In April 2012 film maker Nirvan Mullirk posted a video documentary online about 9 year old Caine and his cardboard arcade. The video became an instant viral sensation generating over six million views on YouTube and Vimeo.
After spending his summer vacation going to work with his Dad, Caine used his time converting the shop’s spare boxes into arcade games. Eventually his arcade took over the whole shop. He used old toys for prizes and charged $1 dollar for 4 turns or $2 for a fun pass which gave you 500 turns. He even rated his games using stars and created a security system to know if the fun passes were real or not. As great as his arcade was he only ever had one customer, Nirvan Mullirk.
Through the use of social media Mullirk set up an event on Facebook to get people to go to Caine’s arcade. It was reposted on Hidden LA, another Facebook page and made the front page of reddit as well as attracting news crews. Even a song was written about his arcade which can be purchased on Bandcamp or iTunes .
4 months on
Since the video went live Mullirk had a goal to raise $250,000 for Caine’s college fund and so far this has reached $216,196.22. News reporters are tipping him to be a future billionaire with the entrepenuerial spirit he’s shown at the tender age of 9. Caine traveled to France & was youngest speaker ever at the Cannes Lions 2012. He was also the youngest ever entrepreneur to speak at USC Marshall School of Business.
His arcade has inspired kids around the world to get creative making their own games with cardboard boxes. In 2 months, over 100 Schools in 9 Countries created cardboard arcades inspired by the film.
This has spawned the launch of the ‘imagination foundation’, which aims to find, foster, and fund creativity and entrepreneurship in kids like Caine. Schools are being encouraged to take part in project based learning to teach kids maths, science and engineering. Not just to give them the tools to imagine but to help them imagine a world they can build.
On Oct 6th the global cardboard challenge takes place to bring the whole world together to celebrate, build and play. For Caine it started with an empty cardboard box and for Mullirk it started with a door handle.
Caine’s arcade is a superb example of how the rise of social media has made journey’s such as Caine’s exist. Through the use of video and sharing sites, a very simple and inexpensive idea can be appreciated and matured by thousands. In what world before social media would people have found out about and flown thousands of miles to play a 9 year olds cardboard arcade?