VOL.8 NO.3 (May 2005)

Artists On Their Childhood Gaming Obsessions

Luke Chueh : Dig - Dug

When I think of 80's era video games, the first thing that comes to mind is the soon to be extinct quarter arcade game booth. This then takes be back to the video arcades I used to spend hours and hours in at the mall. But an even more so, I'm reminded of the video game areas of all the pizza parlors I grew up with. Games like Berzerker. Defender, Tempest, Q-Bert, Zaxxon, Spy Hunter, Elevator Action, Yie Ar Kung Fu, and of course, Dig Dug, kept me from bugging my parents (unless I was out of quarters) while we waited for dinner. Looking back, I'm not sure if the reason why I actually liked going out to pizzerias was because of the pizza, or the video games. More often than not, I'd have to say that it was the games.

The reason why I chose Dig Dug as the subject for my painting isn't because the game had some sort of "profound" effect on me. Just recently, the game had come up, and it was just then did I realized that the game featured an intriguingly disturbing element. If you recall, the game takes place underground, and your goal is to run around, drill tunnels, and destroy all the fire breathing lizards and orange ball-like creatures in each level before they kill you. The disturbing element can be found in the method you use to destroy them. Armed with a bicycle pump, you simply shoot its nozzle into your foe and pump them full of air until they explode. When you actually play the game, its chunky graphics really don't make what's going on evident, but if you take the time to think about it, I think we can all agree that being inflated till you explode would be terribly unpleasant.