Self-described geek Cesare Italo Riverso has been playing video games for as long as he can remember, he said. He watches anime and Cartoon Network, enjoys cosplay (dressing up as popular characters from Japanese animation shows and video games) and manga (Japanese comics).
“For me, a game has to have a story line and game play, but the key is the story line,” he said.
The 20-year-old decided to turn his love of the otaku culture, or geek culture, into his career.
“I actually got started in this whole business by attending trade show and anime conventions,” Riverso said.
He used his paychecks to buy merchandise such as anime figures, costumes for cosplay, hats, key chains, necklaces and other trinkets perfect for the convention crowds.
After moderate success with various conventions, Riverso decided to create a home base for himself in Mission. He combined the idea of a café, a retail shop and a gaming spot, and opened AnimeZing Café.
Guests can browse the T-shirts and costumes, buy Japanese snacks and drinks, do some tabletop gaming or play a variety of games on a variety of consoles.
It’s just the beginning for the shop owner, who continues to improve on his own story line.
“As we get in more clients, we hope to expand on what we carry and create a nicer environment for our customers,” Riverso said.
AnimeZing Café, 713 E. Griffin Parkway, Mission, is open from noon to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday.