The Dig remains one of my favorite adventure games. I was 12 when it came out, and we didn’t have walkthroughs or the internet in my house. I remember having to really struggle through trial and error to solve some of the puzzles. But is was worth it.
Maybe I have always been a sucker for a good science fiction story, but the idea of exploring an alien world was totally fascinating to me. Unlocking and exploring new areas was a reward in itself, rather than simply trying to move the story along.
Some people criticize The Dig for having puzzles that are too hard. I beg to differ. Not only did I beat this game at 12, but the story demands challenging puzzles. If you expect the machines on a long-dead, alien world to simply work according to obvious logic, you are not being true to the game’s premise. Even if the aliens designed the machines to be easy to use for other species (which one of the characters comments on), you still have to expect some mind-bending to figure out what they intended for you to do. The puzzles in The Dig felt totally organic to me, and served the story very well.
Additionally, the challenge provided great satisfaction each time I was able to solve a puzzle. This is something I find lacking in modern adventure games. They have become more focused on story-telling than on game play. In some ways this is good. It also makes sense in a world where internet walkthroughs are a Google search away. However, I miss the days when all you had were your wits… and perseverance.
I still revisit The Dig every few years. Obviously, the sense of discovery and challenge are absent on replay, but it is still a beautifully realized world, and brings back fond memories. It is an absolute must for fans of the genre.
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Time Played: Over 20 hours