Dig Dug is a 1982 maze arcade game developed by Namco and distributed by Atari. Controlling the Dig Dug character, the player is tasked with defeating all of the enemies in each stage, done by either inflating them with air with a pump until they pop or crushing them underneath large rocks.
Dig Dug was described as a “strategic digging game” by Namco for its large amount of strategy used to defeat enemies, which was heavily used in the game’s marketing.
Upon release, Dig Dug was well-received by critics for its addictive gameplay, cute characters and strategy, and was a popular title during the golden age of arcade video games. It was met with a long series of sequels and spin-offs for several platforms.
Dig Dug is a maze video game. Controlling the titular character, the player’s objective is to eliminate the enemies on each screen; these being Pookas, red tomato-like creatures with comically large goggles, and Fygars, green dragons that can breathe fire. Dig Dug can defeat these enemies by using a bike pump to inflate them with air until they explode, or by crushing them under large falling rocks. Bonus points are awarded for squashing multiple enemies with a single rock, and dropping two rocks in a stage will cause a bonus item to appear in the middle of the screen, which can be eaten for points. Once all the enemies have been defeated, Dig Dug will progress to the next stage.
Enemies can travel through solid dirt to reach the player, where only their eyes will be shown. Inflated enemies pose no threat to the player, allowing Dig Dug to pass through them without harm. The game will play a short jingle when Dig Dug moves, abruptly stopping when he becomes idle. If the player takes too long to clear a stage, the enemies will become faster and much more aggressive, indicated by a short jingle. Stages are indicated by the number of flowers placed at the top of the screen. Later stages feature variations in the color of the dirt, while increasing the movement speed of the enemies.