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Taking a look at what makes Caine’s Arcade so special

caine entertaining some arcade patrons

By now we’ve all seen the Caine’s Arcade film, yes? So inspiring! We think what makes Caine’s cardboard creations so special is the sheer amount of work and thought that goes into all of them. We’re pretty sure most of us have taken a big cardboard box and with the help of some construction paper or crayons turned it into a car, but those creations, though surely brilliant, rely heavily on imagination. Caine’s creations rely on ingenuity. He cuts a slit for tickets to come out of a game after you win, and he himself crawls into the box to make it spit out the tickets. Caine’s Arcade is all about the details. And you can see that dedication to detail in Caine’s copycats, the kids are going for functionality. It’s incredible.

So do you and your kids want to make some Caine’s Arcade-esque creations? Here are some tips that might come in handy:

  • Get some Makedo. We’ve mentioned Makedo before as an awesome way to amp up your cardboard creations. You can snap bits of cardboard to other cardboard, give a door a hinge or make wheels that actually turn. Makedo is so cool.
  • Make a blueprint. Take an engineer’s approach rather than an artist’s (unless you’re doing an art project). Talk about what you want your creation to be and what it’s supposed to do. Caine’s got a mini basketball hoop attached to one of the boxes; if you’re making a basketball game, do you have a surface for the ball to roll back to the player on?
  • Create some pay-off. Is there a clear goal to the game, like getting a ball from one end of a maze to the other, or is it getting as many points as possible within a certain time frame
  • Speaking of time frame, how about incorporating non-cardboard objects like stopwatches to help out your games. Caine punches codes into calculators, but we’re pretty sure you could find a good use for some touch lights.
  • Tape! Get so much tape! And not scotch tape, get some duct or packing tape to help put any cardboard creations together.
  • Get someone else to take a look at the creation before you’re completely done. Can they figure out how it’s suppose to work? Is the game at all intuitive? Recruit a family member or a friend to act as a mini focus group to see how your game is coming along.

As for the games themselves, we’ve got a few ideas:

  • DIY Whac-a-Mole — Cut holes in the top of a box and have a kid move your mole around the box and make it emerge from different spots.
  • DIY Skeeball — You’ll probably have to take one box apart and make one good cut so you have one long surface. Anchor the top end of the skeeball surface to the top of a chair or box so that it slops down. Use old yogurt or sour cream containers for the top-most point buckets, use cardboard for the other slopes. Please someone make this; we want to play.
  • DIY Plinko — The greatest of all Price is Right games! You need one big, flat surface and a million popsicle sticks. Create different prize buckets at the bottom of the Plinko board using smaller boxes or yogurt containers.

What arcade game would you like to see madeover in cardboard?

For inspiration, here are some other games that kids have made, here’s the official theme song and here are some fun things you can make out of cardboard.

Photo by chickpokipsie via Flickr

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