The Power of Caine’s Arcade

Submitted by Six Red Marbles on Mon, 05/07/2012

In the 28 days (as of this writing) since it was posted online, a short video called “Caine’s Arcade” has been watched more than 5 million times. That averages out at close to 1,000 views per hour! Many people, like myself, have watched the video multiple times. The story of this 9-year-old boy and what he created has captured the hearts of people worldwide.

In case you’ve not yet seen this short film, go watch it now. Seriously…I’ll wait the 11 minutes. Don’t forget your Kleenex.

AMAZING, right?

But what you see in that film is only the beginning of the magic:

  • Almost $200,000 has been raised for a scholarship for Caine.
  • The Caine’s Arcade Foundation was created with a $250,000 matching grant to foster and fund the creative ventures of other children. The foundation is also developing a curriculum for schools, including a global cardboard arcade project.
  • 111,000+ people have become fans of Caine's Arcade on Facebook.
  • Hundreds of kids have posted pictures and videos of their own cardboard games and creations on the Facebook page.
  • Caine’s Arcade “Staff” t-shirts are for sale (with the profits going to Caine’s scholarship fund and the Caine’s Arcade Foundation). The song heard in the short film is also available for download on iTunes.
  • Caine got a standing ovation as the youngest speaker to ever present at USC Marshall School of Business.
  • Caine’s story has been featured on Good Morning America, the NBC Nightly News, and CNN.
  • Caine’s Arcade was taken to the Exploratorium in San Francisco as part of the Open MAKE: TRASH exhibition, where visitors could play the arcade games. 

The story of Caine's Arcade is powerful and has inspired educators, students, business leaders, and parents.

But…what if Nirvan Mullick (who filmed this story) hadn't stopped by Smart Parts Auto?

What if a flashmob hadn’t come to play? What if Caine had never even gotten that one customer that he longed for?

It still would have been a powerful story.

Caine Monroy, a 9-year-old boy with a passion for arcades, spent his summer vacation building one. Calculators, packing tape, and scissors were the extent of his technology. He used critical thinking skills to engineer the inner workings of his games. He was thoughtful in considering the design aspects of his games. He fine-tuned and tinkered and tested. And he had a parent who encouraged his efforts…and then gave Caine the room and the power to figure out things for himself.  Caine’s Arcade—Caine’s dream, design, and creation--is amazing whether one person or the whole world knows about it.

There are millions of Caines out there. We may never know all their stories, but we need to commit to each and every one of those kids with the same joy and encouragement that Caine has received. The power of Caine’s Arcade is that it makes us excited and eager to know the stories of all those passionate, motivated, creative kids out there. Let’s go find them.

Learn more about Caine’s Arcade.

Anne Bunce wears many hats at Six Red Marbles. She is a writer and editor extraordinaire for the sciences as well the humanities.  She is currently immersed in digital education projects in STEM curricula. Anne has a special interest in how to foster and maintain creativity in schools and in the workplace. Outside of work, Anne's favorite pastime is being entertained by her two daughters--as she says, "I won the kid lottery...twice!"


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