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Opening Volley

I’d just come home after a stint in the county jail. I really only hoped my wife would recognize me, let alone let me back into her life. Something in her eyes, set behind that untrusting invisible veil, knew that when the good Lord came to take me, before vultures made off with my flesh, [...]



I’d just come home after a stint in the county jail. I really only hoped my wife would recognize me, let alone let me back into her life. Something in her eyes, set behind that untrusting invisible veil, knew that when the good Lord came to take me, before vultures made off with my flesh, that down to my essence, I couldn’t change the bones I was born with.

That was a very dark period of my life—one I was only able to overcome by doing something I knew for a long time I had needed to…

I turned off my Xbox.

Yeah, none of that happened to me, but when you spend the better part of a winter holed up in a Victorian Village loft playing Red Dead Redemption, you feel like it did.

In the game, if you’re not familiar, you spend your time traveling the old West as John Marston, vacillating between good-hearted outlaw and straight-up twisted country weirdo depending on your mood that day. In short time, you grow used to saying things to yourself like, “Man, I can’t get a good deal on that horse meat; better ride back to town.” Which, yes, is pretty weird, but hey—that’s gaming. You immerse yourself in this fantasy world, totally. As bizarre as that immersion was, what was actual happening in reality was much stranger.

As pizza boxes piled up faster and faster around me, like some sort of depressing real-life Tetris, I sat for hours, reclining with a 12-pack of High Life, mostly just me and John shooting wild animals with no real in-game goal in sight. The combined bleakness of those dueling worlds made it pretty easy to one day say, Uh, yeah, I’m gonna turn it off and go outside. See, who says gaming can’t teach you lessons about real life?

So this month as we examine gaming not just for its nostalgic qualities but also for its role in teaching, commerce, and medicine, I pay tribute to the lessons handed down to me from console to console.

• NBA Live and NBA2K taught me that I was a much better coach than player. While in reality I was struggling to pump in 2.1 buckets per game on the varsity basketball team, back in my bedroom I was a crucial part of a budding dynasty. I’ll never forget that run we made against the mighty CPU, fake Dallas Mavericks. Not only did I develop essential leadership skills as player/coach, but the 6-foot 9-inch, 215 pound, stretch-four Travis Hoewischer won the MVP, hoisting the trophy next to a smiling (I think) 16-bit version of his childhood hero, Jimmy Jackson.

• NCAA Football taught me that digital blood is not as thick as player ratings. More than a decade ago, my brother Jordan was a walk-on tight end for the OSU football team, and when given the chance to download the roster with him on it, I fed him a steady stream of passes. My other brother, Ross, wasn’t so prone to favoritism, instead making him earn his pixels. And by that, I mean he started All-Big Ten Ben Hartsock and kicked the hell out of me every single time.

• Speaking of losses, there’s plenty of humility to be gleaned from gaming. For starters, nothing ruins a sleepover like a broken controller, and when your friend defeats you in Mortal Kombat with his 87th consecutive sweep kick, you learn to keep your composure. No one’s gonna remember that loss, but they will remember you totally and utterly losing your shit and unreasonably questioning everything—the game’s manufacturer, physics, voodoo, God.

• Ironically, video games taught me lessons in excess. Like most fun things in life, you’ll always gorge yourself on the best stuff if you’re not careful. All it took was a few days of playing Nintendo for 24 hours straight. Sure, maybe you’d beat the game, but at the end of the day/night/day, there’s no real princess in your life (or mushrooms for that matter) and your retinas might be bleeding.

• Gaming sharpens your love for numbers. You might be pretty foggy about the quadratic equation, but I still remember that high score I posted in Super Smash Brothers. (Eat it, Nick).

• Gaming has also taught us the value of caring for our work. Both Paperboy and Grand Theft Auto offered constant (albeit very different) reminders about traffic and customer satisfaction.

Feels good to finally understand the valuable lessons video games were teaching me in my less mature days. Now, let’s hit the barcade.


Travis Hoewischer, Editor-in-Chief

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The clock is ticking on your chance to win big with ColumBest!

Mike Thomas



March is slowly but surely winding down, which means the clock is ticking on your chance to vote in our our yearly “best of” Columbus readers poll.

Not only does voting in ColumBest 2019 give you the opportunity to show your favorite local brands and businesses some love, it also offers a chance to win big. This year, one lucky ColumBest voter will win a $1,999 Easton shopping spree, a $2,000 home makeover from Value City Furniture, and a $250 Moo Moo’s car wash gift card.

You read that right – that’s all ONE prize! To make the reality of this amazing offer a little more tangible, let’s break down what could be in store for the lucky winner.

  • The “low fat” wash at Moo Moo is more than enough to knock a winter’s worth of salt off your ride in time for spring. At $8 a go, a $250 gift card will net a whopping 31 trips through the suds.
  • Among many great restaurants and retailers, Easton is home to a Cinnabon Bakery location. While we’re not suggesting you spend the entire $1,999 shopping spree on their delicious, gooey, cinnamon-frosted treats, the almost $2,000 prize would be good for around 531 of Cinnabon’s classic rolls. Please dine responsibly.
  • You know the old futon in your living room leftover from college that faces the TV stacked on top of milk crates? It’s time to upgrade. Thanks to the deals at Value City Furniture, the $2,000 prize will go a long way toward improving any room in your house.

Once you’re done voting for your faves, make sure to save your spot at our ColumBest Party at Express LIVE! on May 13th. You won’t want to miss this celebration of the best of the best in Columbus!

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(614) Magazine

March 2019




At (614) we like to think we’re always giving you new ideas about where to go, what to try, or what’s coming up next. But this month, perhaps we can do a bit more for you. Maybe we can offer some inspiration to find ‘the better you’.

  • The Calendar to end all calendars
  • Tips and resources to find the ‘better you’
  • Experience Otherworld
  • Makers Space: botanical skin care
  • Columbus author: Hanif Abdurraqib
  • German Village: two restaurants, one roof
  • Columbus igloo adventures
  • Cheesesteak Empire with Charley Shin
  • Old-timey ‘shrub’ bevs making a comeback
  • Aloha! Inside the Huli Huli Tiki Lounge
  • Megan Kilgore: the Columbus Crew-sader
  • Offroad bike adventures
  • Family: squats for tots

The reading experience is optimized for tablet devices. Turn your phone or tablet horizontally for the 2-page spread view or vertically for the single-page view.

Looking for a physical copy? Check out our snazzy map

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The Six Happy Hour: The District Pourhouse




 #6  The District Pourhouse (Formerly World of Beer)

Beer, Bavarian pretzels, and barbacoa street tacos. Need I say more? The first thing that comes to mind with District Pourhouse is their vast selection of beers. Now imagine pairing a nice cold glass of your favorite draught with your favorite comfort food, like pizza, hot dogs, or fries. Sounds good, right?

Did I mention that District Pourhouse also hosts trivia nights whilst your favorite sport team plays on the many screens around the venue?

HH: M-F open-7pm; $5 draughts, $5 spirits, $5 shareables

The District Pourhouse

1568 N High St, Columbus

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