Thursday, April 4, 2013

D is for Dig Dug

The Dig Dug machine beckoned from the row of video games along the wall in the usual spot at a roller rink up in Santa Rosa while attending a friend's birthday party.  [Aside - I'm noticing just how many of the games I'm talking about first showed up at roller rinks.  And, how much more prevalent roller rinks were when I was a kid than today.  But I digress.]  Again, it was the early 1980's.

Looking back, the premise of Dig Dug was pretty weird, with the need to blow up your enemies with air until they popped like a balloon, digging tunnels underground, making rocks fall to reveal bonus "fruit" (ala Pacman), etc.

It was the little things that had me playing this game as often as I did in the arcade.  I liked to see the level indicator at the upper right of the screen (shown via number and type of flowers).  I liked getting to successive levels to see what the next bonus fruit was going to be.  There was also the challenge of seeing how many enemies you could manage to squash with one rock in a really long tunnel.  These goals actually superseded the concept of trying to attain the highest score possible.

I also liked trying to dig up as much of the screen as possible while still not finishing the level.  This naturally became more difficult as more of the screen was dug up.  You needed to keep at least two enemies around, because when you were down to one enemy it would typically go through tunnels or ghost through them to the top of the screen and exit stage left.  Given a lack of tunnel walls, also, the movement of said two enemies became somewhat unpredictable and dangerous.  As I recall, I only accomplished emptying the screen of dirt on the Apple II port of the game, which also had the added advantage that the Fygars (the dragon-looking enemies) were stripped of their ability to breathe fire.

Dig Dug was also one of the first games I remember playing that had the option to put in more money to continue.  As a younger child with less pocket money for games, I was more content to let the game end and start over, thereby allowing me to play more levels than to try again on a harder level.  I think I tried the continue once and died really fast, resulting in continues being labeled a ripoff by me.

How high of a score did you get on Dig Dug?  Did you ever use the continue feature?

1 comment:

  1. I love Dig Dug, but I never get a high score. Call me impatient. I'd play a game or two. If I lose once, I'd try to continue. After the second game is over, I'm done with it. LOL I'm better at Draw Something. Now, that's another D. Teehee.

    Sonnia J. Kemmer