At the age of 9, Caine Monroy did what most kids wish they could do: he created his very own arcade.
Unlike most arcades, however, Monroy’s didn’t run on the latest technology.
Dubbed “Caine’s Arcade,” the arcade was powered by imagination and a whole lot of cardboard.
The arcade was built in his dad’s auto shop in Boyle Heights, in East Los Angeles, where Caine would attempt to get customers to play any number of his homebrew games. However, Caine didn’t have much luck getting people to take him up on his offer… at first.
Thanks to Caine’s father George and filmmaker Nirvan Mullick…
Nirvan was the first customer to ever play games at “Caine’s Arcade.”
… the two turned the overlooked arcade into one of the hottest spots in Los Angeles.
Caine’s father George and Nirvan created a Facebook page, which gathered more than 130,000 followers, inviting people to meet at “Caine’s Arcade” on October 6th. Video of the Caine’s arrival as he was greeted by the flash mob went viral.
Caine later called it the “best day of my life.”
At 9 years old, the best day of my life was the time I ate an entire medium pizza by myself.
“Caine’s Arcade” inspired kids from all over to build their own arcade games, and it eventually led to the creation of the “Imagination Foundation.”
According to the website, the purpose of the Imagination Foundation is to “find, foster and fund creativity and entrepreneurship in children around the world to raise a new generation of innovators and problem solvers who have the tools they need to build the world they imagine.” To date, 130 schools have partnered with the Imagination Foundation.
It also inspired Nirvan to create a scholarship fund for Caine, which pulled in an amazing $152,000 in donations.
Though Caine retired from his arcade responsibilities at the age of 11, he continued receiving donations, bringing his total scholarship fund to around $240,000.
Five years later, Caine Monroy plans on pursuing a degree in engineering.
Caine Monroy, the boy who rose to fame for his cardboard arcade, is still dreaming five years later https://t.co/uCaq2UlhvT
— NBC Los Angeles (@NBCLA) April 12, 2017
So while the world obliterates most of our dreams, turning us from the sweet innocent children and into weary adults, Caine has only thrived since creating the arcade of imagination and cardboard in his dad’s auto shop. As Nirvan Mullick told NBC, “[Caine’s] become this articulate young man who continues to inspire kids around the world.”
Now 14 years old, Monroy, is a little camera shy.
Caine and I rehearsing for our keynote talk at the PTTOW! conference. Check out this giant screen!
This conference was absolutely epic. More to share soon… Caine’s Arcade Imagination Foundation
Posted by Nirvan on Saturday, April 15, 2017
Watch the original, inspiring video about how “Caine’s Arcade” became a viral sensation.
And check out Caine’s latest interview with NBC Los Angeles here.