Game Arena Opens Second Location at The Gateway
After nearly two years of waiting, video game fans can finally live it up at the second Game Arena location, now open at the OSU Gateway. The new spot carries over the format of the original Hilliard location — high-end gaming PCs and consoles that you rent time on — but with more of a college atmosphere that includes neon lights and a larger bar area for hanging out with friends while watching your favorite Twitch streamers on wall-mounted screens.
“We used the three years of experience at the other location to rethink everything about an eSports facility and what would be the best way to create the customer experience we are striving for,” stated Justin Kogge, CEO of Game Arena. “It really does feel like a tale of two locations — you will get a completely different experience going to each one.”
While you’re likely to encounter more teenagers at the original Hilliard location in the middle of the day, the owners of Game Arena expect the OSU location to cater to students and older demographics. He said that once COVID restrictions end, they have plans for DJ and karaoke nights, party game nights and other events.
In addition to the rows of gaming PCs (equipped with NVIDIA 2070 RTX Super GPUs and Intel i7-9700k CPUs), the new Game Arena features a central room for competitions, several setups for racing games with force-feedback steering wheels, and a mezzanine balcony with additional seating and a small upstairs bar.
Both the food and drink menus at the new location have been expanded over the Hilliard counterpart. Options include angus beef burgers on brioche buns, mint oreo milkshakes and grilled cheese sandwiches. The most unique items on the menu include a hot dog topped with crispy ramen noodles, cabbage slaw and garlic aioli, and a doritos-crusted chicken breast served with waffle fries and cool ranch sauce. Similarly, the drink menu features signature cocktails like the “Turkey Dew,” a mix of Wild Turkey 101, Midori, Sour Mix and Mountain Dew — in addition to more traditional beer options.
While the new location officially opened last weekend, Kogge and his team are holding off on hosting an official grand opening, planning something within the next few months. Until then, fans are welcome to come check out the new location for free game time, but keep in mind that masks are required, temperature checks are conducted upon entry and guests are asked to remain six feet apart.
“Ideally, we did not want to have to open this new location during COVID restrictions,” added Kogge. “We spent a lot of time and hard work to create a one-of-a-kind place for people to hang out in groups and gather in masses. So we decided to have a soft open and start building towards something great, but we want to make sure it is safe to do so for everyone.”
For more information, visit www.game-arena.co.
All photos by Lyndsay Bamberger and Rachel Daughtery.