Many nursery rhymes are out of date. "Mary, Mary, quite contrary" for example. This one, however, is easily updated. Look, "Dig Dug, Dig Dug, quite contrary" (no razzing yet, please. Hear me out). "How does your garden grow? With Pookas and Frygars and tunnels and rocks and vegetables all in a row." The poem may not have a lot of literary merit nor will it, probably, win the Nobel Prize but it was fun to write. Not as much fun as this home version of Dig Dug is to play though.

Dig Dug is tremendously enjoyable. In Dig Dug you play the cutest protagonist this side of Q*bert, a tiny guy in a miner's outfit named Dig Dug. Dig Dug's task is an arduous one: he must dig tunnels through the various levels of dirt that fill up the screen in order to make his flower garden at the top of the screen grow (don't look for logic, there isn't any.) In addition he must pick up the vegetables that periodically appear at the middle of the screen, although how this is supposed to help his garden I have yet to discover.

If only this was all that you had to do! Hidden away in pockets of air are troops of monsters which are fatal to the touch. Monsters come in two varieties, Pookas and Frygars. The Pookas are tiny bubble-shaped critters wearing goggles. The Frygars resemble tiny dragons and can shoot out breaths of flame. If you run into any of these monsters you can blow them up with your handy air pump until they pop, or squash them by tunnelling under strategically placed rocks and letting the rocks fall on their heads.

The graphics are every bit as colorful and detailed as on the arcade version. All of the musical themes are very well reproduced and are just as addictive as in the original. An especially good touch was allowing players to start at any level that they want to.

The only problem is with joystick control. Although it seems that you can dig anywhere in the screen, you can actually only dig in several predetermined invisible channels. Since these channels are invisible, you'll often find yourself unable to go in the direction you want, all because you are a millimeter off center. The problem is that in a game like Dig Dug, even the slightest hesitation can mean the difference between life and death.

Aside from this, Dig Dug is marvelous. It stands as a very good arcade-to-home translation and as an excellent game on its own merits.

If you have to choose between eating a veggie and chasing on escaping monster, choose the veggie.