Classic Video Game Spotlight: Dig Dug

Fun, simple, memorable music and with a distinctively colorful look that was ahead of its time, Dig Dug is the latest entry into the Class Video Game Spotlight. Dig Dug was released by Namco in 1982, but countless versions have been released on various platforms since.

The basic concept behind Dig Dug is to kill monsters in some sort of underground mine. The monsters can be killed by dropping rocks on them and blowing them up with a pump until they pop. Two kinds of bad guys in this game:

Fygars – dragon-like little guys, they are green and can breathe fire.

Pookas – round red monsters (basically tomatoes with feet) who wear yellow goggles.

You play as the main character, named “Dig Dug”, dressed in white and blue. You are able to dig through any part of the board other then through rocks. You can be killed if you make contact with either a Pooka or Fygar, burned by a Fygar’s fire, or crushed by a rock. Your character can mine through the dirt, but moves faster in pre-mined areas – or the top of the board. The Pookas and Fygars can turn into ghost like things and walk through the walls. 

Once there is only one enemy left, the music speeds up and the last enemy will try to escape through the top left of the board. When a board is cleared a flower patch grows in various ways in the upper right of the board to equal what round you are on.

The arcade version the game ends on round 256 (round 0) – the board is unplayable. At the beginning of the level, a Pooka is placed directly on top of where the player starts, with no way to kill it (this what is called a kill screen). In a side note, a kill screen is a level in a classic game that stops the game in progress due to a programming or design error. Rather than having a traditional ending, the game will freeze, breakdown or behave in a way that further play is impossible therfore ending the game. Donkey Kong and Pacman have kill screens.

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