Get in the game

Anthony Bennett

Since childhood, 31-year-old Anthony Bennett has loved playing games of all types. Now, he’s turned his hobby into his dream job. Less than two months ago he was working a “regular” job as an accountant, but today he and his wife Carla are the proud owners of a new gaming store in Chico called Heroes Corner Games & Merchandise (1380 East Ave.), in the East Avenue Safeway shopping center. They’re the new kids on the local gaming block and you can find out more about the store online at or by calling 774-2409.

How’d you get into gaming?

I grew up in Paradise and there was generally nothing for me, my wife and friends to do. It’s extremely hilly and hard to get around on foot or bike. So in high school we played games a lot—board games, Dungeons & Dragons, trivia nights, even scavenger hunts. I created a zombie board game and, after much effort, couldn’t get a publisher interested. So my wife suggested we open a gaming store to sell it when it’s finished and get extra income. I couldn’t do both jobs, so I quit accounting.

What’s your store’s main emphasis?

Magic: The Gathering is our biggest attraction for both organized games and products. But we do a little of everything: fantasy games, board games, books, T-shirts and more. We like to promote social games, where people interact face-to-face, instead of solitary video games. You can even rent our games—which might cost $40 new—for only $5 for three days. Several of the other game stores in Chico were very niche, only doing things like Magic. No one did it all, and I felt we could be that store.

How’s business so far?

It’s been very good since we started in mid-September. We have weekly tournaments with 15-25 players. Three people here today are regulars that drive from Oroville. This weekend, we had two carloads of Magic players caravan from here to Oakland for a big Magic tournament.

What are your demographics?

Mostly 15- to 30-year-olds. Our Magic games are 95 percent male, but the board games are 50-50 male to female because they’re mostly for fun and not as intense.

What’s the attraction to Heroes Corner?

The Friday tournaments are set up by the national Magic corporation, and allow stores to give out special promo prizes as long as they end at midnight … [and] some players who played at the downtown stores felt unsafe walking around there.