This maze arcade game was developed by Namco in 1981 and released in 1982, licensed and distributed by Atari.
The player controlled Dig Dug to defeat all enemies – “Pookas” (red creatures with comically large goggles) and “Fygars” (fire-breathing green dragons) – in each stage by either inflating them to bursting point with an air pump or crushing them underneath falling rocks.
Dig Dug was well-received by critics for its addictive gameplay, cute characters, and strategy, and the game was globally successful during the golden age of arcade video games.
It became the second highest-grossing arcade game of 1982 in Japan.
Dig Dug prompted a series of sequels for several platforms. The first of these, Dig Dug II, was released in Japan in 1985, played from an overhead perspective and having Dig Dug drills along fault lines to sink pieces of an island into the ocean.
Dig Dug Arrangement was released in 1996 as part of the Namco Classic Collection Vol. 2.
A 3D remake of the original – Dig Dug Deeper – was published by Infogrames in 2001 for Windows PCs. A Nintendo DS sequel, Dig Dug: Digging Strike, was released in 2005, combining elements from the first two games and adding a narrative link to the Mr Driller series.
A massively multiplayer online version, Dig Dug Island, was released in 2008 but lasted for less than a year and was discontinued in April 2009.