Microsoft’s main campus in Redmond, Washington is big. Like, eight million square feet big.
The good news is, you don’t have to worry about seeing it all if you make the visit. The bad news is that it’s because almost every single one of its 80 buildings is closed off to non-employees.
But there’s one building open to everybody: the Microsoft Visitor Center. It’s home to the Microsoft Company Store, which is a gift shop that carries exclusive merchandise that you can only get on the campus.
Some of it’s weird, some of it’s silly, some of it’s actually pretty cool, but you can only get it if you make it to Microsoft’s campus (though a very limited selection is available online). Check it out.
There's not much to see on the Microsoft campus for non-employees, apart from a few basketball courts, soccer fields, and tourist photo opportunities. That's me being a tourist, by the way.
But there's one building you can get inside: the Microsoft Visitor's Center. It's guarded by Master Chief and Spartan Locke, the heroes of Microsoft's 'Halo 5: Guardians.' They don't look happy to see me.
... plus some stations where you can mess around with Microsoft's games and technology. Somehow, every kid in the joint had figured out how to get Minecraft running on all of the demo computers sitting around.
Seriously, there's a lot here. Check out these Microsoft-branded sports jerseys, for kids and adults.
Some of it's weird, like these plastic 'Genius Juice' flasks. I don't know what it's like in Washington, but I feel like I'd get in trouble just for having one of these in San Francisco.
Some of it's cute, like this Microsoft teddy bear I got for my mum. (Hey, mum, if you're reading this: Surprise!)
There's a healthy selection of Minecraft stuff, but not much more than you can get at your local Target.
You can also get these torso-sized Xbox One controller pillows. I would have absolutely bought one of these if I then didn't have to worry about getting it home.
There's also a healthy selection of Halo-themed stuff, including backpacks, headsets, action figures, and other accessories.
Indeed, some of the t-shirts seem to have pretty niche appeal. Remember that these are for Microsoft employees as much as they are for tourists like myself. It's the 'company' store, after all.
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