Before we end 2023, I wanted to take this opportunity to look at an arcade developer who are moving up from an indie developer to bigger player in the amusement business. I spoke with Dan Fessler, founder of DSM Arcade and we’ve got some information on what his plans are going into 2024. DSM is the airport code and general abbreviation for Des Moine, Iowa, where Dan is located.
DSM Arcade – Switch ‘N’ Shoot
The company got their start in January 2018, bringing the single-player indie game Switch ‘N’ Shoot to market in May of that year. They then released the super-affordable mini cabaret version in 2020. In case you missed this one, it is a single-button shoot ’em up where every time you push the button to fire, your spaceship changes direction. That’s the only control – no joystick – so you have to manage both firing and dodging in this way.
Note that the Minis are no longer available but the larger uprights are; They retail for $4,999, but pricing may vary between distributors who carry DSM.
DSM Arcade – Nidhogg II
Their second game was Nidhogg II, the popular swashbuckling/swordfighting indie game of the same name. Released in August of last year, this came in at a higher, but still better than your average, price for interested operators to grab. N2 features a standard set of joystick/button controls and supports up to two players. MSRP on these cabinets are $5,999 although as mentioned above, that might vary:
There are some updates to share about this game that both potential and existing owners of the game might be interested to know:
- Software Updates:
- There is a massive increase in AI difficulty, providing a deeper challenge to the single player experience.
- 3 minute match timer to provide players and operators with a more focused gameplay experience.
- Winner-Stays-On option, rewarding the match winner with a free round.
- 2nd Model of Nidhogg II Cabinet:
- Improved vinyl print with more vibrant color
- New coin door with cutout for bill acceptor/electronic payment
Not that with a new model, pricing remains the same, it is just improving upon the 1st.
DSM Arcade – The Future
Operators are seeing “an average ROI of 16-20 months” on both of the games mentioned above, with over 40 units of both having been produced.
For those curious about what is next, DSM has established themselves with Fun Company, a very well known name in our business. Ergo, all of DSM’s cabinets are coming out of the FC factory in Wisconsin. Interested distributors can obtain pricing through FC; Interested parties can also purchase games straight from DSM’s website.
So with two games under their belt and a relationship going with a production facility, what’s next?
The answer is: Perfect Pour. This is a concept by Dan @ DSM, who was witnessing a busy bartender work his craft one night. Recalling Midway’s old Tapper concept, it dawned on him that there was another way to gamify that concept, and the idea for Perfect Pour was born. I could see being an excellent alternative to the rare, and 40 year old, Tapper. It is also another made-for-bar games, something that is still strangely rare, despite how many bars in the US feature arcade games in their facility.
Below is an Instagram video of how it works; It is scheduled to launch in Fall 2024. Pricing hasn’t been finalized yet but I wouldn’t expect it to be outside of the realm where SNS & Nidhogg land.
What do you think about DSM Arcade and their output so far? Which game appeals to you the most? Stay tuned for more on them in the coming year!