Caine’s Arcade: A little LA boy creates a cardboard world

Taipei Arcade Games
Taipei Arcade Games (Photo credit: Michael Kwan (Freelancer))

Have you heard — surely, yes, by now if you live in the U.S. — about Caine’s Arcade?

Here’s the link.

In one of those unlikely fairy tales, a nine-year-old boy named Caine Monroy decided to build an entire amusement arcade out of cardboard boxes and packing tape. He created “fun passes” and used calculators to make sure each pass was legit. His arcade had every variety of game but the place, at the back of his father’s east Los Angeles auto body shop, lacked the crucial element — customers. Most people now buy auto parts on the Internet.

Until Nirvan Mullick, a film-maker, needed one for his old car.

He found Caine, played in his arcade, made a film — and asked everyone he knew to come and play there. They did. The event made NBC Nightly News and a college scholarship (and college prep tutoring) fund has topped $145,000 for Caine, a sweet-faced kid in a bright blue T-shirt.

Although — as someone not wild about traditional college education — I wonder where his amazing imagination would flourish best. Cal Arts?

It’s an astonishing video and I hope you’ll make the time, 10 minutes, to watch it.

It embodies everything I love:

Having a dream

Being persistent enough to make it into something real, even when no one is looking

Finding the tools to build your imagined world

Making stuff up from scratch

Finding someone who believes in you

Having that someone believe in you so much they want to do whatever they can to help you succeed.

I suspect for some people Caine’s win is that he’s now “famous”. It’s not.

The grin on his face when he saw how many people had finally shown up to play in his world was one of the sweetest sights you can imagine.

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12 thoughts on “Caine’s Arcade: A little LA boy creates a cardboard world

  1. free penny press

    It’s people like this that make us aware of the beautiful moments in life..
    I loved Caine, his intelligence, personality..everything..
    Go Caine!!

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  4. Thanks so much for this, Cait. I cried. In fact, I’m still bawling as I type out these comments. I love the determination and the positivity. But also, if you dig deeper, it’s such a multi-layered story: the changes in technology, US economy and hardship, internet and community, the father-son relationship. Powerfully beautiful.

    1. Thanks! I am so glad this resonated…many people who read this blog work in a creative industry and it’s easy to forget the sheer joy of invention this video embodies…

      Nigel…thanks for so appreciating it. That’s the fun of the Internet…a woman in NY shares an LA story and readers a gazillion miles away can share.

  5. Caitlin, brilliant story. Thanks for bringing it to us.

    OMG, both my wife and I watched and I have to say I welled up a bit and she outright cried (she’s a bit leaky like that ;-). Nigel said it all. That is one powerful story. Most of all for me it really demonstrates that we can really do anything if we try and with the power of scoial media, our story and determination we can all make a difference. Cardboard! I have a laptop and access to so many tools and this kid has amazed me with his ingenuity. I am so happy Caine get a shot. He will likely go far.

    Thanks again for finding and sharing this story. It shows us the type of person you are. Beautiful.

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