Video games don't get any simpler in concept than Dig Dug, initially released back in 1982 by Namco. Now, twenty-four years later, a new generation of gamers can experience the arcade classic via Xbox Live Arcade. The question is should they want to?
The objective of Dig Dug is to get rid of the Pookas and fire-breathing Fygars that dwell underground. While tunneling beneath the surface, players achieve this goal in one of two ways: by inflating the monsters with a pump until they pop, or by crushing them in the path of a falling rock. Dig Dug can be killed himself if caught by a monster, burned by a Fygar's fire, or flattened by a rock. The gameplay is as simple as it sounds but as players progress through the game's many levels, the monsters will start to travel faster through the tunnels, ultimately creating a frenetic pace.
Points are awarded simply by digging around, but players can accumulate more points by eliminating monsters, more so when dropping rocks on them than popping them. When a player drops two rocks in any given level, edible bonus items will appear in the center of the playfield that can be collected for additional points, and more importantly to unlock some of the game's achievements. Unfortunately the achievements in Dig Dug are far too easy to reach, especially since the game allows players to start a new game from the highest level they previously completed. In fact, you could be finished with Dig Dug in under a couple of hours. Good thing it's relatively cheap.
Dig Dug has been enhanced with high-definition support and it also includes leaderboards for those who like to boast their high scores. Surprisingly absent from this version of Dig Dug is the alternating two-player mode found in the original arcade version. When all is said and done, Dig Dug offers a nostalgic way to pass a few minutes of the day. For those gamers, young and old, who can appreciate its simplicity, that's likely just enough.