Retro Vault is our regular weekly feature in which we dive into gaming's past and share five classic nuggets of retro nostalgia. If you want to catch up on previous Retro Vaults, check out the CVG Retro Vault archive.
April 1982 - Dig Dug arcade flyer
While Pac-Man will always be considered Namco's earliest mascot, it's worth also tipping our collective hat to another early star, the chap from Dig Dug.
Although Namco officially calls the character himself simply Dig Dug, he was also known in Dig Dug 2 as "the survivor of the Dig Dug incident". Years later he was named Taizo Hori. In Japan this reads as Hori Taizo, which is a bit of a pun: the phrase "horitai zo" is Japanese for "I want to dig".
Published by Atari outside Japan, Dig Dug was well-received for its tactical gameplay. Digging tunnels underground to reach and destroy enemies by over-inflating them until they burst, enemies could burrow through the ground after a while, requiring more thought to deal with them.
Dig Dug has been remade and re-released countless times over the years. Namco's Mr Driller series is its spiritual successor, starring Taizo's son Susumu in the lead role and featuring Taizo himself as a playable character in some versions.