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Hilliard’s Game Arena has Something for Every Gamer

Cody Starcher Cody Starcher Hilliard’s Game Arena has Something for Every GamerAll photos by Walker Evans.
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PC gaming typically isn’t seen as a social event. Even when using online services to connect yourself with your friends, there’s still that spark missing from the days of sitting on a couch, yelling at each other. However, Hilliard’s Game Arena looks to change that, by bring together a location of high-end PCs and consoles to bring group gaming back.

Game Arena has over 60 PC setups throughout the location.

Hilliard native Justin Kogge had been working on this dream for five years before the location opened last month. Growing up playing Video Games, and even reaching second in the NCAA Football online leaderboards when he was in seventh grade, Kogge was always envious of his online friends in other countries that we’re playing from Gaming Centers.

“I would have loved to have gone to a place like that,” Kogge recalled. “All of my friends already hung out Online, but it would have been so much better to play in person.”

Now the 26-year-old has created a spot for all ages to do just that. The new e-sports arena features over 60 PCs, 30 Consoles, and a professional streaming arena for tournaments and e-sports. For the techies out there, the PCs have 6gb MSI 1060 cards, Intel i5 processors, and 144hz monitors, allowing for a fluid gameplay experience that would cost quite a bit more than the $7 an hour the Game Arena charges, particularly with the current BitCoin GPU shortage. Game Arena has also partnered with the Columbus-based Gaming Chair company NeedForSeat USA, to bring their surprisingly comfortable Maxnomic Gaming Chairs to every station.

The location isn’t just for friendly matches of these games however, Kogge and his team currently run more than five events throughout each week. Typically tapping into the competitive nature of Columbus, Game Arena hosts tournaments of Smash Bros, Rocket League, and Madden, while also branching out into other events.

“We like to put a lot of production value into every tournament,” Kogge says. “We want to make people feel like they are on the main stage competing in a great competitive environment.”

Game Arena’s current event schedule for March.

Game Arena also has an in-house kitchen where you can order house made paninis, air fried snacks, or a bubble tea straight from your computer, a nice touch when you’re in the middle of an intense game of PUBG. When I visited the location, ordering was as simple as clicking a few buttons on the computer’s home page, and using a handheld card reader when our waitress delivered our drinks.

Game Arena is also looking into hosting a lot of other events. From offering up a private space for parties and events, to streaming out their tournaments in the titular Game Arena itself, to even working with myself and other members in the Columbus GameDev community to feature smaller local games on the locations setups, Game Arena will have something for every gamer in Columbus.

“We truly care about creating the best video game experience possible,” Kogge told me. “We are going to continue to create this awesome experience and we hope everyone can enjoy what we are creating here.”

“The Best Video Game Experience Possible”

Game Arena is currently open Monday-Thursday from 3 p.m. to 12 a.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 12 p.m to 2 a.m., and Sundays from 12 p.m. to 12 a.m. They’re located at 3570 Fishinger Blvd. in Hilliard and can be found online at game-arena.co.

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