If you are a hardcore gamer or even just a casual fan of video games, the Emerald City is the place for you. Seattle and the Eastside attract gaming geeks year-round as the home of Microsoft, Nintendo, Valve, PopCap and other major industry players (pun intended).
There are plenty of gaming cafes to find in the city, such as Royal Gaming Cafe in the University District and Meeples Games. Not only that, you can explore the history of gaming and computing—and Seattle’s role in it—at SoDo’s Living Computers: Museums + Labs. The hands-on exhibits include plenty of opportunities to revisit childhood favorites—or have a good chuckle, if you’re a young'un—like Oregon Trail and Space Invaders, learn the basics of game programming, experience virtual and augmented reality and see how these new technologies are influencing the future of gaming.
There are also a number of arcades that you can enjoy with fellow gamers. Here are a few of our favorites:
Seattle Pinball Museum: Your entrance fee to this International District hidden gem covers unlimited play of more than 50 vintage games. This museum has two floors and eight decades of classic and modern pinball games. Passes start at $12 for kids and $15 for adults. No children under 7 years of age. There is also beer and soda. Open Su-M, W-Th noon-6 pm; F-Sa noon-10 pm.
Shorty’s: Coney dogs, slushy cocktails and clown art add to the carnival-like atmosphere at this 21-and-over Belltown arcade. Find pinball and other menu items that include nachos, chili cheese nachos, the Chili Cheese Bigtop and cold beer. Open everyday, noon-2 am.
John John's Game Room: Fill your pockets with quarters and head to Capitol Hill for old-school games and cold beer, as this game room provides hours of fun. The two-floor layout offers a place to both sit and enjoy a drink or play classic pinball machines. Open Su-Th 5 pm-1 am; F-Sa 5 pm-2 am.