Dig Dug
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Dig Dug

Dig Dug
Dig Dug Flyer.png
American arcade flyer
Composer(s)Yuriko Keino
Platform(s)Arcade (original)
Atari 2600, Atari 5200, Atari 7800, Apple II, Atari 8-bit, ColecoVision, VIC-20, Commodore 64, IBM PC, Intellivision, TI-99/4A, Famicom
  • JP: April 19, 1982[1]
  • NA: May 1, 1982
Mode(s)1-2 players alternating
CabinetUpright, cabaret, and cocktail
Arcade systemNamco Galaga
CPU3 × Z80 @ 3.072 MHz
Sound1× Namco WSG @ 3.072 MHz
DisplayVertical orientation, Raster, 224 × 288 resolution

Dig Dug[a] is an arcade video game developed and published by Namco in Japan in 1982. It runs on Namco Galaga hardware, and was published in North America and Europe by Atari, Inc.. Gakken made a tabletop handheld game of Dig Dug in 1982. It was one of a series of three "flip-top" games with a VFD screen and magnifying Fresnel lens.

The player of the game progresses through round after round by eliminating enemies that live under the ground. The player drills down into the ground and makes their own passages. They eliminate enemies by dropping rocks on them or pumping them up with air until they explode.


Screenshot of the first round

The objective of Dig Dug is to eliminate underground-dwelling monsters, either by inflating them with an air pump until they explode or by dropping rocks on them. There are two kinds of enemies in the game: "Pookas" (a race of cute round red monsters - said to be modeled after tomatoes - that wear yellow goggles) and "Fygars" (a race of green dragons that can breathe fire when their wings flash).

The player's character is the eponymous Dig Dug, dressed in red, white and blue and able to dig tunnels through dirt. Dig Dug will be killed if he is caught by either a Pooka or a Fygar, burned by a Fygar's fire, or crushed by a rock.

It takes four (three in some versions) 'pumps' with the player's action button to inflate a monster until it explodes. A partially inflated monster will deflate and recover after a few seconds, but half-inflating is a useful way to stun an enemy for a few moments, especially to make sure it remains in the path of a falling rock. The player can also pass through the enemy while it is deflating. In some versions, deflating is slow enough that the player can execute rapid, partial inflate actions and pop a monster much more quickly than just holding the 'pump' button down.

The monsters move horizontally on the surface and both horizontally and vertically through the tunnels in the dirt. While in the tunnels they can also turn into ghostly eyes which slows their movement but gives them the added advantage of diagonal travel through the solid dirt and rock. The last remaining enemy in each round will attempt to escape to the surface and off the top left side of the screen.

More points will be awarded for exploding an enemy further down in the dirt (the levels are color-coded). Additionally, 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 mining is itself worth points--giving 10 points for each block mined--so some players will do as much of it as possible when the threat from the remaining monsters is minimal.

After the player drops two rocks, a bonus item appears at the center of the screen, awarding points if the player can collect it before it disappears. These items consist of various fruits and vegetables, as well as the flagship from the Namco game Galaxian, and appear even if either of the dropped rocks fails to crush any enemies. In the original arcade version, the most points attainable from a single bonus item is 8000 from the pineapple, which appears in round 18 and every round thereafter.

If the player should drop a rock on a foe 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.

The current round's number is represented by flowers in the top right of the screen, and each new round is noted at the beginning of each round. After every fourth round, the colors of the dirt layers will alternate. In successive rounds more monsters appear on each screen, and they move more quickly. A round is completed successfully when the last monster escapes or is dispatched.

In the coin-operated version the game will end on round 256 (round 0), since the board is essentially an unplayable kill screen. When the round starts, a Pooka will be placed directly on top of where the player starts, and will kill Dig Dug instantly. There is no way to kill it, but the Atari version corrects this problem. No tunnels are drawn, save for the one that goes from the top-center to center. Strangely, a couple of Pookas and Fygars also appear, but they don't have a tunnel to be placed in, so they are just overlaid onto the dirt.

Glitches past Round 100

After round 99, the game has difficulties processing 3-digit numbers, causing possible strange glitches to happen, such as in the name entry, when the first two digits of the 3-digit number are represented as "A", a strange black figure shortly appears and disappears onto one of the round flowers, etc.


Although Namco has 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" () or "I want to dig!" ( = dig, = want, ? = !) - a similar pun might be rendered in English as "Will Dig" or "Wanda (Want To) Dig". His real name was revealed outside Japan in 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, in which the hero is simply named Dig Dug.


Atari obtained the license to release home conversions of Dig Dug and the game was ported to the Atari 2600, Atari 5200, Atari 7800, Intellivision, Apple II, Atari 8-bit, VIC-20, Commodore 64, PC compatibles, and TI-99/4A. The Atari 8-bit computers had two completely different versions. The initial port was released in 1982 in the brown shell cartridges used by Atari for Atari 400/800 software, but was reportedly coded by an inexperienced programmer and criticized for its poor quality. A remade Dig Dug was released for the Atari 5200 and then converted for the computer line in a silver cartridge. DataSoft also distributed this version on disk.[3]

Namco ported the game to the Famicom in 1985. A few years later, Bandai contracted with Namco to release some of their games in North America for the NES, as Namco had no overseas operations until 1993. Bandai chose to skip over Dig Dug, which already had numerous home conversions, and instead release the Famicom version of Dig Dug II in North America. A Game Boy port of the game was released by Namco in 1992.


Dig Dug was rated the sixth most popular coin-operated video game of all time by the Killer List of Video Games website.[4]

In 1984, Softline readers named computer versions of Dig Dug the tenth-worst Apple and fourth-worst Atari program of 1983.[5]


Some bootleg arcade versions of Dig Dug were made, under the name Zig Zag. One version looked exactly like the original,[6] and the other changed both the sounds and colors, as well as adding a pickaxe power-up that made the player move faster.[7]

Cartridge of the 1985 Famicom version of Dig Dug

A Game Boy version was released in 1992 with the added choices of the original and new versions.[8] In 1996, Dig-Dug was included in Microsoft's Return of Arcade. A PlayStation version was released in 1996 (JP) and 1997 (NA, Europe), as one of six games in Namco Museum Volume 3. Another version was released on a Plug 'N Play System, along with Galaxian, Pac-Man, Rally-X, and Bosconian. In October 2006, a version of Dig Dug was released on Xbox Live Arcade, and became backwards compatible on Xbox One in May 2016.[9]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, 2013 for the Nintendo 3DS and 2015 for the Wii U, but as an import for Western regions when ported to the former. The arcade version was released on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 on April 20, 2016 as part of Bandai Namco's Arcade Game Series.[10][11]

A 1985 sequel to this game, the overhead-view oriented Dig Dug II, met with less success in the arcades. Mr. Driller (1999) was originally conceived as a sequel, with the 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.[12] It was re-released for the Wii's Virtual Console in North America on June 9, 2008,[13] and in Europe on August 29, 2008, at a cost of 600 Wii Points.

The original game was re-released on Steam as part of Bandai Namco's Arcade Game Series on 19 April 2016.[14] The re-release fills a landscape orientation monitor by wrapping the game with art from the original game cabinet. Players can adjust various sound and display parameters, such as choosing a present sound mix, adding reverb and emulating TV scan-lines.

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 named Dig Dug Arrangement, and allowed two players to play simultaneously, unlike the original. Out of the six created Arrangement games, this version has the fewest changes. The graphics are updated, the rounds are different, there are new monsters and "boss" screens, as well as new features such as balls, giant rocks, and special power-up items.

Dig Dug Arrangement was re-released alongside the original Dig Dug and ten other Namco games on the PS2, Xbox and GameCube versions of Namco Museum.

In 2005, Namco released another game with the title Dig Dug Arrangement as part of Namco Museum Battle Collection. It is an entirely different game from Namco Classic Collection Vol. 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, and so on. The Battle Collection edition of Dig Dug Arrangement was also released as part of 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.[15]

Mobile game

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.


  1. ^ Japanese: Hepburn: Digu Dagu?


  1. ^ "retrodiary: 1 April - 28 April". Retro Gamer. Bournemouth: Imagine Publishing (88): 17. April 2011. ISSN 1742-3155. OCLC 489477015.
  2. ^ Weiss, Brett (March 7, 2012). "Classic Home Video Games, 1972-1984: A Complete Reference Guide". McFarland – via Google Books.
  3. ^ "2 Different Versions of Dig Dug!!!!". AtariAge Forums. June 29, 2001. Retrieved .
  4. ^ McLemore, Greg. "The Top Coin-Operated Videogames of All Time". Killer List of Videogames. Archived from the original on July 19, 2007. Retrieved .
  5. ^ "The Best and the Rest". St.Game. Mar-Apr 1984. p. 49. Retrieved 2014.
  6. ^ "KLOV Game Info". Killer List of Video Games.
  7. ^ "Zig Zag". Video Game Museum.
  8. ^ "Dig Dug for Game Boy - GameFAQs". www.gamefaqs.com. Retrieved .
  9. ^ "Another Five Games Bring Weekly Xbox One Backward Compatibility Total To Ten". www.GameInformer.com. Retrieved .
  10. ^ "ARCADE GAME SERIES: DIG DUG - Microsoft Store". Microsoft Store. Retrieved .
  12. ^ http://www.popflock.com/video?id=oSFVoqsa7yM
  13. ^ "Wii-kly Update: One WiiWare game and two Virtual Console games added to Wii Shop Channel". MCV. Games Press. 2008-06-09. Retrieved . 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)
  14. ^ "Save 75% on ARCADE GAME SERIES: DIG DUG on Steam". store.steampowered.com. Retrieved .
  15. ^ Bailey, Kat (2009-05-08). "Dig Dug Remix Arrives On iPhone". 1UP.com. Retrieved .

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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