Notes on Dig-Dug

Dig-dug game design

In Dig-Dug you take the role of a guy with an air pump that needs to inflate underground animals until they explode and die. The game is divided in rounds, when there are not more monsters in the levels (either you’ve killed them or they’ve escaped) you go to the next round.

  1. Your character can move in all directions, he can dig layers of dirt to reach the enemies, he can also go out to the top ground to avoid the enemies escaping from the sides. He starts with three lives.
  2. The Pookas in one of the two kinds of enemies in Dig-Dug, they don’t have any special abilities, if they or they ghost touches you, you die, you can inflate them by shooting the air pump towards them, the air pump will extend a certain range and ‘connect’ to them, then you press several times until they explode.
    Galaga Game Design
    After pressing the button several times, you can explode the enemy and you will get points
  3. Fygars, green dragons, they can throw fire from time to time, they can also convert to a ghost and float to get materialized again, if they touch you, you’re dead. Same as the Pookas, you can inflate them.
    Fygars Dig-Dug
    You can see the ghost shape of the dragon at first, then, when it leaves the dirt, it becomes a dragon again, you can also see that he shoots fire

4. There are several rocks in each round, if you dig below them, they will wriggle a little bit and then they will fall until they reach a tile of dirt again, you can use them to kill enemies, if you kill several enemies at once with a rock, you get more points. Rocks can kill you too.

Game Design Dig Dug
The ghost shape of the Pookas
  • When you move your character, a melody plays, when the gameplay gets more tense (the enemies try to escape), the melody plays faster.
  • If there’s a thin wall of dirt, you can still shoot your air pump through it and get your enemies, this is useful as you can get cover behind that thin layer and still complete your objective.
  • In the top ground, the flowers grow as you progress through the game.
  • As a strategy, you can wait at the top ground until the enemies try and escape, then you can kill them, although you still need to be careful, because if they’re in ghost mode they could come up at any point in the ground.
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