Free Play Arcade Opening Second Location in Arlington

Keep Dallas Observer Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

If you're a child of the 1980s or '90s and haven't made a voyage to the Free Play Arcade in Richardson, you are passing up a chance to experience time travel. 

The game room that's tucked away in a strip mall on East Belt Line Road takes you back to the days when you had to put on pants and leave your home to play the most technologically advanced and challenging video games. Flashy '80s lettering decorates the walls and hits from that era are pumped in over the stereo system.

If your reason for not making the trip is that Richardson is inconvenient, we have good news. Free Play Arcade president and CEO Corey Hyden says the company is expanding; in December he plans to open a second location on East South Street in Arlington, which means that more people will be able to top the scoreboards on "Smash TV" and "Ivan 'Ironman' Stewart's Super Off Road" very soon. 

"We decided probably about six months ago that we were ready to start looking for a second location," Hyden says. "We started working with our broker and went through books of available properties. Then out of nowhere, this property popped up. It's the only one we even visited and we knew exactly when we saw it that that was the place to go." 

The new location will take the place of the South Street Patio, a party and events rental space that offers 8,200 square feet of open space for Free Play's old school arcade. Hyden says they'll be able to put roughly 100 arcade games on the floor of the new space, including "twice the number of pinball games as the one in Richardson." 

"We're hoping with this new Arlington location that with more space, we should be able to handle bigger crowds than the Richardson location," Hyden says. "Our place is great. I love going to our place on a Thursday when it's not super packed, but that Friday or Saturday crowd, it can get overwhelming at times." 

Hyden says that renovations are underway and they hope to hold their official grand opening on Dec. 5.

"We're probably 80 percent there," Hyden says. "We don't have a kitchen in Arlington so we have to do a full kitchen building which is one of the more difficult things to do, but most of the details are already worked out."

Hyden adds that the new location will not only give them more space to display his company's collection of 300 arcade games but they'll also be able to tap into new markets of gamers who don't have an arcade nearby.

"We have a huge Tarrant County audience already, so being in Tarrant County was by far our biggest target location, but downtown Arlington is getting really cool," Hyden says. "They have something like 2,000 upscale residences at this exact second. They have the awesome UT Arlington crowd. I have a really good feeling that downtown Arlington is going to be looked at for quite some time."

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.