Dig Dug

Dig Dug

Dig Dug

Piles of dirty fun.

It's no coincidence that some of the most memorable and legendary videogame releases of the past 30 years have been devilishly simple in terms of concept. Pong, Pac-Man, Space Invaders - classics like these are held in high esteem because they kept things simple. That was their strength.

DigDug is another name that can be added to that illustrious list. You dig tunnels, snag baddies with your hose and pump them up until they explode - simple, yet effective, fun. Most importantly it's also painfully addictive. No wonder Namco has re-released this gem of a game several times over the past few decades.

The cheerily sadistic idea of inflating enemies until they burst is appealing enough, but Namco also gave the option of crushing monsters with falling rocks. This was a full two years before Rockford - the star of Boulderdash - would come along and do the same.

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Dig Dug

Dig Dug

Going underground.

And so the Xbox Live Arcade classic arcade bandwagon rolls on this week with the release of yet another cheap and cheerful Namco port. Cheap, in that it's 400 points, and cheerful in its ability to make us feel happy with its goofy tune and unfettered simplicity 24 years on from release.

Released during that golden arcade age of Donkey Kong, Ms Pac-Man, Galaga and Frogger, Dig Dug was undoubtedly one of the most popular games of that cherished era, and it's no great surprise to see it wheeled out once again to capitalise on any remaining nostalgics who haven't already picked it up on any number of retro compilations over the past decade or so.

Weary cynicism aside, it's also one of a select band of ancient relics that seems to defy the passing of time, feeling every bit as addictive, challenging and playable now as it did back then. This isn't the gaming equivalent of reviewing Deely Boppers or Leg Warmers.

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Dig Dug on Live Arcade

Call a spade a spade.

It's a little known fact that I would like to retire and play Super Nintendo RPGs all day. I have no time for you and your "modern games", and last night I had a dream where I kept a big folder of all your misdeeds. This morning I am going to make that folder a reality, and in the meantime I'm going to set off a download of Dig Dug on Xbox Live Arcade, because that looks old and we've got to stick together.