Dig Dug was originally released in arcades in 1982 by one of my favourite arcade developers Namco. You play as the mighty, yet somewhat evil Dug, armed with quite possibly one of the most harrowing weapons of any game… a Bike pump!
Not the Greatest Arsenal
Death by bullets would be quick and painless to the ground-dwelling beasties just chilling out in their holes. However there you are, Dug, running around with a bike pump not sold in Halfords because of its unique killing ability, pumping the shit out your enemies.
The enemies live in a multi-layered and colour coded ground which you have to dig through (hence the overall name of the game). There are round red monsters called Pookas and green fire-breathing dragons called Fygars and like any arcade game, it was all about the High Score. You rack up points by digging deeper, collecting random bonus fruit drops and killing your enemies closer to the bottom of the screen.
My First Introduction to Dig Dug
The first time I played Dig Dug was on one of those plug and play TV gadgets that became ridiculously popular in the 90s on market stalls. My dad was a huge fan of the original arcade game so like father, like son we bonded over many hours of gameplay on this. He used to always beat my score and then I would sit playing it until I beat it.
Back and forth like a high score game of PONG, this went on for many years until I eventually got an arcade machine from one of our sponsors Turnarcades. After some Rocky montage music played over the course of a month I became I Dig Dug pro; digging quicker than a man with a gun held to his head and blowing up fire-breathing dragons with a bike pump made in the fires of mount doom.
Music and Visuals
The colourful level design and characters made for some brilliant graphics for its time, but where I think the game really pushed to the next level was in the music and sound department. As you dig through the level catchy music plays in the background yet the second you stop digging the music stops, adding an element of suspense as you try to pop your enemies head off with a bike pump of doom. I can’t think of many games in its day that used this style of paused music and it works brilliantly.
Dig Dug – The Verdict
To summarise Dig Dug is more addictive than those nasty substances Frank is always warning you about… Yet unlike Mr Frank, I would highly recommend this game. You won’t find it being sold by shady people in some dark alleyway but if you are lucky enough to own an arcade machine then this should be your first point of call to kill a few hours.
Addiction: 9/10 – There have been cold case files left open around the world where many have died with arcade sticks fused to their hands with this game embedded into the computer screen. This game is for the strong-minded only, Jedi’s or Jabba the Hutt should be ok.