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Once a long time ago, Dig was as powerful as Earthquake, but it took two turns to use, and those using it are now vulnerable to double powered Earthquake. What noticeable reason was there for it to be reduced, as it now appears to be quite useless (note: PERSONAL OPINION)

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"Ask Game Freak" questions are hard to answer, so this might be on the unanswered list for a while.
yeah, I'm all too aware of that and I'm prepared for that, that is why I say 'noticeable reason', citing that there may not be a documented or commonly accepted reason, just that I'm hoping there is more to it than 'Game Freak logic'.
I'm going to guess that because Dig is a TM available quite early on in most games, GF didn't want it to be too powerful so they nerfed it. It's still a strong TM, but not as strong as getting the equivalent of Earthquake after two gyms.

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I'd assumed it's because Dig can be obtained fairly early in most games, which could allow the player to wreck everything in their path unfairly, especially if they have a Pokemon like Nidoking. While this applies to all the games, it is especially true for Fire Red and Leaf Green as the Rocket Grunt gives you it before Vermillion City, essentially meaning a base power 100 move could eat Surge alive, especially when combined with a STAB bonus from someone like Nidoking or Nidoqueen.

Another possible reason could be that they wanted to make Earthquake a more desirable move, as having Dig have a similar base power would mean the player would value Earthquake less when they finally got it. Think if Thundershock did the same damage as Thunderbolt except it took a second turn to use, I think most people would care a whole lot less about Thunderbolt at that point.

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Good point, I didn't consider the in-game aspect. And just simply not giving Dig as a TM wouldn't help, because Diglett's Cave is right around the corner from Surge in R/B Etc.
just seeing that really reminds me how many games there are for kanto! so many kanto games!
plus, the jhoto games have kanto as well!
precisely :)
whenever I look up a kanto location on db......
"Would you like that gen 1, 2, 3 or four mister?"
"uh... one please"
"here you are sir! remember that the pokemon differ greatly between games, usually in tiny ways that no one cares about, so don't forget check which game you're looking at!"
"thissa annoya meesa tossa de death"