Mike Alfaro '10 poses with Latinx Club
Millennial Loteria creator Mike Alfaro '10, front, poses with Chapman University's Latinx Club.

Chapman Alumnus Shares Millennial Loteria With Students Mike Alfaro ’10, known for giving modern twist to classic game, plays with Latinx Club

Since Mike Alfaro graduated from Chapman University in 2010, his lighthearted and updated take on the iconic bingo-like game Loteria has given him a large digital following and drawn the notice of Kelly Clarkson and the Los Angeles Times.

On Nov. 14 Alfaro returned to Chapman to play his game that started it all, Millennial Loteria, with Chapman’s Latinx Club and talk about his creative and personal journey.

“I loved seeing the passion and community that this club has built around our shared culture,” he said. “I’m very happy to see how the community has become a family.”

The Latinx Club has played Millennial Loteria – which Alfaro created in 2017 – since they heard about it a few years ago. In September, they were playing it with passers-by at their table in Argyros Forum and posted an Instagram story photo of it, tagging Alfaro’s account.

“To our surprise, he reposted us on his Instagram,” said Aaron Gutierrez, the club’s event coordinator. “We were all super excited and shocked that he reposted us, let alone saw our story to begin with.”

They communicated with Alfaro about collaborating, leading to his return to Chapman – two weeks after the birth of his first child.

Alfaro, who is Guatemalan, told the Latinx Club that there was a time when he would get questions about his background and realized there were stereotypes of Latinos, including younger Latinos.

“We kind of got stereotyped with our parents’ generation or grandparents’ generation,” he said.

He felt “pulled between two different cultures.”

“I found myself at the cross between how much do you assimilate, how much do you retain of your culture, what’s the right amount – do you see yourself as 50% Latino, 50% American?” he said.

He realized that seeing himself as 100% both was the best view.

“For me, Millennial Loteria was an expression of that. It was a way to showcase a different side of Latinos in a modern, playful way that incorporated pop culture that represented us,” he said.

Alfaro’s updates to the game – which has sold more than 500,000 copies since he started the concept on Instagram – included pop culture staples like “La Selfie,” “La Feminist” and “El Brunch.” 

Gutierrez said that the Nov. 14 event was “super important and significant for Chapman’s Latinx student body.”

“For (Alfaro) to come back to Chapman University and talk to current Chapman students is very inspirational for not only Latinx students at Chapman, but Latinx people everywhere,” he said. “To see a Latino immigrant achieve all these huge milestones is very empowering to the entire Latinx community.”

“It’s so needed and timely,” Alfaro said. “The Latino population is only getting bigger, so these activities reflect that change.”

Alfaro, who has 270,000 followers on TikTok and 92,000 followers on Instagram, just released a “Y2K” version of Millennial Loteria. The game is sold at Target and Alfaro says demand for Latino content and games keeps growing.

“It has been a dream come true to see my work being not only accepted by people, but celebrated and incorporated into special moments like holidays and birthdays when people play,” he said.

The Latinx Club event was sponsored by the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Joy Juedes

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