Pac-Man‘s creators toiled long and hard to repeat the success of their yellow pride and joy, but didn’t have much luck until somebody suggested that going around a maze might be more fun if you actually got to create the maze yourself. Dig Dug, released by Namco in 1982, had plenty of monsters lurking around corners and one plucky digger determined to vanquish them all. Let’s take a look back.
Dig Dug, the player’s little blue and white character, tunneled his way through layers of multi-colored earth in search of Pookas and Fygars. Pookas were red and blobby, like tomatoes with goggles, and Fygars were green, vaguely dragonesque and could breathe fire.The trick was to get them before they snatched you or burned you or crushed you. Dig Dug’s main weapon was an air pump, used to inflate the monsters until they burst. It took four presses of the button to obliterate Pookas and Fygars, but if you didn’t complete the job, the critters would deflate to normal size and come after you. Luckily, their semi-inflated state left them stunned so you could quickly dig out the earth underneath one of the boulders present and watch as it crushed them. Fun!
The monsters had their own tricks up their sleeves though; every now and again they phased out, until only their eyes were visible, which allowed them to go through the soil without using the tunnels. Back inside a tunnel, they materialized again and were vulnerable to the mighty air pump.
The very quirkiness of the premise drew loads of gamers to Dig Dug, which offered a twist to the usual arcade fare. The follow-up, Dig Dug II, didn’t perform nearly as well, being unable to match the pure addictive charm of the original – which still holds a fond place in many a retro gamer’s heart.
If Dig Dug provided you and your friends with hours of coin-gobbling entertainment, we’d love to hear your thoughts in our comments section, as we tip our hats to another arcade classic, here at Retroland.