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Caine's Arcade, Heartwarming Viral Video Sensation, Comes To San Francisco's Exploratorium

By Posted: 04/20/2012 8:27 pm Updated: 04/20/2012 8:27 pm

Caines Arcade

If you haven't already done so, it's absolutely imperative that you watch the video about Caine's Arcade embedded above.

The story of 9-year old Caine Monroy, who built an adorably functioning arcade out of cardboard boxes inside of his father auto parts store in East Los Angeles, is virtually guaranteed to melt the icy facade of even the most jaded cynic into a sniffling puddle of joyous inspiration.

Until now, the only way for people outside of the L.A. area to experience the arcade was through the magic of YouTube (or possibly Vimeo); however, young Caine has decided to take his show on the road with a stop at The Exploraorium in San Francisco's Palace of Fine Arts.

On Saturday, April 21st, the arcade will be featured as part of the Exploratorium's "Open MAKE: Trash" exhibition for your gaming enjoyment between the hours of 10am and 4pm. Just buy a "fun pass" and play until your heart's content.

Caine himself will be on hand to answer questions at 1pm and Nirvan Mullick, the filmmaker whose work turned the precocious youngster into an overnight internet sensation, will be answering questions at 3pm.

On the short film's website, Mullick describes how he first discovered the arcade:

Caine dreamed of the day he would have lots of customers visit his arcade, and he spent months preparing everything, perfecting the game design, making displays for the prizes, designing elaborate security systems, and hand labeling paper-lunch-gift-bags. However, his dad’s autoparts store...gets almost zero foot traffic, so Caine's chances of getting a customer were very small, and the few walk in customers that came through were always in too much of a hurry to get their auto part to play Caine’s Arcade. But Caine never gave up.

One day, by chance, I walked into Smart Parts Auto looking for a used door handle for my '96 Corolla. What I found was an elaborate handmade cardboard arcade manned by a young boy who asked if I would like to play. I asked Caine how it worked and he told me that for $1 I could get two turns, or for $2 I could get a Fun Pass with 500 turns. I got the Fun Pass.

A scholarship fund has been set up to help Caine go to college and the Goldhirsh Foundation has pledged a $250,000 dollar-for-dollar matching donation for the newly established Caine's Arcade Foundation. For every dollar donated to the scholarship fund, the foundation will give another dollar toward supporting entrepreneurship among young children.

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Filed by Aaron Sankin  |