Dookey Dash: An Arcade Game by Yuga Labs that Make Great Gains with Minimal Investments
March 3rd, 2023

1. Do you really understand Dookey Dash?

1.1 A simple game

This is a mini game where there is only one thing players need to do: get the highest score possible. The rules are as follows:

(1) Maneuver the flying machine in the sewers to avoid obstacles, the longer you survive the more points you get.

(2) During the flight, collect different types of debris and destroy obstacles to score more points.

Dookey Dash gaming interface.
Dookey Dash gaming interface.

1.2 Impressive numbers

In contrast to it's incredibly simple gameplay mechanics, Dookey Dash has produced some pretty impressive numbers in just three weeks.

25,525 Sewer Pass holders have played the game 7,487,850 times, and each player has spent an average of 27.7 hours on this "mini-game" totalling 706,436 hours. That's the equivalent of 80.64 years. It's worth noting that most of these figures were contributed by NFT users who are non-professional gamers.

Dookeydashboard (Source: @m1kr
Dookeydashboard (Source: @m1kr

In addition to game data, Sewer Pass, which is the entry ticket for Dookey Dash, has also achieved a good result in the NFT market seeing its price rise to a peak of 2.89 ETH after release, and the cumulative trading volume reaching 55.39k ETH, which made the market value of Sewer Pass NFT exceed $100 million in a short time. Many Flippers have also profited from this, as shown in the profit leaderboard below.

Sewer Pass dashboard. (Source:
Sewer Pass dashboard. (Source:

1.3 Storytelling tactics

Of course, one cannot talk about Dookey Dash without mentioning Yuga Labs, the blue-chip project creator behind it. Through the marketing of Dookey Dash, Yuga Labs once again showed us how they can tell the story of a NFT project in a mysterious yet vivid way.

The steps are as follows.

1.First, tweet vague texts, concept drawings and other materials to create suspense and leave room for community discussion in order to stimulate people's curiosity.

2.Release a short video about Jimmy the monkey to tell the background of the story, explain the answer to the previous suspense, and once again raise people's appetite with the use of rewards and prizes.

3.Launching the game. The game connects the dots of suspense and details together and assembles a complete framework that allows people to form a complete story chain.

This technique of re-telling the "story of storytelling" is called "preamplification," which allows users to reinforce their memory by continuously nesting stories.

When revealing the story to the users, the front-to-back approach is used to leave suspense again. At the same time, a lot of nonsensical plots were introduced, such as Jimmy the monkey swallowing the key of the mysterious metal box by mistake, and the goal of players to pull out the key stuck in the monkey's butt. An interesting plot like this gives a deeply immersive experience to players and was employed by Otherside as well, where the plot described the monkeys arrival by mistakenly drinking a drink. Therefore, Dookey Dash has successfully created the same expectations of NFT players as Otherside.

1.4 Another arrangement underway?

Putting aside the data and speculative nature, Dookey Dash seems to be a reasonable case of combining NFT and games at this stage — a case that is both odd and irrefutable. Compared to Otherside's huge open-world game modeling, complicated game mechanics and the design of the token economy system that has been discussed behind the scenes, Dookey Dash, also under Yuga Labs, appears particularly "mini."

Thus, this has inevitably led us into guessing if the purpose of Yuga Labs is to capture the mini-game market of NFT with Dookey Dash. However, what could possibly be the magic weapon for NFT games to compete with other Web3 game companies as the latter continues to step up their metaverse game?

2. The addictive arcade

2.1 Introducing arcade games

Many players will have two feelings after experiencing Dookey Dash: simple and addictive. This feeling is not only the impact brought by NFT, but also derived from the thrill of arcade games, and now the addition of NFT is playing a catalytic role in the bigger picture.

Roadside arcade machines.
Roadside arcade machines.

From the 1970s to the 1990s, arcade games occupied most of the leisure time of young people in developed countries, led by the United States, and were characterized by level-based games and fighting games. In order to start a game, players are required to spend a certain amount of coins, and when a character's life is depleted, the player generally has 10 seconds to decide whether or not to use the coins to renew his life.

2.2 Characteristics of arcade games

The background and other elements of arcade games have rendered it many characteristics, such as:


To satisfy a wide variety of players, arcade games are generally round-based or have fixed levels where players can start and stop at any time without a linear gaming experience.


In order to make distributors profitable, arcade game designers set time, points, and other limits in the game, which also intensify players' experience with a sense of tension.


Players will gradually master the game skills in the process of continuously experiencing the arcade game, and as the difficulty of the game level increases, the players' operational proficiency will also increase.


Arcade games are full of competition elements such as battling, leaderboards, and round levels, which create a tense and exciting competitive environment for players.

3. The underlying similarities and differences between NFT and arcade game

Through the initial introduction of arcade games above, we can already see some features that are compatible with NFTs, such as capturing the user's heart and attracting the initial users in a short time through a simple game design and drawing style. Arcade games all carry a strong design style: whether it is Pac-Man, which was popular in Europe and America in the early generation, or The King of Fighters and Alloy Slug, which were produced by SNK in Japan in the late 90s. These distinctive character designs have almost all become popular icons.

Classic styles of arcade games.
Classic styles of arcade games.

3.1 Personality creates attraction

This is also heavily applied in the NFT field: every successful blue chip NFT project pays special attention to the construction of IP and deliberately creates a unique and distinctive drawing style from the very beginning. Other than Bored Ape Yacht Club and Mutant Ape Yacht Club, a host of other NFT projects like Doodles, CLONE X, Moonbirds, etc. have come out with their own style concepts.

The cross-validation of two things: NFTs and arcade games, makes it hard for us not to admit that both the old players of the last century and Gen Z players today have their own innate aesthetic preferences, and few people like standard and modest products when it comes to products in the entertainment field.

3.2 Loyalty and meaningfulness

The reason arcade games are evergreen is not only because of its style, but rather growth. When playing Tetris, you only adhere to one single game rule: make the cubes disappear. This rule lets you become extremely involved and addicted to the game, because by tirelessly trying and improving your game skills, it gives you a sense of growth and achievement, which satisfies the highest psychological needs of users and often makes them the most loyal defenders of the game.

The loyalty of NFT users is somewhat different from that of arcade users. The loyalty of the majority of NFT users lies in a common belief, which is mostly based on the premise that "the future will increase in value." The connection between users and NFTs is more like a transactional relationship bound by "buying and selling the right to own goods," and there is no deep link through the "growth mechanism." In other words, the reason why users are loyal to the community is that they are actually loyal to the goods they paid for.

The fan economy caused by different levels of user loyalty varies greatly, as an example, many players are very willing to buy merchandise purely for their own entertainment. However, NFT merchandise is rarely purchased, and if they do, it is because NFT holders want to show it off to others. This is the difference in consumer demand brought about by the difference in loyalty. (No further expansion here.)

Merchandise of arcade games and NFTs.
Merchandise of arcade games and NFTs.

If we go deeper, arcade players are constantly challenged to pursue a "sense of meaning," or at least a sense of meaning of the game characters they control for ten minutes of their lives. During the process, emotional links are established and affect the player's emotions, attitudes and even values, which is also the fundamental reason why the user's stickiness is so high.

Of course, Dookey Dash is not as good as legendary arcade games, which allow users to continuously build emotional links and bring them growth, but in the context of the current state of the Web3 industry, we are still able to get some interesting insights.

4. How to make Web3 marketing addictive

From Dookey Dash's dashboard above, we can see how long a single user spent playing the game. This is an enviable achievement for any Web3 project. This in-game data is very much related to the mechanism of arcade games, and Dookey Dash's mini-game "Find the Key in the Sewer" is also like an arcade game. By repeating the game a lot, people become skilled and addicted, so we designed an "addictive" Web3 marketing approach based on its characteristics.

4.1 Simple and repetitive

People don't like to read long texts or complex interactions. If you can't avoid marketing with text, make sure that the content expressed is as simple as possible. Certainly, text is still not simple enough, so try to use images and videos to tell relatively complex stories — a technique that Yuga Labs uses repeatedly.

Simple and repetitive interaction mechanisms are often addictive, and like Dookey Dash's sewer game where players can restart the game without limit if they die in the game. You’ll be able to find an arcade game mechanism that fits your brand well.

4.2 A distinctive style

This is why we do not advocate marketing with text. In terms of expressing the style of the brand, sound and images are especially important to form a distinctive style. This explains why NFT developing teams that are good at using images for marketing usually reap good traffic. No one likes modest products when it comes to entertainment-related spendings, and this is especially true in the case of Web3.

NFTs themselves are often visual, and most NFT users still prefer visually oriented productions. So, if you want to attract NFT users, you have to give them a thrill from the visual aspect. This is also the reason why distinct and unique styles like pixel style, retro style, and anime style are able to attract peoples’s attention.

4.3 Learning from other gaming mechanics

We can also follow the example of arcade games and design a participation mechanism that allows for improvement with a little effort. This can be in the form of competition, rivalry, partnership, etc., and can be categorized according to user preferences:

  • Social: role-playing, managing, cooperating, operating

  • Exploratory: coloring, random, building, creating

  • Confrontation: competition, parkour, combat, survival

  • Nurturing: growth, collecting, swapping, narratives

In addition to types, it is also encouraged to draw on the “difficulty increment mechanism” of arcade games. The secret to making users addicted is that, they get a sense of accomplishment as they push through challenges. Here are a few principles for reference:

  1. Get the user into the role through specific steps and give the character a meaning, such as awarding a medal.

  2. Make the difficulty of the task predictable so that the user feels assured. For example, a linearly increasing difficulty level.

  3. As the difficulty increases, so should the rewards. By ensuring that each part is fresh and suspenseful to the user, their interest will be constantly stimulated.

4.4 Building a belief system

1.Entering the mind

The digital marketing prevalent on the mobile Internet is "inducing," where users are attracted by various marketing methods to participate in click interactions, which of course will make the data look good on paper, but it does not have a profound impact on the user's mental level.

Through gamified marketing, this problem can be solved very well. The purpose of giving the user a "character" in the above is to immerse the user in the mission of the game, which will create a desire for active exploration rather than resistance. This is crucial in opening the door to the Web3 user's mind, as well as facilitating the user’s acceptance of future stories.

2.Creating a common experience

You can design a few simple tasks using the mechanism described above to initially give users a common experience, a common topic, and a sense of community. Then, create a "group task" for this group of users, where putting in effort is the key to task completion. These two steps bring the user-project and user-user relationship together, as we have seen many times in Web3 projects and in Dookey Dash as well.

5.Expectations and concerns about NFT arcade games

5.1 Major games and mini games

While millions of metaverse games are being built, is it necessary to have a mini but sophisticated Web3 arcade game?

The answer is: yes, of course. Leading and successful NFT game models must go through the validation of the mechanics of mini games first. Furthermore, due to the low development difficulty of Web3 arcade games, it is easier to integrate the mechanics and gameplay designs with NFTs in a bold way. From an investment point of view, the trial-and-error cost is small in comparison with the high payout, which makes it an ideal choice for both users and studios.

Secondly, even in large MMORPGs, mini games are very much needed. This is especially true in Web3, which promotes decentralized social interaction. Users must be given tasks to stay engaged. After all, who would refuse to play a hand of Quintessence in The Witcher 3?

Various mini games in the open world. (GTA5, FF14)
Various mini games in the open world. (GTA5, FF14)

Thus, we also wonder if Dookey Dash might appear in Otherside's open world in another form, and become a collection of mini arcade games.

This way, Yuga Labs not only satisfies users’ demand for NFT entertainment games in the midst of a long development cycle for the large-scale metaverse, but also captures users' minds in advance with the concept of “small but fast," just like the water droplets launched before the Trisolaran Interstellar Fleet in The Three-Body Problem.

5.2 The intermediate state of Web3 games

The fast food culture characterized by "short development period, cheap prices, and quick result" is spreading more and more widely, and NFT arcade games will face the same problem as well. From the game production level, the content presentation of arcade games is far less complete and rich than major games. Moreover, the spiritual values expressed will be lacking in depth. As an intermediate state of Web3 games, we are likely to witness a gradual influx of NFT arcade games with more game mechanics than GameFi projects in 2021, yet are more miniature than future RPGs. Looking at the current situation of Web3, although NFT arcade games are far more progressive than "DeFi in game’s clothing,“ it is not easy to achieve the minimum model of "NFT + arcade game," but the project team has strived hard to balance both gaming and DeFi elements. However, the other two most arcade-like elements: game mechanism design and storytelling were overlooked. The result is that the game and NFTs have become too much like props and commodities, and the storytelling and fun of NFTs are very homogeneous. In this regard, only projects like Dookey Dash, which has the branding of Yuga Labs behind it, can balance everything on the plate, while the rest of the developers may face more challenges. From the case of Dookey Dash, we get to peek at some of the trends that may be happening in Web3, and also see the possibility of NFT arcade games being showcased in Web3. At the same time, this also brings inspiration to many project developing companies: perhaps small attempts at arcade games will bring them great results in the NFT space.

(Disclaimer: Please consult with a financial advisor before making any investment decisions. NFTGo Research does not provide any financial advice and the content below are for informational purposes only.)

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