Guide to Fun Gaming in Vancouver

Photo: The Lamplighter Public House

If you’re in the mood to solve puzzles with friends and family, beat Pac-Man, or try your luck at cards, Vancouver has many different places for lively and entertaining gaming.

Vancouver Mysteries

Photo: Vancouver Mysteries

For those looking to get to know Vancouver better while having a great time doing so, Vancouver Mysteries provides a really enjoyable experience. The company specializes in challenges similar to an escape room but, in this case, you’ll be roaming outside downtown (roughly 2 km area) in order to solve a mystery. Vancouver Mysteries currently has 4 mysteries, which run every 30 minutes daily and take up to 2 hours: Ghost Patrol, Crime in Downtown, Secret Mission: Save Your City, and Heroes & Villains. For example, Secret Mission will have you racing to save the city from a secret organization called BLACKOUT. Can you use your skills of logic and creativity to outwit the leaders of BLACKOUT? In addition to these games, Vancouver Mysteries also has a kid version (six and up) of Heroes & Villains so that the whole family can play.

Richmond Olympic Experience

Photo: Richmond Olympic Experience

Fans of Wii-type gaming will delight in the Richmond Olympic Experience. In addition to exhibits on the Olympic Games, the facility contains interactive challenges such as seeing how long you can stay suspended on a climbing hold, testing your vertical leap, and walking along a balance beam. The Olympic Experience also features simulators that range from kayaking through whitewater kayak gates to steering a bobsleigh through the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games track.

Board Games

Photo: Pizzeria Ludica

Vancouver has numerous board game stores, such as Drexoll Games, Games on the Drive, Rain City Games, and Strategies Games & Hobbies, offering a wide range of games for purchase. Staff tend to be very knowledgeable and will provide reviews and recommendations. Many of these stores periodically hold games nights, providing a good opportunity to meet fellow gamers over rolls of the dice.

In addition, numerous restaurants and bars feature board games that you can play while you’re drinking and eating at their establishments. Pizzeria Ludica in Chinatown is the best known one, with a very impressive selection of games that you can play as you nosh on their thin-crusted pizza. Other establishments have a smaller selection of games that you can entertain yourselves with while eating and hanging out there. These include Off the Grid Waffle Café, Six Acres in Gastown, Score on Davie in the West End, and Fable Diner. Meanwhile, Back and Forth Bar offers not only board games (e.g., Jenga, Cards of Humanity), but also ping pong tables for more active gaming.

Arcade/Bar Games

Photo: The Lamplighter Public House

Fans of retro arcade games can find plenty of places where you can indulge in nostalgia, often with classic bar drinks and eats to add to the experience. Two of the top spots are GRETA Bar, which features over 50 arcade games (e.g., Donkey Kong) and Glitch Retro Arcade Bar, which celebrates everything from the 80s and 90s, with lots of arcade games and drinks like the Princess Peach Sangria and Broken Down Mario Cart.

Other bars in the city have a selection of arcade/bar games for playing in between rounds of drinks. These include The Lamplighter Public House, The Butcher & Bullock Public House, Good Co. Granville, and The American.

Escape Rooms

Photo: Find + Seek

Vancouver has numerous companies, such as Find & Seek, Exit Vancouver, and i-Exit, that specialize in escape rooms. Basically, you and friends/family will select an escape room, usually themed with a particular theme or intriguing narrative. For example, Find & Seek has a room called The Mystery at the Majestic Theatre, in which you and your team must find a powerful relic hidden by a Professor in a theatre for magicians. You’ll have 45 minutes to do so. The rooms are fully immersive, with challenging puzzles for you to solve (hints are available). You and your team can celebrate your success at a restaurant or bar after your escape room adventures.

Science World

Photo: Science World

Families seeking more educational gaming can head to Science World where kids can learn about science and have tons of fun at the same time. While all the exhibitions and galleries have interactive components, your children might particularly enjoy Puzzles and Illusions, where there are dozens of games and puzzles for them to test their brains; Eureka!, where there are tons of lively activities for learning about water, sound, movement, and light; and the Tinkering Space where visitors can build things and then deconstruct them, discovering how parts fit together to achieve certain properties (e.g., stability).

Virtual Reality

Photo: VR Funtastic World

For an escape into virtual reality as you game, consider visiting one of Vancouver’s numerous VR businesses, like Evolve Virtual Reality, Zero Latency, and VR Funtastic World in The Kids Market on Granville Island. For instance, Evolve has over 50 VR games and experiences, representing a variety of different genres, such as fantasy, action, kid-friendly, and horror. Many of them can be played in groups, allowing you to experience VR with friends and family.


Photo: Parq Vancouver

Finally, Vancouver and its surrounding area have numerous casino complexes if you want to play slot machines and classic games like Blackjack and Poker. The closest one to downtown Vancouver is Parq Vancouver, which also features high limit salons and a dedicated Poker Room, in addition to table games and slots. Other nearby gaming options include Hastings Racecourse and Casino, where you can wager on horses as well as play slot machines, and the River Rock Casino Resort in Richmond, which features slots, live table games, and electronic table games.

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