Digger (video game)
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|Mode(s)||Single player, 2 players (hotseat)|
Many features of Digger are similar to those in the arcade games Mr. Do! and Dig Dug. As in those games, the player is placed in an underground maze, and can dig horizontal and vertical tunnels through it. At least one tunnel already exists at the start of play. At various points on the board are emeralds (usually in clusters) and bags of gold. Monsters (initially in the 'nobbin' form) appear at the top right-hand corner. If earth is excavated from under a gold bag, then the bag will wobble for a few seconds and then drop; if it falls more than one row, it will break open after falling, releasing gold which can be collected. Bags can also be pushed left or right into vertical paths, with similar results. Falling bags will squash monsters that they fall on, but they will also squash the digger. The digger also has a weapon, which will fire in a straight line, but takes several seconds to recharge (taking longer as the levels go higher).
Monsters will sometimes change from the 'nobbin' form to the 'hobbin' form, more frequently on higher levels. Hobbins also have the power to excavate, and can destroy emeralds and gold bags while so doing.
When a monster is killed, another will appear at the top right-hand corner of the screen, up to a maximum number which depends on the level. Once all the monsters for the level have been created, a cherry appears in their place. If the digger collects this, bonus mode is entered, and for about fifteen seconds (which decreases as the game level gets higher) the digger is able to eat the monsters. Accordingly, the monsters now run away from the digger rather than towards it (similar to Pac-Man).
A level ends when all the emeralds are gone or all the monsters have been killed.
The player scores 25 points for collecting an emerald, with a bonus of 250 if eight are collected in immediate succession. Killing a monster by shooting it or dropping a gold bag on it scores 250 points; in bonus mode, the player scores 200 points for the first monster eaten, 400 for the second, and so on, doubling each time. Collecting gold earns 500 points, and entering bonus mode 1,000. A new life is awarded at each multiple of 20,000 points.
Digger was developed by Rob Sleath, the primary developer of Windmill games in 1983. In 1984, Digger was converted to run on IBM PCjr and IBM JX, the Japanese version. The last original version was released for a Canadian computer Hyperion running at 6 MHz.
During normal game play "Popcorn" is used as background music. In bonus mode the Overture to Wilhelm Tell by Gioachino Rossini plays. If the player dies, a rendition of Frédéric Chopin's Piano Sonata No. 2 in B flat Minor (also known as The Funeral March) is played, accompanied with a picture of a RIP gravestone. Digger used a pulse width modulation sound system which was unusual and advanced for 1983.
The original version of Digger is notably incompatible with anything except an IBM PC/XT with a CGA video adapter as it relies on the CPU for timing and will run too fast on anything more than a 4.77 MHz 8088. While the game uses the normal CGA 320×200×4 graphics, it modifies the video registers directly to do this and thus cannot run on any other PC video hardware.
In 1998, Andrew Jenner created a free software version of the game called Digger Remastered, by reverse engineering the original game. It is available for AmigaOS, DOS, Linux, GP2X, Java, OS X, Wii, MorphOS, RiscOS, Dreamcast, Unix and Windows.
It is still possible to play the original game on the current computers inside the open source DOS emulator DOSBox.
- Digger at MobyGames
- Digger Remastered, a remake for modern PCs
- Digger Wii, a homebrew port of Digger Remastered to Nintendo Wii
- Digger Mobile Edition, a mobile phones (or small devices capable of running Java ME) port
- Digger Classic, a port of Digger Remastered to Android