Dad creates a personalized arcade video game for his autistic son

After a small arcade game toy caught Michael Furr’s attention at the store, his father built a life-size version from scratch.

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina – Editor’s note: The above video is from 2019.

After his son fell in love with a small arcade game toy at the store, this father built him the real deal from scratch.

Mike Furr says he’s been a handyman since he was a kid, wiring the phones in his family’s house when he was 8.

As an adult, he worked as an engineer in hotels until the pandemic forced his employer to fire him.

“I was bored to death and out of work. The pandemic hurt me,” he said.

So when his son, Michael, noticed an arcade game toy at Walmart, Mike jumped at the chance to work on a project.

Michael, 18, was diagnosed with autism at the age of 3. He is predominantly non-verbal and experiences severe emotional crises, including attempts to escape from his home and school, his father said.

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The energy required to deal with Michael’s behavior has been taxing on his family, according to Mike.

“It was a struggle,” he said.

But despite the challenges, Michael has found some hobbies he is good at, such as directing and editing short films with special effects. According to Mike, his son is also a “halfway comedian,” always finding ways to make his father laugh.

Video games are also a source of calm for Michael. His father explains that Michael likes to imitate the sounds of games while playing.

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So when Michael was shopping with his dad at Walmart, he was especially drawn to an arcade game toy.

But Mike thought the game, which was smaller than a typical arcade system, was a “scam,” costing around $ 400 as he remembered it.

Being the handyman that he is, Mike saw the game as a challenge to build a better version for his son. So he bought a stereo, a computer system loaded with games and wood for the frame.

In two weeks, he built a bigger and better gaming system than the one his son had seen in the store.

“He collapsed,” recalls Mike.

In the future, Mike also hopes to add a mini-fridge to the bottom of the unit.

Since the end of the project, another family with an autistic child has requested a similar model, which Mike is working on.

Because no one knows the unique challenges and joys of parenting a child with autism better than they do.

“You have to have patience. A lot, a lot of patience,” he said.

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