – Mark Estdale
This may well be one of the long-lost mysteries of videogaming. We may never know, really...
8) In the past, you could download samples of Superfrog’s voice from the Internet.
Or about as close as you could get, anyway.
Back in the good ol’ days, when Team17’s website had a fairly comprehensive demo download section, it offered you the chance to search for their demos – should their own links not work – via an FTP search engine. In the year after I got the game itself or thereabouts, I did a little comprehensive searching, and found files which were purported to be the sound effects found in the game, the one I downloaded being Superfrog’s laugh when opening a new secret passage. The file itself was named “froghappy.lha”, and as I had no idea what an .lha file was, I was unable to play it. But it was downloadable... and that was the main thing, right?
As a bonus fact, .lha was created by Haruyasu Yoshizaki, also known as Yoshi. When installing Superfrog, the install screen will flash up a quick message to confirm that the installer itself was developed by Yoshi. Hardly surprising, considering how the files were compressed, but I did spend a while wondering how a small green dinosaur could code an install program...
9) Superfrog has been portrayed by two members of the Team17 fan community.
Back when Dream17 was in full flow, one idea that was batted about for a bit happened to be the possibility of maybe, at some point, somehow, doing a podcast. This never actually came to fruition, but some short sketches were recorded (intended to be the start and end to the podcast), written by Euan “Worm Mad” Mumford, who also portrayed Superfrog. He’s never done so again...
“I used to do a good Superfrog voice but it was too painful, so I had to stop. I think I took the frog-aspect a little too far” – Euan Mumford
Alas, the podcast never came to fruition, but you can listen to the sketch here – also starring Matt “worMatty” Hills, and MonkeyForAHead – also playing Superfrog!
Part 1 (MP3, 486 KB)
Part 2 (MP3, 201 KB)