The touch screen on my phone stopped working a couple of weeks ago, and I had to drive all the way to Paradise Valley Mall to get a new phone, since that’s where the AT&T warranty center is. PV mall was a major hangout for me all through the entire 1990′s. First when I used to visit my grandparents, and they would drop me off there for hours. I would hang out at the arcade “Pocket Change” (a place where great romances were later born) next to the infamous Orange Julius(now a chinese food place) playing Cruisin USA(possibly the best car game ever with the exception of Fzero for SNES.) and spend time in the Vans skate shop. Basically I just wandered the mall and daydreamed, the same stuff I still do now.
In the summer of 1996 when I moved to Phoenix, I knew absolutely no one, and as such going out with friends for me simply meant going to the mall by myself which was the closest I could get to actual human interaction(late night trips to Denny’s were also common.) The first Friday night that I spent in Phoenix, I went to the PV Mall theater and saw “Escape From L.A.” by myself. I always had a love for Los Angeles(and would later live there and subsequently make my own daring escape) Anyway, I remember the movie projector broke about 20 minutes into the movie, and so they gave everyone free movie passes to come back. I returned the very next day to see it again at the matinee showing.
For one of my first demo tapes in 1998, Oliver Hibert drew me a picture of the pv mall food court which I used as the cover. The mall closed down the arcade that same year, because they no longer wanted the place to be a teen hangout and didn’t like the type of people they were attracting(there was famously a stabbing/shooting there where someone was killed.)
I had an apartment across the street from PV mall for a brief period in 1999 before moving to Los Angeles. It was at a place called Paradise Point. I’d go to the mall every day and spend hours there.
Anyhow, more than 10 years later there I was, returning to my old stomping ground. I was taken aback by how small the place really is. How on Earth did I ever spend so much time there? It’s only one floor. There are like only two directions you can walk, and neither of them go very far.
I was pleased to see they actually brought back the arcade. Only now it’s called “Tilt”, and is only about half the size and is mostly an empty/self maintained video game room. There is no attendant or prize booth> The place just isn’t the bustling, action packed, hooligan teen headquarters it once was. It almost serves as a museum or memorial to the old arcade.
The old PV mall actually reminds me of Logan’s Run, which was filmed in a mall that was built around the same time period(mid to late 70′s) and looks very similar in design(or used to before PV mall was substantially remodeled.) The mall logan’s run was filmed in was demolished in 2006. Strangely, while attending the Dallas Guitar Show in 2007, I’ve actually stayed in a hotel in Dallas that’s right across from where the Logan’s Run mall used to be.
In another eerie Logan’s Run coincidence, at some point Paradise Valley Mall appears to have added a “Carousel” adjacent to the food court.
The security guards at PV mall were always notorious assholes, the stereotypical mall rent-a cops who comically take their job way too seriously. After I managed to take this one harmless cellphone photo, they promptly descended upon me like a pack of idiots to inform me that “cameras and photos are not allowed.” It was almost (but not quite) enough to ruin my trip down memory lane.