Jun 20, 2019

Student turns online games into business

A Fresno State student has made his greatest dream a reality with the opening his own business, Cyber Alley.

Cyber Alley, which opened this spring in Fresno, is a computer gaming company, which is thriving off the growing interest in “new age arcades.”

Josh Castorena, owner and manager of Cyber Alley, is a senior business student in the Information Systems and Decision Sciences department at Fresno State. Growing up in Ventura, Castorena saw many computer gaming arcades around town and was intrigued.

“I’m from Southern California and they’re pretty big down there and gaming is getting pretty popular now,” Castorena said. “It’s been underground for the most part but now you can play anyone all around the world.”

Cyber Alley will give players the chance to partake in gaming tournaments. Featuring custom computers that are made specifically for gaming, players can participate in online tournaments with other gamers inside Cyber Alley as well as anyone around the world.

“I came to Fresno and I realized there’s not much for people to do around here, especially those who are under 21,” said Castorena. “I’ve seen how well these have done in other areas and I thought it would be a great source of entertainment here as well.”

Castorena, who previously attended Foothill Technology High School in Ventura, which integrates state-of-the-art technology into all aspects of the curriculum, has a strong computer background. After settling on the idea he marketed it to a few people and was able to find a financial backer.

“It’s been about a year in the making,” Castorena said. “I’ve been through a lot of tough times with permits and licenses.”

After getting approved for the business Castorena began to set up shop in the Montecito Plaza at the corner Willow and Nees avenues. Safety and security were of great concern do to the problems that can arise from any online business, which is why he sought out the help of Chris Johnson, a senior networker for eBay.

Johnson came in and set up all the security systems, which allowed Castorena to control all of the computers from inside the arcade as well as when he’s away.

“We have total control. We have cameras and high-tech equipment. I can get online anywhere and see what’s going on in the store,” Castorena said.

Jesus Toledo, a friend of Castorena’s, descries Castorena as hard-working and dedicated.

“I’m super proud of the little guy. I think Cyber Alley is just going to be a stepping stone for Josh. If he had this much drive to accomplish this at his age then the sky is the limit for this man in the future,” Toledo said.

Neil Christiansen, a frequent gamer at Cyber Alley, expressed his gratitude to the presence of such a business here in Fresno.

“I’ve been into video games for about 10 years,” Christiansen said. “It offers things I wouldn’t necessarily do for myself. I would buy all these games but now I have access to them.”

Christiansen also expressed the importance that gaming not consume too much time. For customers, it’s great to have the separation for game time by going to Cyber Alley.

“It’s a benefit to have all these things here are not at home where they easily become a distraction from school and things,” Christiansen said.

Castorena does hope that this accomplishment is one of many. He has worked around the clock to start up his own business and he shows no sign of stopping now. With Cyber Alley opening just weeks ago, Castorena already has his sights set on future projects.

“I’ve already got letters of intent from a few locations to open up at Campus Pointe and Granite Park,” he said. “I’m hoping to have two more in the next three years.”

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