If you, our gracious readers, would indulge me for a moment, I’d like to unwrap a part of my gaming past that I don’t often talk about. I make no secret of the fact that the original NES was what began my love of gaming all those years ago. Super Mario Bros., Duck Hunt, Dragon Warrior – all those really are where my life of gaming started. Yet, there’s one title that also had a large part in my gaming history that I don’t often mention. That game is called Digger.
My family’s very first personal computer was a Leading Edge beast of a machine, with two floppy drives. And, by “floppy”, I mean the actual, huge floppy discs. In fact, you had to insert a disc for everything you wanted to do on that machine. We also had an incredibly noisy dot matrix printer that lasted an ungodly amount of time. We were still using that thing long after we replaced that original PC. But, back to the point, I used to play games on that old computer in my younger days, as well. In fact, I probably did more PC gaming back then than I do today – I’m mostly a console gamer these days.
Digger was my favorite game on that old PC. I often couldn’t get through more than a few levels, but I would still spend hours and hours playing. The little eight-color sprites, stiffly animated, yet mysteriously entertaining, enthralled me and my brothers for quite a while. The premise of Digger was simple – you controlled a little mechanical digger vehicle and were to collect jewels to clear the level, all the while being chased by various different kinds of monsters with different abilities. There were also bags of gold coins to collect or strategically drop onto the heads of the enemies. That was it. So simple, yet so fascinating. The 8-bit-sounding MIDI effects resonated in my head for years and years after I played my last Digger game. Eventually, they began to fade away, yet all the fond memories remained.
It was a good 15 years or more since I last played Digger and, suddenly, without hearing anything about it, a new version of the game is on the PlayStation Store under the highly original moniker DiggerHD. What did I do? I immediately download it and begin playing. At first, I begin the standard single player mode and it’s easy – too easy. I progress very quickly through the game. Of course, at this point I’m not bothering to do everything I can in a level, I’m just grabbing jewels to progress from one stage to the next. That eventually gets so boring I need to whack myself over the head with a mallet to wake myself up.
So, I go back to the menu screen and do something I should have done right from the beginning – look through the different game play modes. To my pleasant surprise, there is a vintage mode. When I selected it and began playing, it was like I was back in the late ’80s again, as a kid, playing on that first PC we owned. The sprites were there, the sound effects were there, the challenge was there – everything came flooding back to me. I’m not against remaking or updating games, of course, but sometimes it’s no replacement for the original, the game we grew up on, the real thing, if you will. If I were to review the original Digger today, of course it would have a myriad of issues that I would have to bring to light. But, back then, it was gaming gold. I’m eternally thankful that Creat Studios added a vintage mode to the new DiggerHD simply because of the memories it brought back to my mind. Sure, it’s a simple game – it still is – but back then it was one of the best games I had ever played and contributed extensively to my love of gaming.