It was a recent bright and sunny Saturday afternoon in the Leland Manor neighborhood of Palo Alto when friends Jacob Prabhu and Owen Yeh-Lee, both 11 years old, opened up their arcade again to welcome neighborhood kids and parents. Almost every Saturday the two boys run the arcade, which is located inside Jacob's garage, from 3 to 7 p.m.
Opened on Feb. 7, 2016, it is full of classic arcade games, such as Atari Roadblasters, as well as a "multicade" machine that holds over 60 classic games, including titles like "Donkey Kong" and "Frogger." A vintage pinball machine stands in the back corner. There are also a few games the boys have constructed, like a prize wheel fitted with a sign that greets the visitor immediately upon entering.
"First he got the pinball machine," said Owen, pointing to his business partner.
Jacob interjected, "Someone was giving it away."
When asked why they had chosen to build the arcade around classic games, Owen said that the games are fun for kids and might even still appeal to adults who grew up with them.
Owen and Jacob have named their business OJ Arcade, the initials representing their names. Most games cost about 25 cents to play. The pair accept larger donations as well and have decided not to use the money the arcade generates for themselves.
"We made $300 and donated it," Jacob said, with Owen adding that they are interested in helping others.
"We chose to donate to the Brentwood Academy School Library (in East Palo Alto) because not everyone has access to a library," Jacob said.
The boys shake off any praise they get when it comes to their decision to donate.
"This is all about community-building and making friends," Owen said.
As soon as the arcade had officially opened for the day, it was full of neighborhood children -- as well as parents. It wasn't long before each game was taken over and the garage was filled with the sounds of laughing, yelling and vintage sound effects.
"These kids are geniuses," said Norman Silverman, smiling as he looked on at the spectacle. He is a grandfather in the neighborhood who takes his granddaughter to the arcade almost every weekend.
"I'm proud that we're making the most out of our community," Jacob said.
Owen quickly echoed his friend: "We like seeing the community have fun."
Details and information about the arcade can be found at ojarcade.weebly.com.