Dig Dug

Dig Dug
Company: Atari
Model #:
Tom Calderwood & Tom Flaherty (GCC)
Year: 1983
A completly different version was released for the Atari 400/800


Dig Dug...  While this game didn't win any awards for good English, it did become on of the most popular arcade games in history.  Dig Dug combines fast action, strategy, and good clean non-violent fun into one amazing package.  Dig Dug's easy to learn yet hard to master, gameplay made it a favorite at the arcades.  However Atari's upper management wasn't happy when some of its employees made the decision to license the game from Namco, they were afraid American audiences wouldn't get the game (what's there to get? See monster, pump monster, blow up monster).  Thankfully the upper management was proven wrong (as usual) and Dig Dug was a smash hit for Atari.


According to the manual "You are Dig Dug, an intrepid gardener whose soil is infested with pesky Pookas and fire-breathing Fygars", dotcha just hate it when that happens?  However your not just any intrepid gardener in a spacesuit, your Dig Dug, and you've come prepared.  Dig Dug comes armed with his trusty air pump which he uses to blow up his enemies.  Apparently all Pookas and Fygars come equipped with air nozzles for easy pumping (how convenient).


Dig you must!  Burrow your way through the soil hunting down all the Pookas and Fygars before they come looking for you!  Although Pookas and Fygars can't normally move through solid dirt, they can turn into ghosts.  Ghosts look like little white eyes and can freely move through the dirt; however once they reach open ground they'll revert back to their normal selves.  Normally Dig Dug can't pump a ghost until it reverts back into a Pooka or Fygar, but if you time it just right you can catch the ghost right as it's exiting the dirt and blow him away.  Normally Pookas and Fygars don't turn into ghosts until later on it the round, so you have a little while to hunt them down in their tunnels.  However at later level's they'll start ghosting immediately!


The pump isn't the only weapon at Dig Dug's disposal, for he is also 'Master of the Rock'.  By burrowing under the rocks strategically placed around the screen, Dig Dug can drop them onto unwitting foes.  Be careful that you're not under it when it falls though.  After dropping two rocks a veggie will appear in the center of the screen (ala Pac-Man), you can grab this for bonus points if your into that sort of thing.  While hunting down your opponents, take special care when approaching Fygars from the front.  Since Fygars are little dragons they have the ability to breath fire!  Make sure Dig Dug doesn't get burned to a crisp.


Dig Dug is one of only a handful of 5200 games that differ from their 400/800 counterparts.  Now I know most of you who collect for both systems are saying "But they are the same!", and technically you'd be correct.  For you see, much like Centipede, an early version of Dig Dug was made for the 400/800 and was inferior to the later 5200 version.  However unlike Centipede (and Qix for that matter), the updated 5200 version was re-released for the 400/800.  There's no way to tell the two versions apart except by plugging them in and looking at the title screen. I t's been my experience that the earlier 400/800 version is much rarer than the 5200 re-release, so go check those 8-bit Dig Dug carts!  Atari made the right decision in re-releasing the superior 5200 version on the 400/800 as the older version was very blocky and lacked the polish of the later version (although it did play nicely).  The only fault with the 5200 version is the 5200 joystick itself, non-centering joysticks and Dig Dug don't mix!  Oh well, can't have it all.


Version Cart Text Description
6/20/83 Dig Dug 171 Very close to final
7/4/83 Dig Dug 185 Final Version


Return to 5200 Software