Together Retro Game Club: Dig Dug
Presented by: Fastbilly1 & Racketboy
New To Together Retro? Check out the introduction to the club
Dig Dug was one of the iconic early 80s arcade games. Much like Pacman, Galaga, Joust, and Frogger, it is one of those games that everyone knows but surprisingly few modern gamers have had the joy of playing. Well this time around for Together Retro we will be doing just that. So grab your air pumps, were hunting Pookas.
About The Game
Released in 1982, right as Pacman Fever was settling down, some brilliant designers at Namco thought up a dynamite idea for a maze game. Instead of having the player search through the maze, why not have them make it themselves? Coupling the novel concept with fitting characters and a catchy soundtrack, and thus Dig Dug was born. Featuring ambidextrous controls and smashing side art, Dig Dug was an instant hit in the arcade. It features two distinct ways to play and a variety of stages, Dig Dug is understandably a classic.
Dig Dug stars the titular Dig Dug, a man clad in a blue and white tracksuit who wields a dangerous pump, locked in mortal combat against the evil Pookas and villainous Fygars. The stages start out with you buried underground with the enemies all around. At your disposal to dispatch these fiends are only two weapons; your air pump and rocks strewn throughout the stages. Your air pump has a short pipe that will extend so you can defeat your enemies from a distance. But you must be careful, while the enemies usually stay in the tunnels they are known to “ghost” and travel through the walls. The point system is surprisingly complex. The deeper in the stage you are, how you kill the enemy, and how many you kill at once all factor into your points earned for that kill. Nowadays this would be expected but back in the early 80s this was killer stuff.
Survived by numerous ports on collections, an ill-performing sequel, and a spinoff series that has never given us proper multiplayer on one system, Dig Dug is still around. The sequel, Dig Dug II, did fairly poorly in the arcade and many fans consider it a sham – its above grown for crying out loud. While the spinoff is none other than Mr. Driller.
Like all arcade games, your best bet is the original hardware. However, Dig Dug cabinets can be prohibitively expensive and are very difficult to find. But fear not, there are several great ports and, of course, emulation (see the Emulation section of the forum for help).
There were a number of early home console and computer ports in the 80s and you can see a quick comparison of them at Strategy Wiki
If you are planning on playing it on a more modern machine, the most preferred port is either the of the Namco Museum: 50th Anniversary Collection on the PS1/N64/Dreamcast/PS2/Xbox/Gamecube/PC. Dig Dug is also availible on XBox Live Arcade and the NES version should be on Virtual Console soon if it isn’t already.
How To Play / Controls (via Strategy Wiki)
Together Retro Discussion / High Scores
Instead of posting in the comments section of the blog, we will be using the forum for all of our discussion in order to keep things more organized. So play some Dig Dug and talk to us about your thoughts and play experiences in the forums. We want to know your tactics, your strategies, your successes and your failures.
We also want everyone to post their high scores along with the version of the game they are using. That way we can get some friendly competition going and keep us motivated to get better!