Dingo is a 1983 arcade game created by Ashby Computers and Graphics Ltd. (A.C.G.) and manufactured by Jaleco.
For those who don’t know: A.C.G. is the name of the company who would later develop and publish a series of classic games under the Ultimate Play the Game banner, including Jet Pac, Atic Atac, Sabre Wulf and Knight Lore (among others). Dingo is one of their first ever video games.
The basic aim of Dingo is that you play as Big Ted – a teddy bear who must collect fruit inside a maze-like melon field while at the same time avoiding the four dingos who are trying to catch him. You can throw fruit to stun the dingos but once you’ve thrown some you then have to pick up more before you can throw again. The dingos will also throw fruit at you but only horizontally; you can throw fruit vertically too.
In spite of this vertical fruit-throwing advantage that you have, Dingo is still an extremely challenging game. The dingos move quickly and erratically and will easily catch you unless you dodge and weave to avoid them. They also speed up as the levels increase.
Dingo is very repetitive and the maze doesn’t seem to change at all which means that boredom can set in quite easily.
Looking at the game objectively it must be a really small piece of code running it, because it’s so damn simple. There’s a jolly but maddening rinky-dink tune that plays constantly (except when you die, and between games), and it does remind me a little of Ultimate‘s early 16K Spectrum games. The graphics for the grass also reminds me of Sabre Wulf. But other than that, there’s really not much else to say about Dingo. It’s a rare early British arcade game from game design geniuses who had yet to hit their stride. It showed promise, but isn’t what I’d call a classic. In fact, I don’t remember seeing Dingo in arcades at all as a kid, and I used to spend a lot of time in them and used to look at all the games. Maybe I didn’t really notice it because I thought that it was just a stupid kid’s game…