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Trent on Tilt

Nestled somewhere in the consciousness of a middle-aged Ohio man lives the memory of a young boy playing his first pinball machine. Thirty years later, that boy became the 10th greatest player in the world. His name is Trent Augenstein and he is a competitive pinballer. It is sometime in the late ’70s and the [...]
Danny Hamen

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Nestled somewhere in the consciousness of a middle-aged Ohio man lives the memory of a young boy playing his first pinball machine. Thirty years later, that boy became the 10th greatest player in the world.

His name is Trent Augenstein and he is a competitive pinballer.

It is sometime in the late ’70s and the game is Knockout—a 1975 flagship boxing-themed machine made by the pinball developer giant, Bally. Neon pink and blue-colored fighters sporting long sideburns and striped booty shorts ornament the sides of the white, wooden cabinet. A concerto of dings, rings, whistles, and bells are paired with the clatter of a whizzing steel ball haphazardly darting along a vibrantly painted course.

The boy is in his friend’s parents’ basement in Delaware, Ohio, and much like the time Michael Jordan picked up his first basketball or Paula Deen tasted her first lick of butter, it was a moment of divine purpose.

Ever since I was a young boy, I’ve played the silver ball…

Since 1993, Augenstein has competed in over 500 events, taking home 104 first-place finishes. In addition to competing, he owns and operates Tilt Amusements, a pinball retail and service shop in Delaware.

Augenstein believes we are living in a new golden era of pinball, a renaissance that’s a result of our recent addiction to crushing pixilated candy and cultivating farms on Facebook, which has actually spawned a demand for tangible entertainment.

“We want to get back to something that is real, that we can touch and play, and that’s not just a screen in front of us,” he said. “It is one of the only interactive games left. And unlike video games, it is totally random; with video games you can usually dissect some sort of pattern, but in pinball you can’t control where the ball is going at anytime. It could literally go anywhere.”

And pinball isn’t just a parlor game for Augenstein—it’s his life. If he’s not buying, selling, repairing, or installing, he is on an airplane prepping his thumbs for the Swedish Pinball Open or the Toronto Pinball Championships. This year alone, he has competed in over 35 cities worldwide.

“None of the Americans had gone overseas to play pinball. So in 2012, me and three other guys decided to go over to the Dutch Open, and I ended up winning the thing,” he said.

In addition, he is a founding member of COPA, the Columbus Ohio Pinball Association. (Yeah, that’s real.) The next event is a tournament November 7 at Level One Bar and Arcade in celebration of a spiffy new Game of Thrones machine. Registration is $10 and the proceeds benefit the Epilepsy Foundation of Central Ohio in conjunction with Epilepsy Awareness Month. Another event series on the COPA radar is Flipoff Hunger Columbus 2015, a pinball tournament series benefitting the Mid-Ohio Foodbank. The dates are November 14 at Arcade Super Awesome, November 22 at Level One, and November 29 at 16-Bit Bar and Arcade.

Augestein’s first tournament was in Columbus in 1993 at the old Olentangy Inn. Now, 23 years and 500 tournaments later, he hasn’t lost that fundamental pinball momentum and has yet to plummet past the flippers and into pinball retirement.

In honor of this month’s gamer issue, and our barcade boom, Augenstein offers up his secret spots to find some pinball action in non-arcade settings.


Top 1O Best Non-Arcade Pinball Spots

Roadhouse Wings

2177 Hilliard-Rome Rd.,  Hilliard

(X-Men, Pirates of the Caribbean)

The Library Bar

2169 N High St.

(Kiss, Walking Dead)

Ange’s Pizza

4511 N High St.

(Avengers)

Cardo’s Pizza

36O6 Lockbourne Rd.

(Kiss, Metallica)

Mulligan’s Sports Pub

8743 Smoky Row Rd.,  Powell

(AC/DC)

Top Notch Vapor

3496 W Dublin Granville Rd.

(Walking Dead)

Studio 35

3O55 Indianola Ave.

(Walking Dead, Ice Cold Beer)

Clancy’s Pub

4O S Sandusky St., Delaware

(WWE, Kiss, Star Trek)

Spoonful Records

116 E Long St.

(AC/DC, Wizard)

Liquid Vision

6O12 E Livingston Ave.

(Frankenstein)

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

Mike Thomas

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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

614Now

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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

@findyourfork

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 #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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