Dig Dug

Alex Vo

Dig Dug further cements Namco's image as fortunate sons of context and circumstance.

Publisher: Namco
Genres: Platformer, Action
Price: 400 Microsoft Points
Multimedia: Dig Dug
Platforms: XBox Live Arcade
Number of players: 1
ESRB rating: Everyone
Developer: Namco
US release date: 2006-10-11
Developer website

Obliterated by its sequel in every way, Pac-Man hasn't been worth playing since 1982. And having enjoyed Galaga even during the Dreamcast era, I was extra crestfallen playing and realizing this year what a dull mess Galaga really is. Dig Dug, Namco's third and most recent release for Xbox Live Arcade, further cements Namco's image as fortunate sons of context and circumstance. The characters that raised the company name merely showed up at the right crux of history, way back during the golden age, when gaming was still sucking on the teat. That was a time when we needed such caretakers, but today, not so much at all.

What's wrong with Dig Dug is that the obvious, easiest way to play the game is actually the worst way. As a little man named Dig Dug, you're tasked with eliminating the monsters on each stage. Equipped with an air pump, the most apparent means is to fill them with oxygen until they explode. Doing this, however, gives you only a paltry 200-400 points. What you're really supposed to do is lead the enemies underneath a rock. Crushing them will net around 1,000 points, and with 1-UPs only at every 10,000, you need every chunk of sandstone, clay, and shale you can use.

Luring packs of baddies and then turning the tables on them isn't unique to Dig Dug. However, the goal in something like Pac-Man is to eat the dots, not kill the ghosts. If you don't dispose of the ghosts when you eat the power pellet, no harm is done; the ghosts avoid you and you have respite to eat more dots. In Dig Dug, if the boulder doesn't kill the intendeds, you're doomed: the torpid Dig Dug is surrounded by monsters, all of whom can move diagonally through dirt (whereas it's difficult to get Dig Dug to even turn when you want him to). You'll die and have made no points and progress at all. Strike three, Namco. How about porting a few Katamari stages instead?






Alright Alright's "Don't Worry" Is an Ode for Unity in Troubling Times (premiere)

Alright Alright's "Don't Worry" is a gentle, prayerful tune that depicts the heart of their upcoming album, Crucible.


Tim Bowness of No-Man Discusses Thematic Ambition Amongst Social Division

With the release of his seventh solo album, Late Night Laments, Tim Bowness explores global tensions and considers how musicians can best foster mutual understanding in times of social unrest.


Angel Olsen Creates a 'Whole New Mess'

No one would call Angel Olsen's Whole New Mess a pretty album. It's much too stark. But there's something riveting about the way Olsen coos to herself that's soft and comforting.


Masma Dream World Go Global and Trippy on "Sundown Forest" (premiere)

Dancer, healer, musician Devi Mambouka shares the trippy "Sundown Forest", which takes listeners deep into the subconscious and onto a healing path.


'What a Fantastic Death Abyss': David Bowie's 'Outside' at 25

David Bowie's Outside signaled the end of him as a slick pop star and his reintroduction as a ragged-edged arty agitator.


Dream Folk's Wolf & Moon Awaken the Senses with "Eyes Closed" (premiere)

Berlin's Wolf & Moon are an indie folk duo with a dream pop streak. "Eyes Closed" highlights this aspect as the act create a deep sense of atmosphere and mood with the most minimal of tools.


Ranking the Seasons of 'The Wire'

Years after its conclusion, The Wire continues to top best-of-TV lists. With each season's unique story arc, each viewer is likely to have favorites.


Paul Reni's Silent Film 'The Man Who Laughs' Is Serious Cinema

There's so much tragedy present, so many skullduggeries afoot, and so many cruel and vindictive characters in attendance that a sad and heartbreaking ending seems to be an obvious given in Paul Reni's silent film, The Man Who Laughs.


The Grahams Tell Their Daughter "Don't Give Your Heart Away" (premiere)

The Grahams' sweet-sounding "Don't Give Your Heart Away" is rooted in struggle, inspired by the couples' complicated journey leading up to their daughter's birth.


Gloom Balloon Deliver an Uplifting Video for "All My Feelings For You" (premiere)

Gloom Balloon's Patrick Tape Fleming considers what making a music video during a pandemic might involve because, well, he made one. Could Fellini come up with this plot twist?


What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .


Brian Cullman Gets Bluesy with "Someday Miss You" (premiere)

Brian Cullman's "Someday Miss You" taps into American roots music, carries it across the Atlantic and back for a sound that is both of the past and present.


IDLES Have Some Words for Fans and Critics on 'Ultra Mono'

On their new album, Ultra Mono, IDLES tackle both the troubling world around them and the dissenters that want to bring them down.


Napalm Death Return With Their Most Vital Album in Decades

Grindcore institution Napalm Death finally reconcile their experimental side with their ultra-harsh roots on Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism.


NYFF: 'Notturno' Looks Passively at the Chaos in the Middle East

Gianfranco Rosi's expansive documentary, Notturno, is far too remote for its burningly immediate subject matter.


The Avett Brothers Go Back-to-Basics with 'The Third Gleam'

For their latest EP, The Third Gleam, the Avett Brothers leave everything behind but their songs and a couple of acoustic guitars, a bass, and a banjo.


PM Picks Playlist 1: Rett Madison, Folk Devils + More

The first PopMatters Picks Playlist column features searing Americana from Rett Madison, synthpop from Everything and Everybody, the stunning electropop of Jodie Nicholson, the return of post-punk's Folk Devils, and the glammy pop of Baby FuzZ.


David Lazar's 'Celeste Holm  Syndrome' Appreciates Hollywood's Unsung Character Actors

David Lazar's Celeste Holm Syndrome documents how character actor work is about scene-defining, not scene-stealing.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.