Watch some football, grab a hot dog and a beer, play some games. In these simple words, that’s what Dave & Buster’s was all about…and still is.
Founded in 1982 on Dallas’ Restaurant Row in a 40,000-sq.-ft. warehouse by Dave Corriveau and James (Buster) Corley, this combination of food, drink and coin-op has grown into a 160-location chain today, and stands as the most famous name in arcades just about anywhere.
D&B wasn’t the first to try this food+games combination. For example, Chuck E. Cheese was founded by Nolan Bushnell in the late ’70s, back in his early Atari days. But while Nolan’s audience was basically kids, D&B’s founders targeted drinking-age adults…pretty revolutionary back in those early days when the video game was king and the number one customer was the teenage male.
As most readers know by now, Buster died Jan. 4, 2023, on his 72nd birthday, apparently by his own hand. He’d been seriously impaired by a stroke some months before. He hadn’t been active in the company prior to the stroke; he and Dave had sold their interest in the organization years ago, and Dave predeceased him in 2015.
During their time building and running Dave & Buster’s, they set a standard few competitors (and there were only a few) could meet. As anyone who’s visited a D&B knows, the spread of games isn’t just a nice, dozen games next to a burger bar, it’s an Olympics of redemption, videos, table games and VR all rolled up in a blaze of noise and color accompanied by a full restaurant and cocktail setting that’s much, much more than a hot dog and beer affair. It’s the state of the coin-op art and then some.
Buster Corley’s vision helped make this chain possible and showed so many FEC owners how great their craft could be when you put passion and financial resources into the mix. He and Dave leave a legacy that’s hard to equal. God be with you now, Buster, and with Leacy, Kate and the family.
If you are having thoughts of suicide, call or text 988 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for a list of additional resources.