Retro Wednesday: Dig Dug

March 5, 2008

Dig DugDig Dug was my favorite arcade game in the 80′s.  It was such a simple concept, but it made for hours of fun as it ingested $100s of dollars of my tokens!

The action in Dig Dug starts out slow and simple but picks up very quickly.  You are armed with a pump and apparently some sort of digging apparatus.  You can freely walk through the dirt vertically and horizontally creating tunnels.  Your job is to rid the area of the monsters by pumping them up until they explode.  Some of the monsters are trapped in small encased tunnels – but they will phase through the dirt to attack you.  Your reflexes have to be quick and your puzzle/maze abilities up to par to make it to the later rounds.  The other weapon you have are a number of rocks spread throughout the playfield.  By luring the Pookas and Fygars to a tall vertical tunnel under a rock you can smash a group of them for extra points. 

Dig DugIn later rounds you get more monsters and they get a lot faster.  The key to mastering the arcade was the double pump and release.  It took several pumps – 5-6 to kill a monster.  This took time and when you had multiple monsters after you, there was no way to pump each one to explosion.  However, when you pumped them a few times they would be suspended in the air while the air left their bodies for a few seconds.  This would allow you to release and then attach your hose to another monster and pump it up for an explosion.  But you had to watch out, because the Fygars would cook you with their flame breath!

I haven’t seen an upright Dig Dug machine for many years. However, you Xbox 360 owners can relive one of the great games of the 80′s on Xbox Live.  It’s a perfect port of the arcade version, with a few Achievements thrown in to keep it interesting.

Games like Dig Dug, Mr. Doo and others like them took the idea of the Pac Man maze a step further.  By digging your own maze and then hunting the monsters, these games allowed players to be more aggressive, in a slapstick cartoon sort of way.   The console had the classic layout of the joystick and one button.  In fact, the button was only on the right so I would cross my hands so that I could use my right hand on the joystick and my left on the button.  Ah, such memories!

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