'Caine's Arcade' cardboard project is viral hit

"Caine's Arcade," a film about a 9-year-old boy and his cardboard arcade, has made the boy an online star.

The film centers around Caine Monroy, who spent his summer vacation building his own cardboard arcade in his dad's used auto parts store. He started with a basketball game, then moved on to a soccer game that used plastic green army figures as goalies.

"Caine does not stop by an arcade without stopping in," his dad, George, said in the film. "So it was only natural for him to build his own arcade."

Each game became more complex, including a claw machine that uses a string and an s-shaped hook. The online film's about page stated it went unnoticed as the East Los Angeles store does much of its business on eBay and gets little foot traffic. The arcade grew until it took up much of the store.

Caine's constant efforts to get customers eventually drew in Nirvan Mullick. He bought a "fun pass" good for 500 turns in a month and, impressed with Caine's efforts, came back to ask George if he could make a short film.

The short film went online, reaching the front page of Reddit and attention of news crews as Mullick organized a flashmob to give Caine "the biggest surprise of his life."

"Caine is a killer," the Los Angeles Times reported Mullick recently tweeted. "He has been making thousands of grown men weep at work."

Mashable reported that the 11-minute film has been viewed 1.6 million times on Vimeo and over 900,000 times on YouTube. The Facebook page has attracted more than 48,000 likes.

Mullick had originally headed to the shop to buy a handle for his '96 Corolla. It led to what the Times said Caine told his dad was the best day of his life as he arrived at the store to find a crowd ready to play.

It also is paying off for Caine through a scholarship fund that Mullick set up, saying "imagine what this kid could build with an engineering degree."

As of Thursday morning the fund had reached more than $110,382.

TMZ said Thursday an L.A. pinball shop invited Caine to check out the store and offered him one of several pinball machines on the house.

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