I have finally figured out what it is that makes Frogger so difficult. It offers you a ‘weapon’ that is one of the most difficult to control of all, namely choice.
There are few games I know of, retro or modern, that have so perfected the sense of “I’ve got this.” You think, “I can make that jump,” or “I can get that bonus fly”, and before you know it the croc is dining on your frog’s legs. It is difficult because it is easy. You underestimate everything about it, the timing, the distances, the enemies. And every time bitter experience has taught you to be extra careful, the bonuses and the wide gaps and the forgiving collision masks give you a false sense of security and lure you right back into offering one of your few frogs onto the altar of your inflated ego.
I’m pretty sure early reviews mentioned this aspect of the game, but I am nothing if not stubborn, although a good second would be easily distracted and a third would be forgetful.
Frogger is one of the first video games I encountered in my life (the very first must have been Pong) and yet after forty years it still stumps me. That is quite an achievement.