It could be said that the road to going viral is paved with unintended consequences, and good intentions of a different sort, all combined into the perfect moment. Perhaps this is how to explain the latest viral sensation, Caine’s Arcade that took the world by storm months ago and continues to spread. By now Caine’s Arcade is an arcade, a film, a foundation and a worldwide movement. But it all began with a creative and possibly bored nine year-old boy who set out to kill some time and entertain himself. Caine used the boxes in the back of his father’s auto parts store to create a cardboard arcade without any electronic parts. Caine opened his arcade to the public with bargain priced tickets. Nothing happened until an equally creative and inspired film maker happened by the store. That chance encounter launched a film and an effort by the filmmaker to get customers for Caine’s cardboard arcade and also to get donations for Caine’s college fund.
It was the so called “perfect moment” that launched a viral sensation. In a short while Caine’s Arcade became a trending topic on twitter. It made the front page of Reddit and all of a sudden, both printed and broadcast media showed up to cover the story of the boy and the cardboard arcade. Donations soared into hundreds of thousands of dollars. The filmmaker, Nirvan Mullick who was charmed and inspired by Caine and his arcade also saw his profile raised from relative unknown, driving a crappy car to some kind of hero. He had set out to do something he loved, filming, and do something nice for a creative little boy, and somehow the perfect moment resulted. Amid all the world’s glorious and advanced, digital technology, a cardboard arcade was suddenly the thing. Social media also played a part, and soon enough kids around the world were making their own cardboard games and posting them to YouTube. All of which leads to the question, do perfect moments just happen or can they be engineered?