für PC (CGA)

kdenk:Garnett Williams:Gesamt:
Firma: Windmill Software
Jahr: 1983
Genre: Denkspiel, Action
Thema: Multiplayer
Sprache: English
Lizenz: Kommerziell
Aufrufe: 39872
Rezension von Garnett Williams (14.04.2018)

Digger was created in 1983 by Rob Sleath, one of the founders of Windmill Software, Inc. which produced nine quality games between 1982 and 1984, in the dawn of PC gaming. While completely outdated by today's standards (and even 90's standards), Windmill introduced some advanced techniques, and Digger had some of them.

On the surface, it's clear that it's inspired by Namco's Dig Dug (1982) and Rob plainly admits it. There's also a bit of Mr. Do! at play there. You control a Digger Mobile, a kind of small tunneller digging through the dirt in search of diamonds and gold, but beware! The mine tunnels are full of enemies (Hobbins & Nobbins) who would go behind Digger. Thankfully, you can get rid of them by digging beneath gold bags, which would eventually fall through the fine layer of dirt left behind, over the foes. And then get the gold from the opened bag, double win!

The Digger Mobile is also capable to shoot a single energy blast to defeat enemies, or become temporarily invincible by eating a bonus cherry. Additionally, sometimes the Hobbins and Nobbins would past through the dirt, or dig it opening new tunnels. And of course, their speed and aggressivenes increases with each level.

The game advances through levels which occupy a single screen. Each level has a different placement for the initially opened tunnels, diamonds and gold, and that is one aspect defining the increasing difficulty.

It had enough elements in the gameplay to make it a favourite among PC players in a time when the market for games in the platform was quite limited. Graphically, it was another 4-colour CGA game, with the nice touch of changing the palette between levels. The sound department was a bit different, as the author had developed a few methods of taking more advantage of the PC beeper for something else other than pew-pew and sinusoidal sounds.

Digger featured not only music in the intro screen, a simple rendition of the famous Popcorn (composed by Gershon Kingsley in 1969, and popularized by others such as Hot Butter or Jean-Michel Jarre), but also music while playing. All that with sound FX at the same time, something I think was a primer on PC gaming, or at least, a real novelty. Rob used some interrupt techniques to make it appear as if both sounds, the musical note and the FX, were being played at the same time. That technique also allowed for noise and a variety of effects that, back in the time, made the game sound very rich and different.

Digger proved to be a success, and it was one of the reasons Windmill got a deal with IBM to provide games for their new IBM JX computer which was going to be sold in Japan. The success also prompted many players to modify the game. There are lots of hacks of Digger, some simply graphical, but others adding different speeds, different initial levels, etc.

How does Digger fare today? It's still fun to play, despite the initial “slow” levels. It can be played at The Internet Archive. You can get the self-booting disk image there, or a DOS conversion, and run it with PCEm or DosBox yourself.

Two remakes have been done. One by Andrew Jenner in 1998. Andrew Jenner is the creator of http://www.digger.org/, the site for all things related to Digger and Windmill. It's a DOS application though, so again use PCEm or DosBox, or get any of the alternate versions, including an SDL port and a Java version.

The other remake is Bomberman vs. Digger, which as the name implies, mixes gameplay from both games. It's a pretty interesting mixture, and you can search for it in your favourite search engine as it doesn't have an official page nowadays. It runs flawlessly on modern Windows variations.

To sum it up, Digger is a classic from the very early days, bringing cool action in a single screen of only 4 different colours. If you were there, you probably recognize it. If you weren't, I suggest you to try it and see that, gameplay wise, it was up to par with other arcade machines but the very new PC platform.

Archivierte Rezension(en) ↓

Rezension von kdenk (06.02.2015)

Digger wurde 1983 von Windmill Software programmiert und als kopiergeschützte bootfähige 5.25" Diskette für den IBM PC herausgegeben. Es wurde dafür ausgelegt auf einem IBM XT/AT mit CGA Grafikkarte zu laufen; da seine Zeitsteuerung über die CPU funktioniert, läuft es auf neueren PCs deutlich zu schnell.
Eine überarbeitete Version, die mittels GNU GPL lizenziert wurde, ist mit der Zustimmung des ursprünglichen Schöpfers veröffentlicht worden. Diese läuft auf modernen Rechnern und wurde auch auf andere Systeme portiert. Diese kann unter http://www.digger.org heruntergeladen werden.

Als Spieler steuert man den so genannten Digger, der horizontale und vertikale Schächte in einem unterirdischen Labyrinth graben kann. An mehreren Stellen des Irrgartens befinden sich Edelsteine und Säcke voller Gold, für die man Punkte bekommt, wenn man sie einsammelt.
Es gibt zwei Arten von Monstern in Digger: Nobbin und Hobbin.
Nobbin ist die Form in der die Monster am Anfang auftauchen: sie jagen Digger in den Tunneln die der Spieler gegraben hat.
Wenn sich Nobbins ein paar mal über den Weg laufen werden daraus Hobbins. Und die erhalten die Fähigkeit selber Schächte zu graben bzw. Gold und Edelsteine einzusammeln.
Digger kann die Monster umbringen, indem er sie mit einem Schuss erledigt oder einen Goldsack auf sie fallen lässt. Wenn er genug Monster erledigt hat, kann er ein Power-Up einsammeln, das ihn für kurze Zeit unverwundbar macht.
Als Spieler gewinnt man, indem man es schafft alle Edelsteine einzusammeln oder alle Monster zu töten.
Es gibt mehrere unterschiedlich aufgebaute Level, und während man durch diese fortschreitet werden die Monster schneller, die Schüsse regenerieren langsamer und die Power-Ups verschwinden wieder nach immer kürzerer Zeit.
Alle 20000 Punkte erhält man ein zusätzliches Leben, man kann aber nicht mehr als vier davon auf einmal haben.

Der derzeitige Höchstpunktestand ist von Roman Tomczyk, der 3.333.300 Punkte bis Level 353 geschafft hat (http://www.digger.org/fame.html).

Dank seinem einfachen, aber süchtig machenden, Spielprinzip ist Digger zu einem Klassiiker geworden. Es ist ein großartiges Spiel, für wann immer man mal ein wenig Freizeit zu erübrigen hat.

Kommentare (2) [Kommentar schreiben]

Moebius (06.02.2015):
Heh, this was epic... but excruciatingly tedious at the same time, and i never spent too much time playing it, although it's an aknowledged classic and we should all bow to it :)
Herr M. (05.02.2015):

Cool, I wasn't aware that this game had such a cult following. :)

Never played it that much myself, but I still remember playing it for the first time like it was yesterday: Cool Popcorn-music (which didn't sound half bad considering the PC-Speaker) and a strange duck on wheels shooting its head at even stranger monsters.



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