My mom never liked La Mirada Mall in La Mirada, California. She disliked its oddly-shaped, meandering layout and found it a pain to navigate.
As a kid, I thought La Mirada Mall was the coolest. It seemed massive at the time, and it had everything a kid could want: movie theater, arcade, food court, and plenty of shops to help you waste an afternoon with shopping.
I spent a lot of afternoons at Noah’s Arkade in the La Mirada Mall. The early 1980s were the height of the arcade video game craze. For a while it seemed like every mall had an arcade. Although I was never a huge video game junkie, I did enjoy the arcade scene from time to time. We didn’t have internet, streaming movies, or downloadable books at our disposal, so it passed time quite nicely.
Noah’s Arkade was located next to the mall’s food court. Unsurprisingly, it was designed to look like Noah’s ark. It wasn’t the most impressive arcade in the area. That honor probably went to Show Boat in City of Industry, but it had enough games to entertain a kid for hours. Back then, I thought it was a two-story arcade . In hindsight though, the “second floor” was a ramp to a small overhang area with more games.
Whether I was at the mall with friends or my family, we always capped off a trip to the movies with a visit to Noah’s Arkade. My parents would order a drink (Orange Julius or maybe it was a copycat beverage) and pretzel from the food court, find a table, give us a handful of coins, and my siblings and I would head to Noah’s Arkade where I’d usually blow my quarters on Galaga, Galaxian, or Space Invaders.
My older brother loved Noah’s Arkade so much that my parents bought him a t-shirt from there for one of his birthdays. I remember playing with him in our backyard, having a disagreement, him saying something rude to me, and turning to walk away. Before he could make a clean getaway, I grabbed the back of his Noah’s Arkade shirt to stop him and rrrrrrrrrr-rip. For weeks afterward, my brother stubbornly wore the shirt around the house anyway. I always felt a pang of guilt when I’d see the ripped part of his shirt flopping around whenever he moved. He probably wore that shirt to make me feel guilty for ruining it. Mission accomplished, bro.
If you want to leave your own memories of Noah’s Arkade in the comment section, I’d love to read them.