ROOT – When Ramsin Zaia was a kid he “wasn’t exactly the best student” and wanted to spend his time playing video games. As a result, his parents would take his video games away from him, but still allow him to leave the house.
Born and raised in Chicago, Zaia and her peers were taking to the streets and getting into trouble. Looking back, he said playing video games could have saved him from getting into real criminal trouble.
“I realized it was something that would keep me from getting off the streets, if my parents just let me play games, even though I didn’t do so well in school,” said Zaia. “If they would just let me stay inside, I wouldn’t go mingle with these people.”
So Zaia founded ay “target =” _ blank “> Gamestersbay, a video game store in Evanston, Illinois that offers video game products and spots for all ages. He wanted to provide a safe space for that. children have fun and stay away from the streets, while preserving and renovating vintage video games.
Alongside co-owner Ivette Camarano, Zaia is bringing a second Gamestersbay location to downtown Racine to fulfill the same purpose. The store will open Saturday at 6 p.m. at 223 Sixth St., on the corner of Sixth Street and Wisconsin Avenue, inside the space once occupied by As Time Goes By Antiques.
Help the community
The co-owners both grew up in Chicago, often in areas where there was “gang violence like you wouldn’t believe,” Camarano said. Camarano’s passion for helping children comes from both being a single mother and seeing her own mother divorce and how it affected her family.
Camarano is also a leader of the nonprofit, Get Off The Streets, which aims to provide solutions and training to keep children away from gang violence and drug addiction.
The organization – to which Zaia also contributes – is dedicated to Camarano’s brother Wilson Velazquez, a Cleveland police officer who died in January of heart disease.
Both owners hope the new location in downtown Gamestersbay will provide children with another supervised and safe place in Racine to play, especially when other centers are closed overnight.
The store will feature retro and modern games of all kinds, with plenty of TV screens for customers to play and test out old and new consoles, attracting a different audience that Zaia and Camarano want to target.
“Our goal is to stay open, late at night, and give barhoppers the opportunity to stop drinking,” Camarano said. She hopes Gamestersbay can be a sober addition to the downtown nightlife offerings.
In addition to the storefront, Gamestersbay hopes to help equip Racine’s community centers with computers and consoles to give its customers the opportunity to play games or do their homework.
It starts with the Cesar Chavez Community Center, 2221 Douglas Avenue.
Zaia and Camarano said they also hope to provide educational opportunities for Gamestersbay.
They envision a program where they can let children play video games and send them home with research questions, like “What are the origins of play?” “Or” Who created it? “
They also plan to be able to call on the police or the military to educate children on more violent games like “Grand Theft Auto” and “Call of Duty”.
“It really comes down to making sure the kids understand ‘Yo that’s not OK in real life,’” Zaia said. “Teaching them the difference would be huge. “
Beyond game content, owners hope kids (and even parents) – “the next generation” of gamers, Zaia has called them – will learn that the video game / video game industry can be a journey. worthwhile career.
Whether it’s developing the art or story of a game, streaming the game online on Twitch, or participating in “esports” tournaments, video game careers are booming.
“When it all stopped, I just had to do something,” said Emerson Holliday, founder of the new pop-up restaurant Dragon Pit BBQ.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics forecast for 2019-2029, software developers will see a 22% increase in employment opportunities, and media animators will see a 4% increase.
“Most projections put the esports ecosystem on track to surpass $ 1 billion in revenue for the first time this year,” Insider Intelligence reported last month.
“My brother grew up in a generation where he really loved video games, and he was very good at drawing, like the characters in ‘Dragon Ball Z’, but because we were the first generation my parents were like ‘You gotta go to college, ‘”Zaia said. “Now he’s an accountant. And he’s not unhappy, but you can tell the guy was deprived of his passion.
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