Originally released by Namco for the arcade, Dig Dug featured a little guy with an unusual weapon – a rope dart that inflated enemies until they burst. Players dug up, down, left and right in each screen, hunting down and killing the enemies before they escaped. A sequel was released in 1995, and up updated version of the original in 1996 that allowed two-player cooperation. It was also ported to the Atari, NES, and even mobile. The latest release came in 2008 for the Wii’s virtual console. This run features the Atari version, and it’s only four minutes long.
And right away we see the trouble with random enemy movement – runner CrystalChaos dies halfway through and has to start over. Tsk tsk. On stage three, one of the enemies manages to get away, which completes the stage the same way as if it were killed. The first player death occurs on stage seven by the very last enemy. That’s the one and only time Crystal is actually defeated by a foe, despite a few more close calls throughout. Fun fact: if a rock crushes an enemy at the same time the player explodes that enemy, the stage becomes unbeatable until another rock is made to drop. Fun fact number two: the arcade version of Dig Dug’s 256th round places a Pooka right on top of the player at the start, killing them instantly.
It’s a simple game and doesn’t particularly stand out, but I can personally attest to its fun factor. Having had the chance to play the arcade version, there’s just something about Dig Dug that makes you want to keep playing. Incidentally, I never was able to get to that unbeatable kill screen…
Still have some time to spare? Then let’s dig up this Grabbed by the Ghoulies speedrun for you. Maybe Dig Dug should trade that dart in for a proton pack.
Matt Eschbach is a PC, Mac and Android indie game developer and fiction writer. His works have won multiple monetary awards from various contests. Graduating college in 2012 with a major in Game Design, Matt spends his time making stuff up and then building it. His favorite hobby… is sleeping.