Since the release of Digger I have had many wonderful emails from Digger fans. Here are some of the best.
Jack Lingwood from
South Africa wrote:
It had lots of games including, of course, Digger. All the kids were playing it and getting high scores. The trouble started when my father discovered the game. He was getting old and senile and couldn't beat us. His decrepid reflexes were only honed enough to operate a walker, maybe. Anyhow, he wanted to teach us a lesson. He said that if you want to get ahead you must apply the 'lever of time'. So guess what?
He started playing Digger incessantly. Night and day. Day and night. Even my mother, with cataracts in both eyes and hands the size of bear claws was hooked. My father kept at it month after month. He always tried to match our scores. But at first he couldn't do it. He started playing during the evenings and sometimes until the birds started chirping outside. We were nine kids and so I had to sleep in the lounge at that time. The computer was in the lounge. I think I know the William Tell Overture (the sound track for Digger) pretty well by now. My father played and played until he beat all our scores. We lost interest because to beat his scores would require hours for just one game. After hearing that demonic tune in my dreams for many months I was totally cured of wanting to compete with my father.
He used to wake up by screaming "DIE". I thought he was on my case but I was relieved to discover that he was killing the bug eyed monsters. He thought they were looking directly at him. I'm not quite sure, but I think he was taking that game a wee bit too seriously.
Once when I was giving him cheek while he was playing Digger, he died and became so upset that he snapped the keyboard in half because I had ruined his latest "record score".
Another time my mother, who is not a petite lady by anyone's estimation was so addicted to the game that she punched me right off my chair in order to access the keyboard. I would have been hurt if I wasn't laughing so much.
Much to our regret, my mother, in her overzealous monopolizing of the keyboard ripped it out of its socket. The entire 5 pin DIN connect separated from the motherboard. By that time I had another computer a 486 DX2 (100 Mhz - Wow !). When I took the XT for repairs I found that the cost of repairs would be greater than the cost of a newer mother board. So that was the end of our Digger.
To this day my father still sulks and mopes about how I was "jealous" and deleted Digger. He isn't very tech savvy and doesn't understand that the original didn't run correctly on the 386, 486, etc.
Today I was filled with great nostalgia when I stumbled across www.digger.org and found that Digger is not dead. From reading the stories I finally realise that I am not alone. It was cathartic to read about other people's addictive experiences with the game. I'm considering giving my father a copy of this newer game. It would ease him gently into his old age.
Loong from Malaysia
We played Digger for almost a year, until one day when I got frustrated because I couldn't surpass my brother's high score and his corkiness, I ended up releasing the tension on the keyboard and the most miraculous thing happened. There was a descending noise with a fireball going across the screen, and of all things, Digger went blind!!! Everyone in the room just went quiet in awe. There was actually a fire button! And for almost a year, we'd been playing Digger just meandering around. It was the biggest discovery we've ever made. It was something that nobody anticipated. But I must say, playing Digger was never the same after that. The discovery kinda killed the Digger that we had in mind... Until we got a copy of Rollo And The Brush Brothers years later! But that's another story.
from the USA wrote:
We had a very large house and while some of our friends were building their home they stayed with us. Barb and Leonard (their names) quickly fell in love with Digger. Barb was a nurse, Leonard a dry-waller -- both became Digger addicts. I remember the jeolousy I felt when Barb beat my high score. But it soon fell again, as I was a kid with more time.
Leonard stayed home to rest one day as the rest of us went to church. Around noon when we returned, I caught Leonard playing digger -- a no-no on the Sabbath. But he explained that he wasn't playing Digger, he was playing "Gideon" (a Bible character who took on large numbers of warriors and won) which made it okay to play on the Sabbath. Ever after the game wasn't name Digger, we called it "Gideon".
Stephan from South
I survived the shock, but hey, if there's anyone out there to add just one more digit to the score list, I'll be grateful. I downloaded the game last night and am already back into the mid-seventies. Small way to go to my next burial.
Aage Konstantin of
The best email I ever received was from Rob Alvey of New York - he sent me this article he wrote, which was published in the Discover section of Litmor Publications local weekly community newspaper, The Garden City News, in December 1999.
Santadad.com By Rob
It was just as surprising to see that I had written a real letter! Even if it was 'Charlie Brown' style writing with smudges and cross outs, I had used a real pen, paper, a genuine 3 Cent stamp, and even a real envelope. (The envelope was one my Dad had taken home from his job, but the address under the corporate logo had been crossed out and rewritten with our home address in Garden City, Long Island.) I thought, "When was the last time you received a real letter?" Nowadays, our fast paced lives have no time for simple letter writing. We try to communicate via fax, phone, and e:mail. And 'post-its' in school lunch boxes. Somehow, we're so busy communicating that we never get the message across.
I blame computers. I have one in my office but have historically been resistant to getting one at home. The price was always well beyond what my meager salary could afford. If they really needed some computer help, I could use my office computer. Besides, I didn't want my daughters on chat rooms or wasting their time playing computer games. If they needed some information, they could go to the library or ask Mommy -- the human reference encyclopedia and all knowing goddess of mommyhood. The girls refer to her as "Mommy Brittanica" -- the unabridged version. The only time she was stumped was when my daughter Erin once commented, "Just how stupid is Daddy, anyway?" Suzie replied she couldn't find the appropriate reference point.
I wasn't proud we didn't have a home computer, but life had its financial limits. Several years ago, I mentioned this fact to my pastor's wife, Chris. It turned out Chris was a real computer buff and decided I needed an education in 20th Century technology. She showed up at our house with a small computer for us to 'borrow'. Chris asked me if I knew 'DOS'? When I answered, "Dos? It is German? Was is Dos? Mochten Sie eine tasse Koffe trinken?", she said we'd be better off with 'Windows'.
I was dumbfounded, but before I could politely decline and tell her I already had windows as well as storm doors, my daughters all pleaded "A computer!!! Can we keep it? Wow! Please, please, please??." It was as if a stray puppy had suddenly appeared on our doorstep. How could I resist their pleas? And so, little by little, life changed.
The little '286' model had very basic word processing (Word Perfect 0.5) and rudimentary spreadsheet software (Lotus 0.9+) as well as several simple games - Pack Man, Defender, Space Invaders, and Digger. We named it "Big Blue". I thought the girls would spend considerable time learning how to type or prepare a spreadsheet, but it turned out they had already mastered keyboarding -- in elementary school. In a short time, Alexis had already prepared a fully integrated and cross referenced spreadsheet of her entire My Little Pony collection and Erin had already calculated how much my old coin collection would be worth when she inherited it. K.C., still pre-school but already starting to read, was up to Level 7 on Digger and climbing! Digger, a simple computer game where a character chomps through tunnels to find diamonds and sacks of coins, was our passion. The background music was "The Chicken Dance" and we filled all the top 200 score historic record list within a few months. KC, Erin, and I became adept at the mysteries of "Digger". It was especially gratifying for KC that she could consistently beat her oldest sister in a game of Digger (and Erin didn't mind).
A few years later, it dawned on me that our little "Big Blue" 286 computer was on its last legs. We couldn't even buy the old style floppy discs anymore, and most of the ones we had were too warped to use. Fortunately, my father-in-law had just inherited a bigger machine from a defunct company he had represented. It was a whopping "386" and could use the new smaller discs. Unfortunately, when we transferred all of the data from "Big Blue", Digger became corrupted and wouldn't work. The screen would come up and then freeze. The Chicken Dance soundtrack sounded like a funeral dirge. Digger was dead, and the 386 killed it. We were devastated and it took the magic out of our relationship with the 386. We wouldn't even name it.
Later, we found out the 386 computer was not only a Digger killer, it was frustratingly slow. It took 12 minutes to boot up and you could only type about 8 words a minute before the screen froze. I began calling it lots of names, but it merely sneered at me, burped, and took its sweet time. At least I still had my "real" computer at work. It had every software capability (but didn't have Digger.) As time went on, I more and more frequently had to bring my daughters homework reports to work, reformat them and print them out. Eventually, both Erin and Alexis stopped talking to me. They were upset if I edited any of their work - which would cause them to get lower grades.....
For the next Christmas, I decided to try and replace the Digger game. I went to several stores, but no Digger. It turned out it was no longer even manufactured. It had been replaced by newer, more modern and complex exciting (blast and kill) strategy games nearly ten years earlier! One store owner could sense my disappointment and suggested I try to obtain a copy through a "freeware" or "shareware" service on the Internet. I did many Internet searches, but it seems Digger didn't have the world wide popularity our household thought it would. I occasionally found references to 'Digger' on computer chat rooms where the writers were moaning that they couldn't find a working copy, and how much fun it used to be to play the simple game. Occasionally, someone reported a rumor that they heard someone was trying to rewrite an updated version, but no one ever really knew who or where. Then, fate lead me to a new world - E-BAY!! This site is actually the world's largest auction flea market.
Anything you can possibly spell will be found for sale at any time. In anxious anticipation, I tried an E-BAY search for "Digger". The response was short, "No Listing, Please Try Again". Rats, no listing for the elusive, long lost Digger.
I thought that maybe it was the E-BAY system that wasn't working properly. As a test, I tried a search for "Johnson Brothers Heritage", our dinnerware pattern that had been discontinued several years ago. To my surprise, seven items were currently for sale! Most had photographs of the dish, and all of them looked better than the chipped and cracked, discolored set we had been using for the past 20 years. Suzie and I never had the money to replace the set. I bid on a few different ones, and a few days later, I was notified my "bids" had been accepted and I was now the "proud" owner of 3 butter dishes, a cup, and salad bowl. I had them mailed to my office, then carried them home and slipped them into our stack of dishes. My wife, Suzie, never noticed or commented, so a plan was hatched.
Over then next few months, I occasionally checked the E-BAY web site and inexpensively purchased several more pieces of the dinnerware. Suzie never noticed that our plates were mysteriously breeding in the cabinet, and our chipped and cracked dishes were gradually healing themselves. Our old set was looking better and better. It was fun playing secret "Santadad" and giving her these unnoticed gifts. I let the girls in on the secret, and told them to see how long it took for Mommy to notice. Suzie hates to cook, and is known for serving lunch and dinner on paper plates. By the time it actually dawned on Suzie that we didn't always have 4 large serving bowls, our dinnerware service had grown to 22 full place settings, with 32 assorted serving pieces and 2 butter dishes. I remember the day she noticed very well. It was the same day she dropped off several boxes of all of the Johnson Brothers Heritage dinnerware to the Salvation Army. She told the clerk she was tired of looking at it all those years, but at least it seemed indestructible. We now eat off paper plates. She wonders why I don't talk much anymore. I've been in therapy.
I switched from Johnson Brothers to searching for turn-of-the-century Heckers' Flour advertising cards, My Little Ponies, and Kermit the Frog neckties. They are always good for anytime, anyplace, holiday gifts for either Suzie (Heckers'), the girls (My Little Ponies), or me (Kermit). "Santadad" has a special closet where these gifts are carefully hidden. "Santadad" is always ready with the perfect gift especially for ME! Whenever one of my children comes up to me and asks what I'd like for Christmas or Father's Day, I simply reach in the closet and pull out a Kermit the Frog necktie or frog watch and say, "You want to make your Daddy happy? Give this to me, it's exactly what I'd like." So far I haven't had any complaints. It is a better system than my neighbor, Tom, used. His young son came up to him and asked what he'd like for Christmas. Tom asked how much his son was planning on spending, and his son said, "Oh, about $10.00"
"Fine", Tom said. "I'd simply like a nice, crisp $10 bill."
"OK", his son replied, "Can I borrow $10.00?"
I'll stick with my own system. It saves last minute shopping trips and I can spread out purchases throughout the year. The year flew by and I again had my computer at work upgraded by the company. It now could talk with me and connected me via e:mail automatically to everyone in the universe. I tried ignoring most of these messages. When the computer began giving me urgent and loud reminders I wasn't answering my 3,000 e:mail messages per day, I turned its volume control to mute, wishing I could also do this at home. As the next Christmas approached, I tried once more to find Digger through a computer search. One reply message read that a Ukranian computer buff had reworked the classic Digger program so it could operate on the new high speed computers. Digger lives? I, at long last, decided it was time to get a new home computer after all. I went to Chris and asked her if she had any suggestions. Chris advised me to pray. It works for her husband. She then asked how much I was willing to spend on a new computer and I casually offered "about" $500. Chris said that for $500, I could certainly buy a good 'Barbie' or 'Pokemon' computer, either of which would still be faster and more powerful than our troublesome '386' dinosaur.
Eventually, we budgeted an amount only twice as high as what I paid for my first car twenty years earlier. Actually I already had a head start saving. Each year, our family saves all the money we find in a special Found Money Bank. On January 1, we open the bank and count all the coins. Usually, the girls and I split the findings (averaging over $30 per year!). Last year, the girls decided to keep all the money together for our new computer. I had already saved $38.52. It turns out this year was going to be an even better haul for the Found Money Bank, primarily due to K.C.
K.C. was on a quest to pick up every lost penny on Long Island. After school, she and her friend Kristen often go with Mommy to 7-11 to buy milk. (This used to be my job, but Suzie fired me after observing I was going to 7-11 8 times a day for milk and always only coming home with just a pint at a time. It was my way of getting out of the house whenever she started to ask me to do something.) K.C. and Kristen would then dive under the counters to collect lost change, usually coming up with at least 8 pennies and a dime (as well as assorted bits of beef jerky and used gum.) My wife is a stickler for 'fairness', and if one of the girls found more than the other, she would make up the difference from her own change purse to keep things equal. So much for altruism. When K.C. and Kristen figured this out, they secretly teamed up where one child would sneak all her coins to the other so that Mommy would have to give them the maximum amount possible. The girls were easily collecting an extra dollar a week with this subterfuge.
On top of this, the girls jointly agreed that this year, none of them wanted any individual gifts for Christmas. Daddy was told to apply all the gift funds to a good family computer. Erin was most insistent. It seemed that her cousin Kate no longer called her on the phone. Worse, Kate was now spending time "Chat rooming" with one of Erin's friends via computer. Since we had no "real computer", Erin was fast losing friends. "Santadad" came through with a Christmas promise to get a "real" computer by the close of the Millennium. After much shopping, we finally had bought and set up a decent home computer system and printer. It was one Chris promised me wouldn't be obsolete for at least 7 minutes after we bought it. For Christmas, my wife was finally able to view the digital camera photos of my nephew's wedding from the previous year. (The same one's I'd already e:mailed several months earlier to all our relatives from my office computer.) The Christmas stockings were rather empty (except for mine which was stuffed with 6 different Kermit the Frog neckties), but the girls were all happy. There was, however, a small bump in K.C.'s stocking. She unwrapped a plain computer disc and gave me a puzzled look.
"Put it into the computer, Princess, then press 'Enter.'" K.C. did, and suddenly the screen lit up with a series of tunnels and the music of The Chicken Dance. Digger was back!
"Thanks, Daddy. This is the best Christmas ever. Want to play?"
"Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good byte!"
If you have a good story about Digger, please email me.