An interesting story originally conceived as a movie, which due to its ambition, ended up on our computers.
In the midst of the Pentium Pro processor era, I had my first experience with a PC game. Until that moment, consoles were my connecting thread with gaming.
With the computer set up within the scope of my budget, The Dig came as a courtesy.
The Lucas Arts seal that accompanied the packaging, somehow predicted that, at least, the product had been developed with certain technical quality standards.
In 1989, Steven Spielberg was working full time for NBC developing Amazing Stories, a science fiction show of the time. It was during that creative process that Spielberg came to mind an ambitious story about an archaeological dig on an alien planet.
Realizing that turn his idea into a television show or movie was impossible, given that he did not have the budget or the necessary technology at that time, he decided not to waste the shot and put his idea in the freezer.
The fate of this kind of Indiana Jones from space was not decided yet. A meeting between Spielberg, his inseparable partner George Lucas, Ron Gilbert, and Noah Falstein paved the way for the execution of this idea, which initially had great potential. They would make a video game of it.
The development of The Dig was not easy and the story, as well as the characters, underwent modifications throughout the process although the central axis, conceived by Spielberg, remained intact: Some archaeologists who discover the remains of an ancient alien civilization on a planet that they explore and then, under the influence of what they find there, they turn against each other.
Attila, a huge asteroid detected with a radio telescope is heading for Earth. The governments of the world devise a plan to deflect the stone from its course with a series of nuclear explosions.
Three brave astronauts are chosen to hunt down Attila: Commander Boston Low, journalist Maggie Robbins, and scientist Ludger Brink.
Robbins is competitive and combative. Brink has a huge ego and Low is pragmatic and more analytical than his colleagues. From the first moment you feel the clash of personalities, you can feel the tension that worsens as the story progresses and their situation becomes more complex. The sarcastic dialogues and the excellent voice acting work is one of the strongest aspects of the game.
The asteroid is not like that, it turns out that it is an alien ship that transports Low and his team to another planet, several light-years from Earth. So solving the equation for going home is what the game is all about.
The story, the atmosphere, the characters, and not the puzzles are what make The Dig worth playing. The latter are somewhat lazy and in some cases confusing, but despite that, it cannot be denied that the game grabs you from beginning to end to the point that the desire to find out what happened, what happens, and what will happen, is not separated from you.
25 years have passed since that first time. I have played The Dig again and today I appreciate how well it was achieved. It is rightly considered a cult game that every gamer should play at least once, just like Full Throttle, also out of the Lucas Arts quarry.
Good thing it wasn’t a movie. It was a video game. Thanks Steven and George.