Yes it’s very fun that Caine Monroy’s arcade has inspired kids all over the world and that we can all celebrate the fun of children’s imaginations. I’m very touched by “Caine’s Arcade” and the new followup video below.
But before I fly all the way to L.A. to play in this thing, will someone give me a straight-up, no-bullshit answer: Is this arcade actually shitty?
Look, if we’re all just pretending the arcade works and giving him points for trying, I’m OK with that! I won’t tell him! I’ll keep “liking” these videos on Facebook and adding a caption about how my faith in humanity is restored. Maybe I’ll still swing by next time I’m in L.A. But I just don’t want to get my hopes up, you know?
I used to love arcade games. The mall had a free-tokens deal for kids who showed their report cards, and my grades earned me enough levels of The Simpsons to beat Smithers. I remember the exciting work in VR and life-size motorcycle controllers that you just can’t replicate at home. And this was in the 90s. So when I went to a Dave & Busters this year, I expected contemporary games to blow me away. But they were the same shit, plus a few games ported from iPhone. Why would I pay 50 cents per round for a game I can play forever on my phone?
And that’s what a multimillion dollar company is capable of. What’s a ten-year-old gonna give me? Are his games calibrated to be winnable but challenging? Are the ticket prizes stimulating? Has the business gone downhill as Caine develops a profit motive? I’m sure he’s very charming! I’m sure he’s a blast to hang out with! I just want to know if the games are also objectively high-quality as well.
Anyway, once bitten, twice shy. So if you’ve played at Caine’s Arcade and it sucks, send me an email, I’ll keep it secret, and thank you.