by Adam King

Welcome back, vault fanatics. With Dig Dug the subject of this month's Many Faces Of, I have commercials for two arcade ports for both the Atari 2600 and the 5200: Dig Dug & Pole Position. Both of the original arcade games were at first created by Japanese giant Namco, then licensed to Atari for release in the States, and both games were big hits for Atari. They also did well when they were released for both the 2600 & 5200. The commercials cover both versions.

You can see both of these ads at the Atari Historical Society (

Dig Dug
Up first is the Dug Dug ad. Here we find people in a living room, falling through holes in the floor that suddenly appear. Maybe Dig Dug is responsible.

"It isn't termites, it isn't mice, it's Atari's Dig Dug, the earth-shattering arcade game. Dig Dug digs his own mazes, he digs for balloon men, he digs for dragons, and now he's digging his way into homes everywhere. Dig Dug. It's under this world."

"You think I should call the Orkin man?"

"Honey, are you down there?"

"Whoa, the house is falling."

This game brings down the house.

Pole Position
Commercial No. 2 is for Pole Position. Actually Midway had the option to release this for Namco first, but they passed on it and chose Mappy instead, and Atari received the right. I bet they looked stupid when arcade gamers passed on their machine for Atari's racer.

Anyway, this 90-second epic features a family of preppies who get treated to a taste of what Pole Position is about. We first see them on a casual drive when a loud voice shouts out, "Hey! You look like a big jerk!" The man just replies, "Well, I am a corporate executive." and his wife adds, 'He stops exciting things from happening.
The voice then asks, "So whatcha doin'?" When the man answers, "Muffy, Buffy, Biff Jr. and I are going on our Sunday drive", the voice says, "Oh no you're not, your gonna play POLE POSITION!"

Just like that a giant hand picks up their car and drops then into several F1 racing cars that just happen to be passing under them. The rest of the ad becomes a music video, showing several scenes of crashes and explosions as the family races among them, all with gameplay clips scatter throughout. By the ad's end, the family has pretty much become shells of their former selves.

"Pole Position by Atari. It'll bust your crank, and leave skidmarks on your soul."

"Duh, I'm a preppie."

"It's Honey I Shrunk The Kids 3!"

"Good thing we landed in these cars that happen to be passing under us."

This is why we have SPEED LIMITS!

"This is better than some ol' Sunday drive"

Didn't we see this scene in The Phantom Menace?

Be sure you can handle it... these guys though they could. Sunday drive indeed.

Don't forget, you still have time to send me what you think are the best classic gaming commercials of all time. I will be accepting votes until November 30th, and I'll post the top 20 commercials in the next issue.

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