Love all things gaming? Look no further than these gaming hubs in Burlington, VT.

We are known for our gaming community at Champlain College. Whether you’re into PC, console, or tabletop gaming, you can find it at Champlain—and in the Burlington area. While Burlington at first glance is best known for its food, festivals, outdoors, and arts, the city also has an active gaming presence through its unique and eclectic arcades, tournaments, and shops. 

Whether you’re looking for a quick trip or a weekly community event, here are our top five stops in Burlington, Vermont for student gamers.

5. The Archives 

The Archives, with its collection of retro arcade games, is just a short walk from the Champlain College campus.

The Archives is a unique Vermont stop. It’s a classic arcade with vintage machines like Tetris, Asteroids, Ms. Pac-Man, and Donkey Kong Junior, and pinball machines like the Adams Family and Jurassic Park. You can head over for an afternoon with your friends and try to hit the top score while you enjoy light foods and snacks. Really, what more could you ask for? Located on College Street, The Archives is just steps away from the Church Street Marketplace

There’s a great vintage juke box on site to keep you grooving while you play.

Most games take only one token, which costs $0.25 each. Pinball machines start at two tokens.

For students under 21, The Archives is open before 5:00 PM during their non-alcoholic hours. 

4. The Boardroom

The Boardroom offers more than 550 classic to modern tabletop, roleplaying, and card games to play with friends in a cozy setting. Staff are happy to help you pick out a game and guide you through the instructions and rules.

Located on Mill Street in Burlington, The Boardroom is a board game cafe with an impressive collection of over 550 classic to modern tabletop games, card games, and more. For just six dollars a person, you can get unlimited access to their entire collection of games for the day. The Boardroom encourages groups to come in and play, making the cafe the perfect place to spend a weekend with your friends. They also serve a range of fun and homey comfort foods, like grilled cheese, subs, and gourmet peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, to top off your gaming experience. 

Stay and play as many games as you want, for as long as you want.

Local tip: Make sure to stop by for their Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder one-night one-shots. 

3. Spare Time’s Game Zone

Champlain College Orientation Leaders pose outside Spare Time’s Game Zone during last year’s Orientation week.

Located a short drive from campus in Colchester, VT, Spare Time has it all. Not only do they have a massive arcade with more than 50 games, they offer a decked-out, disco-themed bowling alley and a huge Fallen City–themed laser tag arena. Incoming students at Champlain College take over the entire complex for one night during Orientation week to bowl, game, and battle it out over laser tag.

First-year Champlain College students get to know each other while bowling and gaming at Spare Time during Orientation week.

In the Game Zone, you can win points playing games in the arcade and redeem them for prizes in the Win Zone.

Looking for a deal? Head to Spare Time on Tuesdays when you can get 50% off arcade games AND laser tag after 3:00 PM.

Redeem your points to win fun prizes in the Game Zone arcade.

2. Quarterstaff Games and Earth Prime Comics 

Quarterstaff Games is Vermont’s premier gaming store, specializing in board games, role-playing games, collectible card games, and tabletop miniature games.

Quarterstaff is a classic Burlington stop—and for a good reason. This tabletop gaming store, located at the entrance of the Church Street Marketplace and just a short walk away from Champlain College, has a wide variety of tabletop games, card games, and D&D merchandise. Whether you’re looking for new dice, expansion packs, or figurines, chances are Quarterstaff has it. In addition to their store, Quarterstaff has a space dedicated to gaming events, such as Friday Night Magic games, Casual Gaming gatherings, and other opportunities to play in a group setting. 

Quarterstaff is located at the entrance of the Church Street Marketplace, just steps from Champlain College.

Not only is it Vermont’s oldest gaming store, it’s one of the largest in New England.

Join fellow Magic fans for Quarterstaff’s Friday Night Magic events in their gaming space.

Right below Quarterstaff is Earth Prime Comics. This small shop sells graphic novels, comics, and collectables from Marvel, DC, Image Comics, and more. You can start your day browsing comics, and then finish it up playing games upstairs in Quarterstaff.

Earth Prime Comics carries a vast selection of comic books, graphic novels, anime, and collectables from Marvel, D.C, Image Comics and many more.

The comics are well organized and easy to find, but if you’re looking for recommendations, the staff are always willing to help.

Earth Prime Comics offers a wide selection of graphic novels and books, too.

1. Champlain College 

Michael-Paul Ho-Kang-You ’20 // Game Production Management, in the Game Studio at Champlain College, where student game-development teams come together to ideate, create, and hone their games.

Of course we have to put Champlain College as number one! Champlain’s Game Studio has been nationally recognized time and time again. The Rookie Awards named Champlain the fourth best game development program in the world and number two in the United States. The Princeton Review consistently ranks our game program in their Top 20 Schools for Game Design year after year.

Champlain Game Studio students test out their Senior Capstone games at last year’s Senior Show.

At Champlain, students can major in Game Art, Game Design, Game Production Management, and Game Programming. Our students make their own games starting in their very first year, and put out high-quality, innovative games during their entire time at Champlain. Because of their education and experiences, our students have been hired at studios like Insomniac, Nintendo, Ubisoft, Velan Studios, Vicarious Visions, Harmonix, and more. 

Students from all four Game majors come together to develop a playable game during their senior year, just as they would in a real-world game studio. After they launch their games at the Senior Show, the public is invited to come and play!

Plus, we have clubs like our tabletop games club, Esports teams, a game writing club, and the game majors leadership group. Champlain is the perfect place to make games, play games, and find your community.

Champlain College Esports events include tournaments for various fighting or 1v1 games, large-scale team tournaments, and open LAN events where students can bring their own computer or laptop setups and play games in a group setting.

Looking for more things to do in Burlington? Want to learn more about Champlain College? Keep reading The View to find more.

Grace Safford
Grace Safford, ‘20 // Professional Writing, is a writer on Champlain’s Media Team, and the Assistant Managing Editor of the Champlain College Center for Publishing. She has worked as a writer and editor for multiple publications, including The Well, The Weathervane, The Voice, The Mud Season Review, and Books Ireland. You can find her creative works published in Firewords, Soft Cartel, and Puddlefar.

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