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New game lounge becoming popular place

February 19, 2020
J.T. Whitehouse , The Town Crier

Watchtower Game Lounge, 5800 Mahoning Ave. (in the upper section of the Austintown Plaza) has become a popular destination since opening just three weeks ago. Owner Robert Simkin said he knew it would be a big hit when he decided to open the new business.

"A lot of these places are teamed up with bars and taverns," he said. "They just don't have a family friendly aspect. This is more for the family."

Simkin is a 2006 Springfield High School graduate who always like games since he was old enough to play them. He enjoyed the old Atari and Nintendo game consoles and games.

Article Photos

Robert Simkin shows the virtual reality gaming that is available at Watchtower Game Lounge, a new concept that opened in the Austintown Plaza.

He also found that many of his millennial friends were into games as well, both electronic and old fashioned board games.

With a passion for games, Simkin decided to open a unique gaming hub where customers can pay for either an hour and a half of play time, or an all-day block of time that includes access to the library of over 130 board games and over 350 video games ranging from classic to modern.

He does have a small amount of theater-style snacks and sodas available for customers.

For the board games, a customer can pay the fee, select the one they want to play, then sit at one of the many game tables and enjoy it.

On the video side, Simkin has everything from the old, vintage game consoles to the modern big screen and virtual reality set ups.

"You can pay for just the board games, or the for an all-inclusive package," said store manager Amanda Bacha.

On the more advanced games, Simkin has attracted a large crowd that enjoys the fight games like Mortal Combat. For those diehards, he has already established a league with monthly tournaments every Thursday. The tournament is the best of three, dual elimination, up to the final match. The final has a best of five and the winner gets his or her photo placed on a board along with their tag, or gamer name. At the end of a year a tournament of champions has been planned. Each Thursday of the month will have a different game, making for multiple monthly champions.

Another offering Simkin has worked out is a game lounge birthday party for kids. He can have the party visited by Batman or a Disney Princess.

"I have a variety of characters," he said.

The lounge operates Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and noon to 7 p.m. on Sunday. It is closed on Tuesday.

Since opening, the leagues have grown and gamers have been traveling from as far as Pittsburgh to enjoy the lounge.

"There are so many splinter groups out there that get together and play games," Simkin said. "They don't know other groups exist. We are hoping to bring them all together."

For more information on Watchtower Gaming Lounge, call 330-261-6345, or visit



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