Tonawanda News

Business

June 12, 2009

HISTORY: Local couple creates games of the past

TOWN OF TONAWANDA — For some people, painting models and playing games with them is a hobby. Since Philip Viverito’s retirement from Niagara Mohawk, it has become his way of life, and his peers will soon be honoring him for it.

His love of history and model making started more than 40 years ago, when his uncle was working with a Lewiston lumber company to do some work on Fort Erie. But when his interest became a bit more sophisticated, it got harder to find the right model.

“I started scratch building because I couldn’t find the pieces that I wanted,” Viverito said. “You can get a lot of what you want online or through mail order, but you’ll probably pay 100 times more than if you make it at home.”

He didn’t stop there. Making up the rules to play the games — creating a new game from the ground up — became the next logical step. Eventually Viverito’s mother asked his wife, Lynn, what she thought of being married to a grown man who still played with toys. Lynn found a creative way to explain her acceptance.

“She told my mother ‘I know where he is, I know who he’s with and I know what he’s spending his money on. How many of his brothers can you say that about?’”

In the 1980s her support went from mere acceptance to financial backing. When Viverito decided to publish a book of rules for a game he created, the response he got was lukewarm at best. So Lynn cashed in her 401K from a previous job and started LMW Works — her own publishing company — to put the volume out herself. She’s now the publisher of all of Viverito’s work and has expanded to business to other up-and-coming game book creators who show promise.

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