Once a pastime aimed at children, gaming has evolved into something that people of all ages now enjoy and actively participate in. But what is gaming and who is a gamer, exactly? Gaming can refer to anything from arcade games to a variety of role playing games and anyone who plays them. Video games, tabletop role playing games and even larping (live action role play) have also grown in popularity over the years.

In Tacoma, there are numerous places to get your game on, no matter what your particular gaming proclivity might be. From a bar that specializes in old school pinball gaming, to a place where you can play arcade-style video games, sip a pint and munch on nibbles, to gaming stores where you can pick up unique and hard to find board games. Tacoma has something for every kind of gamer out there.

Dorky's Arcade
Dorky’s Arcade offers a variety of arcade video games, as well as air hockey. Photo credit: Amanda Bretz

Dorky’s Arcade

This is the holy grail for classic arcade video games in the Tacoma area. From PAC-MAN to Super Mario Brothers to fantasy games, if it was popular in arcade gaming’s heyday, you can find it at Dorky’s Arcade. Part bar, part gaming hall, the establishment lets the kid in all of us come out while indulging in an adult beverages. After all that gaming, you’re bound to work up an appetite and luckily, there’s also a variety of eats to choose from like nachos, chicken strips, pizza, soup and other yummy items. Located in downtown Tacoma, Dorky’s is easy to get to by public transit and public parking is accessible nearby.

Dorky’s Arcade is located at 754 Pacific Avenue, find out more on their website, call them at 253-627-4156, or find the business on Facebook and Instagram.

TerraCrux Games
TerraCrux Games carries a variety of unique and hard to find board games. Photo credit: Amanda Bretz

TerraCrux Games

This gaming establishment calls itself “the analog solution to your digital world” and you won’t find video games or pinball machines here. Instead, gamers will enjoy the large selection of board games and tabletop role playing games. These types of games can involve dice, complex characters and, often times, an involved storyline. And the role playing aspect can really come into play as participants act out, or role play, the characters in the games through speech, actions and characterization of each character involved in the game. These tabletop-style role playing games are typically played by groups, or sometimes by leagues, and TerraCrux boasts plenty of space for these types of gamers in their location.

TerraCrux Games is located at 760 Commerce Street. Find out more by visiting their website, call the business at 253-203-1647, or connect with them on Facebook or Instagram.

Triple Knock
The Triple Knock pinball bar serves up food and drinks in addition to old school pinball games. Photo credit: Amanda Bretz

The Triple Knock

Some might say pinball is a gaming hobby of days gone by, but at The Triple Knock, located in the heart of Tacoma’s Sixth Avenue district, this old school gaming form reigns as king. But The Triple Knock is more than just a place to play pinball. You can indulge in a sip and a bite as well. The establishment serves a small menu of sandwiches and burritos, with options for vegans, vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. Wash down your bite with a beer, cider, mixed drink, or non-alcoholic beverage. The bar also offers several house special cocktails with fun names like the ready to rumball, a cocktail made with black and coconut rum, kahlua, cream and cinnamon or the ring around the rosie, made with rosemary infused vodka, amaro, lemon balm, hibiscus tonic and bitters.

The Triple Knock is located at 2713 6th Avenue, contact them by phone at 253-503-0982 and find them on Facebook.

Game Matrix Larping
The Game Matrix carries board and table top role playing games as well as larping equipment. Photo credit: Amanda Bretz

The Game Matrix

Unlike the other gaming hotspots mentioned so far, The Game Matrix isn’t in Tacoma’s North End. Located in a strip mall off South Tacoma Way, The Gaming Matrix offers ample space to meet up with other gamers, through either leagues or just groups looking for a place to get together to play. Besides the large gaming space available, the store also has a selection of board games, tabletop role playing games and accessories, plus equipment for live action role playing games. Live action role playing games, or larping as it’s more commonly known, involves participants dressing up and physically portraying the characters in the game they’re playing. Because of its physical nature, larping is usually played outdoors or at indoor locations with large, wide open spaces.

The Game Matrix is located at 8610 South Tacoma Way. Find out more by calling 253-583-9708, visiting their website or connect with them on Facebook.

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