Denton’s new arcade hits road bump in opening

Denton’s new arcade hits road bump in opening

Denton’s new arcade hits road bump in opening
June 22
08:22 2018

The opening of Denton’s new retro arcade, Free Play, has run into a delay in opening because of a six-month wait in getting their liquor license, according to a statement posted on Facebook.

The bar and arcade mix was supposed to open Wednesday, which would have made it Free Play’s third location after opening stores in Richardson and Arlington.

“We are told we should have the problem sorted out by the end of the week, keeping fingers crossed,” Chief Operating Officer Richard Tregilgas said.  “And with the game repairs, we hope that we can get that figured out this week and open Monday of next week.”

The arcade hosted three beta tests at their Denton location earlier in the week, with two of them being open to the general public. According to Tregilgas, the purpose of these tests was to catch any problems with the arcade cabinets that might arise due to age or transport which may not be caught with a test that usually only lasts a few minutes.

“They are not the most stable things in general,” Tregilgas said. “We do put a massive amount of time and energy into keeping these games running in their original form, and that is the most important thing for us.”

Free Play boasts a large collection of old and rare games such as “King & Balloon” — which there are only seven of according to the last arcade census, two of which belong to Free Play. Day manager and head technician James Pipes explained that while their games do require more frequent, slight fixes, the more major problems are few and far between and are dealt with as they come up.

While Free Play always wanted to open a location in Denton once they had gotten off the ground according to Tregilgas, when it was time to open up a second store, there were thoughts that another company was going to open a similar establishment in Denton, so Free Play put Denton plans on hold. It was only once that store opened and was not what the people at Free Play thought was the idea to come back to Denton once again put on the table.

“We always really wanted to do something up here in Denton,” Tregilgas said. “Once we had already gone and opened our second location in the Arlington area — which we thought was a great balance between Dallas and Fort-Worth — we thought it was pretty safe to come up here and do something in the Denton area.”

While the arcade in Denton will be smaller than Free Play’s other locations, the arcade will still feature over 55 classic arcade games and between eight and 10 pinball games — all of which span from 1976 into the late 90’s — that will occasionally be rotated out. The unique part of the Denton location is the ability to purchase a growler of beer from Free Play’s beer menu.

Most of those in attendance at the beta tests were members of Free Play’s Facebook group and were frequent visitors of the arcade’s other two locations. Some visitors, like Jason Palmer, are both long time fans of arcades and adamant supporters of Free Play.

“There is an Iron Maiden pinball machine, and I am refusing to go to any place that has it until Free Play has it,” Palmer said. “They just have a certain je ne sais quoi.”

Since the arcade allows unlimited play all day, this gives fans of these classic arcade games with stories the ability to progress all the way to the end without breaking the bank.

“I guarantee you if I was paying, I would probably never make it through this whole game,” said Lyndi Wade, a frequent visitor of Free Play’s other locations and UNT alumnae. “We died a lot — more than I could afford.”

The cost of a Free Play wrist band, which allows customers to leave and come back all day, is $5. The Denton location will have similar hours to the other two locations, but the hours have not yet been released.

Featured Image: UNT students Elaine Rios (left) and Grayson Nolette (right) play “The Simpsons” game on the back end of the establishment. This game allows four players at once. Josh Jamison

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Shane Monaco

Shane Monaco

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1 Comment

  1. merlin
    merlin June 28, 16:54

    Nice story… having their location/address would have made it an even better story

    Reply to this comment

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