Do you remember back when you were a little kid when the rules of your games were adapted as they went along? When the length of your long productive days “work” was limited only by the lengths of your imagination? Spending a day as a volunteer of Caines Arcade was like being invited back into the best moments of my own childhood, a refreshing way to shed the stresses of adult life and go back to the purest forms of creation. Caine’sArcade has been around for a over 6 months, starting in his dads used auto parts store in the industrial part of East LA. 9 year old, Caine had crafted his arcade games out of cardboard working to design and perfect them before placing them in the front part of the store.
Though the store itself is in a remote location where customers seldom go, Caines Arcade (open most Saturdays) has become an item of attraction on its own. In the one day I was there, between the bike tour, random drop bys and an entire school bus full of San Jose High School students, I saw possibly hundreds of people stop by. The success of Caines Arcade is obvious with many feeling their childhood imaginations re-sparked and/or remembering the value of the mind of a child. Caine now sits with set tour dates, various media attention, an art summer program at MIT and even a pending scholarship program that has already risen over $125,000 dollars for his future education. Caines Arcade has led to off shoot programs being inspired by his creativity and now looking to help expand the creativity for more children.
Despite his obvious success, Caines biggest point of interest seemed to be less about business and more about the art itself. He seemed to prefer working on his future game designs over taking pictures with the various fans or selling t-shirts. Caine’sArcadeseemed to run purely on imagination instead of capital and it seemed to me that Caines want to create would have remained the same despite all the positive encouragement of those around him. The most appreciative of the bunch seemed to be the children who shyly thanked him for letting them play at his arcade and worked on new game designs of their own- even offering small bits of business advice here and there.
Caines games and arcade is supported by his family and various volunteers who spend their time handing out tickets, prizes, hang out the signs, put out art supplies and provide refreshments in support of Caines vision. The fervor around this arcade makes it clear that there is something larger going on. Watching grown adults line up to play these games and buy their cardboard made “fun passes” shows that this is about more than just one child, its an arena the children in all of us. The arcade reminds us of what most of us have long forgotten.
You can check out more about Caine and his arcade – http://cainesarcade.com
The documentary also available at – http://vimeo.com/40000072