An arcade game made by Japan's Namco in 1982 (I think). The American version was produced by Atari. It was re-released in the rockin compilation of oldskool Namco games for the Sony PlayStation.

You probably know it already, but you have to pump up the badasses, Pooka and Fygar as you dig your way around, and walk through the tunnels you've dug.


                         _  _
                        /' ' '\_ _
    .......            :' (o    '''     . . 
   : __ ___;           | ' ~    v v''  ',  . ' 
*_ :| o|  o|           :     '  \  ' ' '   .  '
  \: ~~ ~~~:            :  '     ^ ^/  '.'    .
   '.......'           /'   ' '  :~~      ', 
     |_  |_          /'   '     :
                   ;' ',..   '  |
     Pooka       ''.--;   --'''_.''


ascii by me

Some notes:

On dislodging two of the rocks found on the level, a tasty piece of fruit appears in the centre of the field. Grab it for bonus points.

Don't forget that you get score better when you crush the badasses with the rocks, rather than pumping the motherfuckers. From time to time, either out of desperate self-defense or just plain meanness, it becomes necessary to whip out the pump and blow the bastards up.

Screw it up:

Levels can be easily beaten once it's realized that there are only 4 patterns that the enemies move in. This will get you up to level 36, where the game speeds up, and you have to learn the new patterns.

If you manage to simultaneously murder a Pooka or Fygar with your air pump AND a rock, the game fucks up and all the enemies disappear. Proceed to the next level by dropping another rock. (Make sure you have one left!)

At level 256, your game returns to level 1 and gets slow and easy again. (...and you damn well deserve it!)

Note: No luck finding a reason for all of this tunnel digging and monster fragging. This game was around before the need for a storyline. The action was enough. The colourful video interaction machine was enough. Frequently these days the opposite is true, and the quality of the story precludes the quality of the game.

There is an early memory inside my skull of being forcefully removed from a Dig Dug coin-op at Chuck E. Cheese, arms and nerves twitching from the sheer excitement.

Dig Dug was an old arcade game released way back in 1982 (this title was sold simultaneously by both Namco and Atari Games). There were two sequels, Dig Dug II (arcade version is impossible to find), and Mr. Driller (who is Dig Dug's son, this title is available in the form of arcade JAMMA boards, or for most newer console systems).

It appears that the gameplay of Dig Dug has already been adequately described by 65535, so I have little to say on that matter, except for one minor correction. Level 256 starts with a "Pooka" directly over your character, he kills you before you can move. No matter how many men you have left, you will simply be killed over and over again upon reaching that stage. There is no way to avoid this unless you are playing on an emulator that allows you to cheat.

The Machine

The upright Dig Dug machine came in the same cabinet as several other Atari titles (such as Kangaroo and Centipede). The control panel had a single 4-Way joystick mounted centrally, with "pump" buttons on either side of it. The machine was decorated mostly with cartoon graphics showing scenes from the game, superimposed over a yellow background.

There was also a cocktail version. It had two control panels (one on each end). Each panel had a "Pump" button on either side of the joystick, so left handed players can play equally well. This model used a 13" monitor (as opposed to the standard 19" in the upright), and the game image flipped for each players turn. The top glass is decorated with some cutesy pictures of Fygar, Pooka and Dig Dug.

A Dig Dug boardset will plug right into a Galaga cabinet, although you have to switch Galaga's 2-Way joystick for a four way, and run the 2 extra wires for up and down from the wiring harness, but Galaga plays fine with a 4-Way, so this is a nice and easy project to have two classic games in a single cabinet.

Where to play

Dig Dug has been ported to most video game consoles from the 1980s (Atari 2600, Nintendo Entertainment System, etc), so it should not be too hard to find a copy. You can also play this title under MAME on your personal computer.

This is an excellent title for your arcade game collection. Although it can be expensive. If you are considering purchasing a Dig Dug machine, then you might want to look at buying a Namco Classic Collection Volume 2 machine. It will cost a little more, but you will be purchasing a game that is 14 years newer (which means it will last you 14 years longer), and it contains Pac-Man, Rally-X, and New Rally-X in addition to Dig Dug (this machine features both the original versions, and new updated versions).

Beware of bootleg versions, which will usually be labeled "Zig Zag", they are problematic at best.

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.