Bellevue’s high-tech credentials have leveled up of late. Worldwide corporations operate headquarters and regional offices here to develop, manufacture, and market the high-tech gadgets and services that we use every day. Technology is engrained within the city’s culture, making Bellevue an ideal place for e-gamers to explore their passions.
Microsoft, T-Mobile, Google, and Meta (the home of Facebook and Instagram) employ tens of thousands of people and occupy millions of square feet of office space. More expansion is on the horizon and support companies have followed. This tech presence adds a youthful, sophisticated vibe to the region.
Many game firms also live here. Monolith Productions, for instance, manages the video games Shadow of War and the much-anticipated Wonder Woman from its offices in nearby Kirkland. In Renton, Wizards of the Coast publishes adventure games, including the phenomenal Magic the Gathering trading card digital and tabletop games, as well as legendary Dungeons & Dragons role playing games and digital content. Over a dozen others are making their mark in this thriving space.
Whether indoors or outdoors, with cards or controllers, gamers can find communities and attractions in Bellevue that feed their fandoms.
Downtown Bellevue’s eGaming Hub
For eGamers, Downtown Bellevue serves as video game central, where several companies create, publish and market some of the most popular games on the planet. People take pilgrimages to take selfies outside the buildings of Sucker Punch (The Ghost of Tsushima), Bungie (Halo and Destiny), Valve (Half-Life and Dota), Wargaming (World of Tanks), The Pokémon Company International (Pokémon Legends: Arceus and Pokémon Sword and Shield), and Niantic (home of Pokémon Go). While there’s no public access into the spaces where the magic happens, some of these companies run community events throughout the year.
Many restaurants downtown can fill the need to replenish health while spending time immersed in the local eGaming world. Lunchbox Laboratory, for one, is famous for its burgers, shakes, and fearless experimentation with flavors. The collection of vintage lunch boxes and vibrant artwork creates a cool retro atmosphere in which to relax with food and alcoholic drinks.
Catch ‘Em All
There’s nothing more fun for a Pokémon Go trainer than playing in the city that the augmented reality game calls home. Nearly 100 gyms have been identified in Bellevue, as well as lots of PokéStops and a few nests and habitats throughout the region. Players can spend hours searching for, catching, training, and battling their pocket monster friends.
Take time to look up and savor some of the most entertaining places in the region, from parks and trails to attractions and urban art. Gyms have shown up on the Bellevue College campus, the I-90 Trail walking and cycling path, the Bellevue Botanical Garden, at bus stop murals, and in Mercer Slough Nature Park.
Xbox fans can try out the latest games like Naraka: Bladepoint and revisit old favorites such as Injustice 2 at the Microsoft Company Store and Visitor Center in Redmond. Nine stations provide access to some 40 games. Depending on availability, it’s possible to spend time with the Halo, Forza, Madden NFL, Dragonball Fighter Z, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchises. The center also lets visitors test the company’s other new products and learn more about the computer behemoth.
Undertale, Five Nights at Freddie’s, Angry Birds, and Minecraft have something in common. These popular eGames started with independent game developers and eventually found worldwide success. MoPOP, the museum of pop culture in Seattle, maintains a rotating set of around 20 playable international and US eGames at its Indie Game Revolution exhibition. The library includes Tenya Wanya Teens by Uvula, Inside by Playdead, Little Nightmares from Tarsier Studios, Moncage by Optillusion, and Heart Street’s Delivery. The exhibit also tells the stories of more than 40 independent video game professionals and tackles the question of what an indie game is.
Bellevue Arcade Adventures
Stretch your play at Bellevue’s arcade centers, which house a variety of video, virtual reality, carnival, and simulator games for all ages. Both offer food and drink as a break, plus ways to win prizes on certain games.
High-energy Dave & Buster’s features dozens of games, including the new Top Gun Maverick virtual reality challenge; Wicked Tuna, a wild fishing game based on the hit TV show, and a battle that’s set in the world of Halo.
Well-known bowling center Lucky Strike’s Bellevue outpost features more than 100 games, including video game classics like Guitar Hero, Big Buck Hunter, and fighting games in a Pandora’s Box Multi-cade. Also expect newer virtual reality attractions tied to esports tournaments.
Video gamers who want to put down the controller for a bit and devoted tabletop gamers can make new friends at Mox Boarding House. The art deco-inspired shop and restaurant features a tournament room that hosts daily open play and special events. Its game library includes Magic the Gathering, Dungeons & Dragons, Warhammer, Marvel, Pokémon, and Commander. Add in a side of food, made with locally sourced ingredients, and hand-crafted cocktails for a full afternoon or evening of fun. The shop also offers games and gear for sale.
Throughout the year, several gaming conventions gather up tabletop gamers for a weekend of fun and games. They include Game On!, OrcaCon Tabletop Games Convention, Dragonflight Convention, and Evergreen Tabletop Expo.
Get a team together to solve brain-bending mysteries at Reality Break Escapes in downtown Bellevue. Take around an hour to identify a 1920s mob boss and diffuse a bomb, retrieve a data probe from a wormhole before you’re doused with radiation, or save your soul from the devil who tempts your Seattle band with a lucrative record contract.