The name Caine Monroy may not ring a bell. But the 9-year-old from East Los Angeles has become an overnight sensation with a viral film made about his homemade cardboard arcade games.

Monroy was in San Francisco this past weekend as “Caine’s Arcade” was featured at the Exploratorium’s Open MAKE event. The events are a collaboration between the Exploratorium, MAKE Magazine and Pixar Animation Studios, highlighting the tools, techniques and ingenuity of local Makers.

Caine’s father George said that his son loved arcades and would always want to go in whenever they passed one. Caine went to work with his dad and found a bunch of empty cardboard boxes at the used auto parts store. Using a little ingenuity, he started to build his own arcade games out of the empty boxes, hoping that people would come by to play them. Filmmaker Nirvan Mullick, who was looking for a part for his car, stumbled upon the boy’s creations and decided to make a short film about the handmade games.

The film has become an online sensation with more than 2.5 million views on YouTube since being uploaded on April 9. And Caine’s arcade has seen lines of people everyday, even when he is at school.

With the video being such a huge success, Mullick helped to create a website as well and they are collecting donations to help pay for Caine to go to college. And now with the birth of the Caine’s Arcade Foundation, the Goldhirsh Foundation has pledged to match donations dollar-for-dollar up to $250,000. They have already raised an amazing $186,000 and the foundation will also help other innovative young kids like Caine with funding for school.



Photo Credit: Caine’s Arcade