Mr. Driller.

Retro vs Remake: Dig Dug vs. Mr. Driller

Dig Dug, the much loved 1982 arcade game by Namco has been ported, sequel-ed and remade a dozen times over. And why not? It’s a charming, addictive game, despite its age.

Who knew tire pumps made such effective weapons?

Gameplay is pretty simple: drill your way around in the dirt, destroying enemies by inflating them with your bike pump. Yes, a bike pump. Like Pac-man or Galaga, this game has little basis in reality. You play as a little Japanese man (Officially known as Dig Dug, but also known as Taizo Hori) that must rid the earth of monsters. To do this, you must drill underground where the monsters dwell. Moving in any of the four directions on the 2D stage automatically drills the dirt ahead of you, creating a maze of tunnels in your wake. But be careful, drilling underneath rocks causes them to fall, so make sure you’re not in the way; monsters on the other hand… The monsters spend most of their time prancing back and forth in their own little tunnels, at least until you break the walls confining them. (If you take too long, they will transform into phantoms and float through the dirt toward you) Once freed, the monster will start moving along the tunnels you’ve created and attempt to strike you before you can toss the “air hose of death” at them.

Speaking of the bike pump, its actually an interesting weapon. When you press the “fire” button, you throw the hose out in front of you and if it catches a monster, it automatically inflates them. Slightly. To destroy them, you have to keep inflating them by continuously pressing the “fire” button. Interestingly, an effective strategy is inflating the creatures partway so that they remain motionless (at least until they deflate) then you could “arrange” them in a group under a rock and crush them for bonus points.

Now how about that remake…

Mr. Driller.

Namco went from cute to absolutely quirky with this 1999 arcade Dig Dug remake. (indecently starring the son of Dig Dug) Now I use the term remake loosely; Mr. Drilller is kind of a kind of a sequel/spin-off/remake of Dig Dug all rolled into one. The basic concept of drilling underground remains, but the rest of the game is completely different. For one, there are no enemies to harm or harm you. Instead, the environment is your adversary. Your goal is to drill down through a field of colored blocks until you run out of air (you can collect air refills as you drill) or reach the bottom. The blocks come in all various shapes with like adjacent like colors sticking to each other. As you drill, you will invariably cause the blocks above you to come loose since you can and have to drill in any direction. If you’re not fast enough, these blocks can crush you, but if a falling block happens to pass a similarly colored block, it will stick to it and, if it creates a set of 4 or more of the same color, disappear. Needless to say, the falling and disappearing blocks can cause massive chain reactions either to your benefit or detriment. There are also special blocks that don’t merge with other blocks as well as poison blocks, that if opened, can drain a chunk of your precious air supply.

The sound and graphics in Mr. Driller are certainly something to behold. It’s extremely bright and colorful with obvious Anime styling and the sound is every definition of happy and quirky.

So how do these two games compare? Well they both have pretty simple and easy to pick up gameplay. Mr. Driller is certainly more fast-paced and frantic than Dig Dug’s admittedly slow trudge. On the other hand, Dig Dug does allow for more strategic planning to rack up point bonuses. So I’m not sure how to call this one. They’re both great games, but I do have a nostalgic partiality for Dig Dug.

What’s your vote? Dig Dug or Mr. Driller?

Dig_Dug_by_Hartter

Retroist Podcast – Episode 085 – Dig Dug

On today’s show we talk all about the video game classic, Dig Dug. I talk about the game’s creations, gameplay and its many variations and ports. Music throughout the show was provided by Peachy. The Dig Dug art you see above was provided by Sean Hartter. You can find more of Sean’s work at his website (he does sell Prints of most of his work).

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Which is superior?

Parallel Thinking in the creation of Classic Games: Dig Dug and Mr. Do

MrNeilESQ posted a great look at the similarities of two games made by two companies at the same time. Two games that demonstrate that similar ideas can come to fruition without being ripoffs of one another. I found it very interesting since I know so many people who really appreciate Dig Dug, but give very little to the superior (in my opinion), Mr. Do.

Which is superior?

Read Parallel Thinking in Classic Games: Dig Dug and Mr. Do [@] Aging Geekfully

Friday Flyers: Dig Dug

It seemed fitting that since I posted the Music Video for Dig Dug a couple of days ago that we focus on the flyer for that classic game today.

Not everyone may know that our beloved Dig Dug is the father of Susumu Hori, the main character in the video game series Mr. Driller. He is also the ex-husband of Toby “Kissy” Masuyo, the heroine of the game Baraduke or Alien Sector as we know it in the States. Thanks to that Wiki entry we are now aware that Dig Dug and and Toby had two other children before their divorce, Ataru Hori and Taiyo Toby. Now how many people though Dig Dug was just a simple little arcade title?

Just in case you find yourself in a mall or shopping center this weekend that might have a Dig Dug machine, I’ve included this handy coupon from the awesome Arcade Flyer Archive who as always provided us with the scanned flyers above. If you like what you are seeing on Friday Flyers hop on over to the Game Reviews section of the Retroist. I see that our very own CritAnime has just posted a review of the 1990 Nintendo World Championship cartridge!