Remake It So: Dig Dug – The First Person Survival Horror Game

Dig Dug will always have a nostalgic place in my heart as it was the first PC game I ever owned. After having recently played it again for the first time in a decade, I was surprised at how well it held up. It is as addictive and challenging as ever. While there isn’t much I’d change about the original, I couldn’t stop my mind from wandering and thinking about what a modern Dig Dug would look like.

Dig Dug

Deep underground

Sure, you could go make a Dig Dug Championship Edition DX SE Alpha and challenge the likes of Pac-Man all over again, but when you really delve into Dig Dug, there’s something dark at its core. Here you have a man digging deep underground to clear out the monsters living there by inflating them until they explode. When you aren’t looking at it through 2D 80’s arcade glasses, it is completely unnerving. What I’m saying is that the new Dig Dug should be a first-person survival horror game.

I always hoped that Dig Dug was making a preemptive strike against the Pooka and Fygar forces, but I have a feeling that best time period for a Dig Dug games is after these monsters from below have already wreaked havoc on our world. Later stages of the original game show a much bleaker world, so our game will primarily be set after the war has begun. The intro will feature the colorful and lush world that once was just before the terrors breakthrough. Afterwards though, we flash forward and realize that Dig Dug is truly a fight for all of humanity.

Recon miner soldiers


Terrifying at full size.

I do believe there are more members of the DDRB (Dig Dug Reconnaissance Brigade) in the world, but we will focus on our solo protagonist that makes a pivotal discovery underground that changes the course of this terrible war. DDRB’s are brave soldiers who have been tasked with digging underground to find the source of these monsters. Technology can only get us so close to their nests, and these creatures are smart, agile, dangerous, and hard to find. The one things we’ve noticed about Pookas and Fygars alike, is that they are curious about humans. Not only are members of the DDRB, explorers, but they are also, bait.

Once underground, our heroic Dig Dug will be tasked with researching the underground monsters while fighting for his own survival. This will require a game engine centered around advanced geomod or more realistic “Minecraft” technology, coupled with advanced lighting and sound. My dream team would be to combine original Dead Space team with members of Volition’s Red Faction teams.

As Dig Dug, uh, digs, he will be have to maintain light sources and will be enveloped by the muffled sounds of the cavernous below. At any point, Dig Dug could burrow into a monster’s tunnel or nest. Once Dig Dug has been spotted, he must slay the monster or the rest of the monsters in the area (and surrounding tunnels) will be alerted to his presence and they will begin to hunt him.

Dig Dug uses his mining tools for excavation, research, and for defense. While a majority of his digging will be accomplished with his stealth drill, more precise holes can be made with his trusty pickaxe. Research is accomplished through a variety of scanners. For more…climactic moments we, of course, have the plunger gun.

Dig Dug Real

It ain’t pretty.

The plunger gun has a variety of uses, but a limited range. Once the gun is fired and attached to an enemy or to the environment, Dig Dug will pump his target full of whatever ammunition he has available. For clean kills, Dig Dug will want to use standard air so that he can get at the resources contained within the stomachs of his enemies as quickly as possible. Of course, Dig Dug must be careful as the blood and guts of some enemies is volatile and a hazard to both him and the environment. Different ammunition will cause larger explosions and burn enemy corpses entirely, or it can chemically alter the enemy to lessen the effects of their toxins. The plunger gun works on just about any enemy, but it’s power is offset by it’s speed. Incapaciting your primary target is key while you defend yourself against other dangers.

Completely surrounded

Pookas and Fygars aren’t the only dangerous foes underground. These are just the foot soldiers of a larger army of creatures that get more dangerous the closer Dig Dug gets to the core of the planet. Dig Dug also has to be wary of the environment itself, as cave-ins will be frequent especially when the powerful plunger gun is misused. If he doesn’t manage his tunnels carefully, Dig Dug can become trapped and suffer a panic attack in extreme circumstances. Players will become uneasy in the tight tunnels and darkness. It will be easy to get turned around and lost, especially when the only choose is to run away while being chased. However, the environment is also a powerful weapon and will ultimately be the key to fending off this threat to humanity once and for all.

The charm and whimsy of the original Dig Dug, disguised the true terror and helplessness that can happen underneath the Earth’s crust. This new Dig Dug will embrace the reality of his world without flinching in the face of true darkness. Can he fill the darkness with the hot air of hope fast enough to save the planet?

Remake It So – A quick look back at a game or game franchise that could benefit from an updated title. We discuss what makes the original standout, and what new technology could add to a new experience.


Giant Bomb (images)