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The Art of Gaming

The Game Room Store Levels Up Your Man Cave

Article by Don Seaman

Photography by Steven Wagner

Originally published in Wayne Lifestyle

You’ve already got the ultimate OLED TV. You’ve got your couches, your favorite chair, and probably all the things that you’ll need to make your man cave comfortable and high-tech. But that’s the easy part. What about the “wow” factor?

Unless you’re particularly handy and have a great eye for design, you’ll probably head online. But that will likely be a disappointment.

Do yourself a favor. Head to the Game Room Store. Their flagship location is right on Route 46 in Fairfield. You’ll think you’ve landed in Man Cave Utopia.

If you’re expecting to find the latest machines that would make Dave & Busters proud, think again. Here, you’ll find some old vintage video games, sure, but that’s not what it’s about. Most things here are custom-built, from pool tables to shuffleboard, poker tables, dart boards, ping pong tables, bars and stools, and much, much more. They also carry a wide range of wall decorations and art, many with a sports theme, and all with a definitive man cave vibe.

Current owner J.R. Masters joined the family business in the 1980’s, after his playing career in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization was over. He came here to figure out his next step — which he found right here.

His first custom project was a dartboard which he built using pallet wood. He’s upped his “game” significantly since then.

Nowadays, he works in high-end wood and metal, using many things that would sometimes go ignored. These “upcycled” materials can be nearly anything, including old industrial oil cans, reclaimed furniture, antique wheels, beer canisters, old parking meters, or even roadside metal guardrails. He can find a use for nearly anything salvageable but he primarily works with expensive woods. Black Walnut edge slabs are red hot right now. And he transforms it all into very unique, very specific art.

The custom bar sets on display will make you rethink your trip to your neighborhood watering hole. They are the store’s most popular products. Most take about six-eight weeks to create.

“Probably the most impressive thing I’ve made so far was a custom-made bar that we built in their home. That was a really big challenge to do on-site. But as far as the best thing that I’ve built? I always feel like the next thing I build is going to be the best thing I’ve built.”

The store began as a billiards store in 1974. But it was failing miserably, so his father began bringing in other products like chess sets, backgammon, and other small games. While the brand extensions helped to right the business, they never lost their connection to billiards. To this day, they still build custom tables and sell every custom accessory you’d need to play. 

“There’s always a backlog for pool tables. We’ve had supply chain issues for the past two years, so it’s been even harder to complete orders for them,” explains Masters. “We typically carry a large inventory and would be able to sell that down. Replacing it has been more expensive — and taken far longer — than in the past.”

While it would be easy to drive past a store called The Game Room Store and think you understand what it’s all about, honestly, this is the one place where the incredibly overused phrase “you’ve got to see it to believe it” is spot on. Once you see it with your own eyes, you’ll know why they’ve been there for nearly fifty years. It’s really the art of gaming, and so much more.

(To see more online - but you really should go in-person - go to mancavebro.com)

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