Compared to previous arcade games offered by Namco and other companies, such as Pac-Man, Centipede and Galaga, Dig Dug seems slower paced, at least at first. Players are given plenty of time to explore and learn the art of digging their own mazes, before Pooka and Fygar really start coming after them. This actually works to the game's benefit, and it made for a welcome, endearing change of pace in the early '80s arcade. It also seems very generous on Namco's part, since games where players die quickly and often are an arcade owner's best friend. But Namco apparently knew what they were doing, for Dig Dug is one of their most famous games, and rightfully so. And just because the game starts slow doesn't mean it stays slow. Any player who lasts long enough will find Dig Dug pursued relentlessly through the soil by whole armies of Pooka and Fygar, just the way any hard-core gamer likes it.
The game is made even better by Yuriko Keino's music. Dig Dug was one of the first games to feature a soundtrack of multiple tunes, from a looping background theme to lots of little riffs that cue everything from when it's time to hurry up to when you've scored a bonus life. They're cute and they're catchy, and you may find yourself humming them long after you've walked away from the game.