Dug It


I got to looking up the early-80s video game Dig Dug, which taught me how to better my enemies by wielding a bicycle pump at them, which has never worked for me. I’ve never got past the third board in the game, and a bicycle pump has done even worse at fending off my enemies in real life. But StrategyWiki delighted me by not just being able to tell me the names all the things in it, and revealing that among the “bonus vegetables” that pop up if you do far better than I have ever done are eggplants, pineapples, garlic, Galaxian, and green peppers, is that Dig Dug himself has a proper name and it isn’t “Mr Dug”.

Apparently his proper name is Taizo Hori, and he’s the father of “Mr Driller”, famed star of the Mr Driller series of video games that I never heard of before this. I don’t know why Mr Driller changed his family name. Maybe Taizo’s wife kept her maiden name, or they didn’t marry at all. Maybe Mr Driller wanted to get away from having a name that’s a Japanese pun, which it turns out his dad’s name is. “Horitai zo” apparently means “I want to dig”, although I’m not sure changing your name from “I Want To Dig” to “Mr Digger” isn’t just a lateral move, like going from “Mr Shepherd” to “Mr Fellow With A Keen Interest In Organizing Groups Of Sheep”. Obviously there are parts of the psychology of the Dig Dug universe that I don’t adequately understand.

It also turns out there’s backstory to Dig Dug that explains Taizo is digging around his own vegetable patch, which is why vegetables turn up, and it’s being invaded by those critters which is why he’s trying to blow them up, and now I kind of want to look up an explanation for how the Burger Time universe came to be, but I’m also afraid of finding out. I’ve almost gotten to the third board in that.

Also, garlic is a vegetable? I guess I can accept it as a vegetable. I suppose I didn’t have a clear notion of what it was, besides one of those things that comes chopped up in a bottle and that I put too much of on my burger. All right, so it’s a vegetable, then.

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Author: Joseph Nebus

I was born 198 years to the day after Johnny Appleseed. The differences between us do not end there.

14 thoughts on “Dug It”

  1. I remember Dig Dug very well. 🙂

    Garlic is a vegetable (Allium sativum) that belongs to the Allium class of bulb-shaped plants, which also includes onions, chives, leeks, and scallions. Garlic is used for flavoring in cooking and is unique because of its high sulfur content. (thanks copy & paste internet!)

    And WHAT is “Galaxian” — that was listed under “bonus vegetables” in your post?

    I’m playing BEJEWELED DIAMOND MIND … oh my, I’m an addict!

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    1. Well, good grief, I’d never thought there was a serious link between Brussels sprouts and cabbage. It’s just so obviously a good joke to have why should there be something they have in common, you know?

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  2. I actually did know about the backstory, but what the wikis don’t tell you is that the whole Taizo Hori/Susumu Hori thing was a retrofit for Mr. Driller.

    Which, by the way, is my second-favorite action-puzzle game of all time (Tetris being my favorite) and the main reason I keep my Dreamcast around.

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    1. StrategyWiki did lead me to figure the name was something imposed on Dig Dug so they could make Mr Driller, although I’m not sure why they wanted to tie it in to the earlier video game series without continuing the series’s name. I guess Dig Dug Junior is a little too old-fashioned a name for the heady days of 1999.

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  3. I used to play Galaga quite a bit, back in around 1981. As I recall it cost 20 cents a game, which is sort of odd because to play it now I have to use my $2000 computer. I might have got better value for money back then. Not sure.

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    1. I’d never got into video games back in the 80s, I suspect because there just wasn’t an arcade quite close enough for me to play regularly. Now, though, I have a couple of pinball simulation apps for my iPad, which is probably my biggest time-use for the thing, which is a bit silly.

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