News


Palo Alto boys open old-school arcade

Retro and homemade games in garage inspire neighborhood fun on Saturday afternoons

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.

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Comments

2 people like this
Posted by mom
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Mar 4, 2017 at 7:35 am

[Post removed.]


5 people like this
Posted by Space Balls
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 4, 2017 at 7:44 am

[Post removed.]


6 people like this
Posted by Tom DuBois
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 4, 2017 at 9:22 am

Tom DuBois is a registered user.

This sounds great! Can't wait to check it out. Roadblasters was my game, back in the day.


5 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 4, 2017 at 10:42 am

Frogger. Like crossing many a street in Palo Alto.


9 people like this
Posted by kohlson
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 4, 2017 at 11:20 am

Nice story. Echoing the comments made in this nice story. What great kids.


9 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 4, 2017 at 11:47 am

How industrious and generous! Well done!


9 people like this
Posted by Fascinating
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 4, 2017 at 2:29 pm

Wow, this sounds like quite a well put together enterprise, especially with kids so young getting started with community oriented objectives. Where is it located? I would love to check it out. Did not see an address in the article nor the website.


4 people like this
Posted by OJ Arcade Co.
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Mar 4, 2017 at 4:02 pm

Please check our website again as it now has our address.


5 people like this
Posted by Fascinating
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 4, 2017 at 8:42 pm

Still didn't find it....Can you provide the URL here? Not found at this page: Web Link


2 people like this
Posted by Impressed
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Mar 4, 2017 at 8:52 pm

[Post removed.]


10 people like this
Posted by too serious
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 4, 2017 at 8:56 pm

another example of PA kids over doing it
honestly 11 year olds focused on building community and raising $ for the needy.... screams of too serious youth and a focus on the college spp st such a young age
why does everything have to make a statement
come on - do it for fun!!!
raise money to buy candy, toys, miore games etc


12 people like this
Posted by Melaine Hennessey
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Mar 4, 2017 at 10:41 pm

Dear Too Serious:
My triplets have been to the OJ Arcade several times. It's all about having fun and playing games. The raising money part came second. And making friends is just another name for building community. Whatever you call it, a good time is being had by all. We're lucky to have them for neighbors!
Prize Wheel All The Way Baby


8 people like this
Posted by Bella
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 5, 2017 at 2:07 am

What a beautiful idea and a great bunch of kids. I'm in love!


8 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 6, 2017 at 11:16 am

Annette is a registered user.

If this forum included emojis I would insert clapping hands and a smiling face. Kudos to you, Owen and Jacob (and Bah Humbug to any critics out there).


4 people like this
Posted by Sue Allen
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 6, 2017 at 12:00 pm

Hoorah for these kids. I'm so tired of every minute being organized for PA children. They think they can't run next door without a 'play date.' I just hope some over-zealous city worker doesn't get after them for running a business in a residential zone. :o)


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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