American arcade flyer for Dig Dug
|Mode(s)||Up to 2 players, alternating turns|
|Cabinet||Upright, cabaret, and cocktail|
|Arcade system||Namco Galaga|
|Display||Vertical orientation, Raster, 224 x 288 resolution|
Dig Dug (ディグダグ Digu Dagu ) is an arcade game developed and published by Namco in Japan in 1982 for Namco Galaga hardware. It was later published outside of Japan by Atari, Inc.. A popular game based on a simple concept, it was also released as a video game on many consoles.
The objective of Dig Dug is to eliminate underground-dwelling monsters by inflating them with an air pump until they pop, or by dropping rocks on them. There are two kinds of enemies in the game:
- Pookas - A race of round red monsters (said to be modeled after tomatoes) who wear yellow goggles.
- Fygars - A race of green dragons who can breathe fire.
The player's character is Dig Dug, dressed in white and blue, and able to dig tunnels through destructible environments. Dig Dug is killed if he is caught by either Pooka or Fygar, burned by a Fygar's fire, or crushed by a rock.
A partially inflated monster will gradually deflate and recover after a few seconds, during which time the player can pass safely through it. The monsters normally crawl through the tunnels in the dirt but can turn into ghostly eyes and travel slowly through the dirt. The last enemy on a level will try to escape off the top left of the screen.
More points are awarded for popping an enemy further down in the dirt (the levels are color-coded). In addition, Fygars are worth double points if exploded horizontally, since they can only breathe fire horizontally in the direction they are facing. Extra points are also awarded for dropping rocks on enemies in order to eliminate them rather than inflating them. If one enemy is killed by the rock, it is worth 1000 points. The next two add 1500 points each, and any after that add 2000. The act of digging is itself worth points, giving 10 points for each block dug, so some players do as much of it as possible in situations where the threat from the remaining monsters is minimal.
After the player drops two rocks, fruits and vegetables and other edible bonus items, such as Galaxian flagships, appear in the center of the play field, and can be collected for points if the player is able to reach them before they disappear. These edible bonus items will appear even if the rocks fail to hit any enemies. In some versions of the game, the most points attainable from a single bonus fruit is 8,000 from the pineapple.
If the player drops a rock on an enemy at the same time he pumps it to death, a glitch will occur whereupon all enemies will promptly disappear, but the game will not progress and the player will be free to dig through all dirt. Attaining the next level of play will then remain impossible, but the glitch can be resolved by forcing a rock to drop.
Level numbers are represented by flowers in the top right of the screen and each new level is noted at the beginning of each stage level 5 brings colored dirt (as seen in this article's screenshot graphic). In successive levels more monsters appear on each screen and they move quicker. A level is completed successfully when the last monster is dispatched or succeeds in fleeing.
In the coin-operated version, the game ends on round 256 (round 0), since this board is essentially an unplayable kill screen. At the start of the level a Pooka is placed directly on top of where the player starts, with no way to kill it.
Dig Dug Arrangement
In 1996, Namco packaged both this game and an updated variant and re-released it in arcades with the title Namco Classic Collection Vol. 2. The updated variant was called Dig Dug Arrangement, with one or two-player modes, as in the original. Out of the six created Arrangement games, this version has the least amount of changes. The graphics are updated and the levels are different. There are also new features such as giant rocks that can crush multiple enemies at a time and special power-up items.
Dig Dug Arrangement was re-released alongside this game and ten others in the GameCube, PS2 and Xbox versions of Namco Museum.
In this version of Dig Dug, there are new marbles that can kill a lot of enemies in a row but too many "ayiie!" screams from marbles killing ice dragons, ducks or aliens can result in enemies disappearing for a short amount of time.
In 2005, Namco made another game with the Dig Dug Arrangement title as part of Namco Museum Battle Collection. It is a different game entirely from Namco Classic Collection Volume 2's Dig Dug Arrangement but still has the concept of being an updated variant of Dig Dug by having new graphics, obstacles, enemies, boss battles, power-ups, etc. The Battle Collection edition of Dig Dug Arrangement is also included on Namco Museum Virtual Arcade for the Xbox 360, but with the multiplayer features removed.
Dig Dug Remix
The Dig Dug Arrangement from Namco Museum Battle Collection was also ported to iOS renamed "Dig Dug Remix" with the original Dig Dug included, but all multiplayer features were removed from that port.
In 2005, Namco Networks released a version of Dig Dug for cell phones and Palm OS/Windows Mobile devices that is authentic to the arcade original in terms of graphics and controls, even though the levels are as they are in the NES version of Dig Dug. Unlike the arcade version there is no kill screen at level 256, but rather the levels go on past 500.
Although Namco has officially given the character of the original Dig Dug the name Dig Dug, in other games where he makes an appearance, the protagonist goes by the name Taizo Hori (in Japanese order, HORI Taizo), and is the father of Susumu Hori, the main character in the Mr. Driller series. He is also the ex-husband of Toby "Kissy" Masuyo, the heroine of Baraduke. His name is a pun on the Japanese phrase "Horitai zo" (掘りたいぞ) or "I want to dig!" (掘り = dig, たい = want, ぞ = !) – a similar pun might be rendered in English as "Will Dig" or "Wanda [Want to] Dig". Many American gamers learned of his real name via the Nintendo DS game Mr. Driller Drill Spirits, where he is also a playable character. He is additionally featured in an unlockable gallery of Mr. Driller items in Mr. Driller 2. In the Mr. Driller series, Hori is known as the "Hero of the Dig Dug Incident". In Japan, he is also the Hero of the South Island incident and is the honorary chairman of the Driller Council to whom most of the characters answer. This contrasts greatly with the PC remake Dig Dug Deeper, where the hero is simply named Dig Dug.
Versions and ports
As well as the arcade version, Atari obtained the license for home versions of Dig Dug, and then released it for the Atari 2600, Atari 5200, Atari 7800, Intellivision, Apple II, Atari 400/800, Commodore VIC-20, Commodore 64, IBM PC, and Texas Instruments TI-99/4A. Namco ported Dig Dug to the Nintendo Family Computer in 1985. A Game Boy version was released in 1992. Another version was released on a Plug N' Play System, along with Galaxian, Rally-X, Bosconian, and Pac-Man. In October 2006, a version of Dig Dug was released on the Xbox Live Arcade. Namco Networks ported Dig Dug to Windows (bought online) in 2009 which also includes an "Enhanced" mode which replaces all of the original sprites with the sprites from Dig Dug: Digging Strike, Namco Networks also made a bundle (also bought online) which includes their Windows version of Dig Dug as well as their port of the original Pac-Man called Namco All-Stars: Pac-Man and Dig Dug. The arcade version has also been released on the Wii Virtual Console in Japan on October 20, 2009, along with its sequel, Dig Dug II and the original Dig Dug was released as part of the Pac-Man's Arcade Party 30th Anniversary arcade machine in 2010. The NES version for the Virtual Console was released in 2008 for the Wii and 2013 for the Nintendo 3DS, but as an import for Western regions when ported to the former.
Gakken made a table top hand held game of Dig Dug in 1982. It was one of a series of 3 flip-top games with VFD screen and magnifying Fresnel lens. The other two similar style Gakken hand held games were Jungler and Amidar. Dig Dug has been included on most Namco Museum compilations, and it's one of the three bonus games in the Wii and Nintendo 3DS versions of Pac-Man Party.
A 1985 sequel to this game, the overhead-view oriented Dig Dug II, was much less common and met with less success in the arcades. Mr. Driller (1999) was originally conceived as a sequel, with working title Dig Dug 3, but it developed into a distinct but related series. Another sequel, Dig Dug: Digging Strike, was released in 2005 for the Nintendo DS. This combined the side-view play of the original with the overhead play of the sequel and added a narrative link to the Mr. Driller series. A 3D remake of the original, entitled Dig Dug Deeper, was released for PC in 2001 by Infogrames. The original Dig Dug was released for the Xbox 360 console via Xbox Live Arcade on October 11, 2006. The original Dig Dug is also available for play via the GameTap subscription gaming service, and was shown in one of the television commercials for the Gametap website in 2005.  It was re-released for the Wii's Virtual Console in North America on June 9, 2008 and in Europe on August 29, 2008, at a cost of 600 Wii Points.
Some bootleg arcade versions of Dig Dug were made, under the name Zig Zag. One version looked exactly like the original, and the other changed both the sounds and colors, as well as adding a pickaxe power-up that made the player move faster.
The character Pooka has many cameos in Namco games, most often as an enemy in Namco games such as the Pac-Man World series. Pooka was playable for the first time in the game Ms. Pac-Man Maze Madness as an unlockable character for the multiplayer modes. He is also available to play as in Pac-Man World Rally, as well as Fygar. Pooka also appeared in the Namco arcade game Pole Position on a roadside billboard. In Pac-Man World, he appears as one of the friends of Pac-Man who was kidnapped by Toc-Man.
In R4: Ridge Racer Type 4, there is an American racing team with Dig Dug artwork on its hauler and is named the "Dig Racing Team", run by manager Robert Chrisman. It is the "expert" team of the game. Also in R4, the track "Phantomile" has a giant statue of Pooka alongside Pac-Man on the left hand side of the finishing straight. The "Pooka Line" track, which is the first in the game, has a giant screen with a Pooka and Fygar chasing Dig Dug's protagonist in arcade-style graphics, which changes to him inflating a Pooka when the player takes the lead. In Ridge Racer 64, however, "Dig Racing Team" has to be unlocked by winning all the tracks in Stage 3 in first place – and waiting for the credits to roll, then defeating the car on the "Renegade Expert" track in Car Attack mode. This same game also features Pooka as a selectable car, which is unlocked by breaking the time record in any of the Ridge Racer Extreme tracks on Time Attack mode.
The Dig Dug universe and some of its characters appear in the Mr. Driller games, starring Taizo Hori's son, Susumu. Additionally, he is also a playable character in the Japan only RPG, Namco × Capcom.
Dig Dug was parodied in the Robot Chicken episode "President Evil."
In the Disney movie Wreck-It Ralph, Dig Dug, a Pooka, and a Fygar are three of the characters in Game Central Station. Pooka and Fygar are seen when the camera is moving from one of the tunnel and Dig Dug starts trying to dig away from Ralph when he comes towards him.
In Sold Out: A Threevening with Kevin Smith Kevin expresses his joy at Bruce Willis wanting to work with him, and unable to find a film to suit his jokes about Bruce Willis as Dig Dug.
In Noby Noby Boy, players can sometimes play on maps with Dig Dugs and Pookas.
In the fifth season of The X-Files, a character was featured playing "Dig Dug" in the episode "Unusual Suspects".
- "retrodiary: 1 April – 28 April". Retro Gamer (Bournemouth: Imagine Publishing) (88): 17. April 2011. ISSN 1742-3155. OCLC 489477015.
- Bailey, Kat (2009-05-08). "Dig Dug Remix Arrives On iPhone". 1UP.com. Retrieved 2009-07-24.
- "Wii-kly Update: One WiiWare game and two Virtual Console games added to Wii Shop Channel". MCV. Games Press. 2008-06-09. Retrieved 2011-10-09. "Nintendo adds new and classic games to the Wii Shop Channel at 9 am Pacific time every Monday. […] This week's new games are: […] DIG DUG (NES, 1 player, Rated E for Everyone, 600 Wii Points))"
- McLemore, Greg. "The Top Coin-Operated Videogames of All Time". Killer List of Videogames. Archived from the original on July 3, 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-17.
- "Starcade". illustriousgameshowpage.com.
- "KLOV Game Info". Killer List of Video Games.
- "Zig Zag". Video Game Museum.
- Dig Dug at the Killer List of Videogames
- Dig Dug at the Arcade History database
- Dig Dug at MobyGames
- Dig Dug guide at StrategyWiki
- Dig Dug on mobile at NamcoGames.com
- Dig Dug: Tips and History
- Dig Dug Series at the Open Directory Project
- Video from the C64 Version on archive.org
- Dig Dug for PC at Intel AppUp