Dig Dug

Dig Dug

Retro Coin Op Synopsis

In 1980, the game designers at Namco had turned Pac-Man into an international phenomenon. The company tried to follow up that success with several more maze-related games, but with only marginal success. Then in 1982, some bright young employee turned the concept upside down—What if we let them create their own mazes?—and the arcade classic Dig Dug was born.

The early 80’s video game boom brought plenty of unusual concepts and characters, but Dig Dug could easily stake its claim as the most bizarre. You controlled a little blue-and-white-suited fellow who dug through multi-colored layers of earth to eliminate dangerous underground enemies. Your weapon of choice? An air pump.

Taking aim at the red, sunglasses-wearing orbs called Pookas or the fire-breathing dragons called Fygars, you fired out a short hose, snared an enemy and pumped them up until they exploded. If you got the job half-done, the enemies would remain stunned in their semi-inflated state, but they would soon recover and resume the chase. If the pump wasn’t challenging enough for you, your character could always lure the Pookas or Fygars underneath a large boulder, dig out the earth holding it up, then move away and watch the smushing with sadistic glee.

Pookas and Fygars generally stuck to the tunnels you dug underground, but they didn’t have to if they didn’t want to. The curious little creatures had the ability to change to ghost form, passing through the dirt and chasing you down, but once they hit another tunnel, they were ripe for the inflating.

Dig Dug’s oddball premise and eye-catching cartoon graphics were a hit with gamers, who were happy to try something different. Namco put out a sequel in 1985, arming the hero with a jackhammer and placing him on an island instead of beneath the earth. Unfortunately, Dig Dug II arrived during an arcade downswing, never getting a very wide distribution. The original remains a beloved favorite of the arcade community, an addictive and charming classic like no other game before or since.

Arcade Machine Release History

1982 - Dig Dug
1985 - Dig Dug II

Arcade Game Sub Categories


Machine Manufacturer

Atari, Namco

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