Avatar image for dr_monocle
#1 Edited by dr_monocle (344 posts) -

Listening to the most recent Beastcast I got to thinking about (and, sure, feeling a little nostalgic for) the days of making trips to brick and mortar video game rental spots. I live in perhaps one of the most densely populated counties in the US and actually had quite a few choices when I was younger as to where to get my fix. There was a Blockbuster on my way from school that my mother would stop at every Friday so that I could peruse the isles for something to entertain me for the weekend. I remember seeing all the SNES boxing sitting on the shelves and hoping against hope that they would have the manual with them. There was also a Palmer video (that later became a Hollywood Video, that later became a West Coast Video) within walking distance from our house. And, of course, inventory varied by location so I would have to convince my mother to drive two towns over to rent Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters. Yes.

Once I sat in a nearby pizza place, waiting for the food and thumbing through the pages of the Street Fighter Alpha 2 manual in anticipation of plopping in front of the family TV and pulling off whatever limited combos I was capable of at the time. I ended up with about 7 SNES carts of my own, but renting gave me access to such a vast array of games that my family never would have been able to purchase. $5 and 3 days.

When the Dreamcast came out the West Coast Video (of which there were several...and I live on the east coast!) near me started renting consoles with a $100 deposit. I never did persuade my parents to throw down the cash for that, but I probably ended up grabbing some PS1 game and one of the loose basketball cards from the machine near the exit.

So, does anyone have any rental place memories and/or anecdotes? Seems like it was eons ago, was probably more money than it was worth, but I still miss a lot of the feelings tied to it if that makes any sense.

Edit: I goofed. My neighborhood Palmer Video became a West Coast Video and then became Hollywood Video. Most stores that weren't Blockbuster became Hollywood around me.

Avatar image for hassun
#2 Edited by Hassun (7881 posts) -

I'm still sometimes surprised when I look at my collection of PS1 games. (By all accounts an incredibly strong generation with a large variety of games.) It's so small!

And then I realise that I didn't have a lot of money back then and rented almost everything I played. Especially because there was a local TV station which had contest they ran on teletext where you could win games and/or a rental card for a local games store. I figured out that they didn't seem to randomize the entries so if you submitted your answer as soon as the contest went up you had a lot of chance of winning. I think I won it 3 times and each of the rental cards allowed you 23 3-day rentals.

... I think I used an entire card on FFVII.

Avatar image for citizencoffeecake
#3 Posted by citizencoffeecake (1322 posts) -

I have a few random and vague but fond rental memories. I live in the midwest and there were Blockbusters and Hollywood Videos around here (the Hollywood video is also a mattress store now which made me laugh when Alex mentioned that on the podcast). I remember renting Grand Theft Auto III at Blockbuster (which is now an Aaron's rental store) and being so excited that I was being allowed to rent it. I also played Mario 64 for the first time there years before and it blew me away.

Our local grocery store also rented games and movies. Back when the SNES was on its way out, that grocery store would let you rent 5 games for 5 dollars. It was pretty awesome even if their selection was a bit sparse.

When I was a kid my family would frequently visit my grandmother and aunt who lived about an hour and a half away in a fairly small town and the rental place there was called Video Giant. The store was big and had a ton of games, I remember when it opened it had a huge inflated giant on the roof that swayed in the wind, didn't last too long though as people used it for target practice (or so I was told). It was always a good time to go to Video Giant and rent a couple SNES games for the weekend.

Avatar image for tanookisuit
#4 Posted by TanookiSuit (488 posts) -

There was a place called Lakeview Video in the town I grew up. I loved this place! They had a great selection of NES, SNES, Master System, Genesis and SEGA CD games(when those came around).

I remember going there on Friday nights after school, and mostly renting MegaMan X2 for weekends on end - I can beat the game in a sitting now, but back then it was a fresh challenge. Notebook with all my passwords written down at the ready by my SNES.

They went out of business once Blockbuster Video came to town a couple blocks down the road. As they were going out of business, I picked up a copy of Prince of Persia for rather cheap from them. I missed out on buying that X2 cart, which by all accounts for how often I rented it, should have been mine, but alas...

Prince of Persia was still a DOPE game and really challenging for a teen who hadn't played it on the PC ages ago. I still have that copy of PoP. I miss normal video stores some times.

That's my story. Please like and subscribe.

Avatar image for wynnduffy
#5 Edited by WynnDuffy (1014 posts) -

I have a really fond memory of Christmas 2002. My friend's mom rented us GTA Vice City and 5 of us played it taking turns to see who could last the longest while wanted. Later on that night I remember feeling really sick and crying about my stomach hurting. Still great though.

Avatar image for captain_insano
#6 Posted by Captain_Insano (2702 posts) -

I remember the Playstation came out around the time my parents separated. Dad rented one a couple of times when I would stay with him from Blockbuster. I don't know what it's like in the US but to me, all Blockbuster stores had a particular Blockbuster smell - maybe it was their brand of popcorn that stood out. I'm pretty sure the first game I played we hired the light gun as well and I worked my way through Time Crisis.

I hired a lot of games as I got older. The one that stands out to me is a much later one - hiring Bioshock and finishing it in just over a day before it had to be returned - that was a bad way to play that particular game.

Remember when stores would run out of copies of movies and game? No greater disappointment than seeing the game/movie case but not the box behind it that you would take to the desk to hire.

Avatar image for huntad
#7 Posted by huntad (2346 posts) -

Around the beginning or middle part of the PS2's life cycle, just before the Xbox was released, Blockbuster had this Summer games pass where you could rent 1 (or 2, I forget) games and return them at any time so long as you were a pass holder. It was kind of like a subscription service. The only catch was that I lived up on a big hill at the time, and I would constantly walk down the hill, return my game, rent a new one, then walk all the way back up. I was doing this so many times per week that I ended up playing almost all of the games I wanted to. I have never heard anyone else speak of this Summer pass thing, so I don't know if the employees fucked up, or if it was really how it was supposed to be.

I also enjoyed going to Hollywood video from time to time and checking out what was going on at the Game Crazy. It was a neat time to play and enjoy games.

Sort of unrelated, but I really liked how all arcade games on the 360 had a demo. It made it a lot easier to decide whether or not to buy the games at full price.

Avatar image for rongalaxy
#8 Posted by RonGalaxy (4688 posts) -

There was a place called video treats in my home town I rented games from occasionally. One of the games I rented was mgs2, which is one of my all time favorites. Definitely have a lot of nostalgia for that place, but mostly for movies.

Avatar image for boozak
#9 Edited by BoOzak (1717 posts) -

There was a Blockbusters within walking distance of my house that I would go to every week, I remember actually enjoying the trip down in anticipation of getting and beating a new game, even if I had to sometimes remind the staff that said game had come out. (bet they loved me) I also discovered some really cool games like the original Nier which I ended up buying because I wanted to savor the experience. (also I wasnt sure I could finish it in a week)

Avatar image for csl316
#10 Posted by csl316 (13915 posts) -

I was just thinking about rentals this week, as my game collection now is so expansive but I only owned a handful of Genesis/Playstation games. But I played hundreds, thanks to renting.

Aside from Blockbuster, there was a place called Classic Video we spent a LOT of time in. There was a year when we'd pop in every week to see if Half-Baked was in stock because that was the pinnacle of movies for awhile (and I don't even smoke). I still remember the first game I got to choose for a rental over my older brother, Final Fight CD. And how after Blu rays came out, the staff was talking about some of their regular Blu ray customers. What ballers, I thought.

I'm in the crew's "more money than time" phase of my life now, so I don't really need to play a ton of games anymore. But man, when I was a kid... renting was a HUGE part of our lives.

Avatar image for emperor_norton
#11 Edited by Emperor_Norton (90 posts) -

Got NES games from Blockbuster and an old pizza/video place near my house. I still have a copy of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles from them that I never returned. It's now a vape store. Then Blockbuster moved to a smaller location and got rid of all the VHS tapes with sexy ladies on the cover, but they had a decent selection of Genesis games (I also rented a Saturn from them, once). That Blockbuster also did some kind of national video game championship competition (with NBA Jam, Sonic 3 and another game that I can't remember?), but that's a whole different story. That Blockbuster is now a bank/sandwich shop.

Then Hollywood Video came in with a giant selection of PS1 and Xbox games (and a bunch of anime, foreign films and weird cult movies). Rented waaaay too much stuff from them. There's a chiropractor's office there now.

After I moved to the LA area I didn't rent anything for a good long while. There was a Game Crazy near my apartment, but it smelled funny and all the employees were morons. That location was empty for at least 5 years. Come to think of it, nearly every Hollywood Video/Blockbuster near me was empty for several years.

Then Redbox came along, but it was usually pretty tough to get new releases from them. Moved back to the midwest a few months ago and I seem to be the only person renting games from Redbox, and there are tons of kiosks nearby, so I get pretty much all major new games the day of release, which is pretty awesome.

Avatar image for ssully
#12 Edited by SSully (5277 posts) -

Some random renting memories:

- Renting was an occasional treat in my house and my parents usually did it for us a reward or for special occasions. Usually whenever my parents went out they would rent us a game, a movie, and pick us up junk food of choice before my older brother would watch me.

- My parents gave almost no oversight into the games they let me and my brother play as kids. For example, my Mom would let me rent Conker's Bad Fur Day constantly at the age of 12 or 13 (maybe even younger...). One time when renting the game, the Blockbuster employee let us know that we rented it so many times that we could have just bought the game twice over.

- Rented MGS3 as my very first Metal Gear game. I almost took it back to the store because I couldn't get past the opening menu. It was my first time running into a Japanese game where 'O' is for confirm and 'X' is for deny/back.

- Glover was maybe the worst game I ever rented. For whatever reason, my Mom was nice enough to drive me back to the Blockbuster on the same day and exchange it for something else.

- Was super bummed when I rented Paper Mario. I was expecting a platformer and obviously got something very different. Though, I do think I ended up liking the game after my initial disappointment wore off.

I know this applied for buying games back then too, but at that age I didn't know shit about reviews or have any idea of what quality was. Choosing what game to rent was completely based on two things - Is the box are cool? If so, turn over the box and see if it sounds cool. If both are cool, then that is what I rented. I think Vinny's adage of "It's the best time to be playing video games" is 100% true specifically because of how much better informed you can be as a customer these days. On a personal level, I get a feel for games from Giantbomb, reviews on various sites, and user reviews (taken with a grain of salt) on sites like Amazon. Even for kids though it's easy to find decent games. I have mixed feelings on youtubers, especially with how unregulated they are, but my younger cousin has asked me about (good) games multiple times because he saw let's plays of them on youtube.

Avatar image for sinusoidal
#13 Posted by Sinusoidal (3327 posts) -

Nothing like starting a 40-hour JRPG Friday night knowing you have to bring it back Monday morning and that there's no guarantee your save game will still be there next weekend.

Avatar image for dr_monocle
#14 Posted by dr_monocle (344 posts) -

@hassun: That's serious dedication. I kinda refrained from renting JRPGS for obvious reasons despite the fact that they were my first favorite genre after the platformers I grew up on. I do distinctly remember renting Jade Cocoon for some reason though...

@captain_insano:I do know what you mean about the smell. In my mind it's some kind of their popcorn (which you writing that totally reminded me that Hollywood Video had their own branded popcorn too) mixed with whatever they used to clean the carpets I guess.

Glad to see a lot of people were in a similar boat. Even if that boat got swept up into choppy waters. Like the time I wasted my rental of the week on that SNES Cool Spot game...

Avatar image for andythemez
#15 Posted by andythemeZ (69 posts) -

Long before digital downloads, the local mom and pop stores started going under. Somewhere between '99-02. Blockbuster and Hollywood Video stole their thunder, somehow, despite being more expensive and having higher late fees. Weirder still, the Electronics Boutique was pretty far away (the two malls, 10-15 miles at least) and KB Toys was just shutting down, right? Toys R Us would've only been in the mall, too. Don't know where people were buying games right then, locally. Game rentals must've completely went to BBV.

My local stores were just like the "shitty" one from Clerks, yet, BBV and HWV didn't seem like paradise at all like Randall experienced in that flick. Much preferred the mom and pop stores.

Remember the Sega Saturn being on the top shelf unsold forever till they were out of business, like a Ford dealership that keeps one GT40 in the showroom they know they'll never sell to local yokels.

Avatar image for casepb
#16 Posted by Casepb (208 posts) -

I rented a crap load of SNES games when I was little. Then before I had my own 64 I got to rent one with my cousin's help multiple times. Then I met a friend that had a PS1 and we would rent a PS1 and N64 game and stay up all night switching between the 2 systems. I remember renting a few GC games as well, but not that many PS2 games. I mostly bought and traded in PS2 games because I could afford to buy them since I would have summer jobs. PS2 and GC era I was in high school. After that I stopped renting. I don't remember renting a single game for PS3 or 360. I think Blockbuster was still around then right?

Avatar image for blackout62
#17 Posted by Blackout62 (2037 posts) -

This thread reminded me to answer that email from said Beastcast and lookup what my old Blockbuster of choice turned into.

The Trader Joe's that had always shared the building expanded onto where the Blockbuster had been.

My community was actually really good for small local video rental places. Both places I lived growing up had video rental places that were great at getting new movies. The second one even sold the posters they had on their walls so I have this great Casino Royale poster from them and my parent's house is littered with everything from Cloverfield to Superbad posters.

Avatar image for sinusoidal
#18 Posted by Sinusoidal (3327 posts) -

@dr_monocle: Cool Spot was great! At least the Genesis version. Was the SNES version different?

Avatar image for jay_ray
#19 Posted by jay_ray (1489 posts) -

I grew up in a small town on Vancouver Island but we had an amazing mom and pop rental store. Literally thousands of DVDs in the early/mid 2000's. They also had a ton of games that maintained an up to date library. It was a truly amazing place.

Loading up on some games for a weekend sleepover with friends was always awesome.

Anyway two rentals I clearly remember; me and my brother got a Xbox for Christmas. After some time of playing the pack in (Jet Set Radio Future!!!!!!) I hurriedly rented MGS2 (I have a peculiar introduction to MGS with the PC version). An all nighter on a Saturday later and it was magic. My first all nighter playing a game trying to finish it before having to return it. The entire experience was like a fever dream given the esoteric ending, me being 15, and no sleep.

The second was spring break, I wanted a longish game to play and I took a gamble on Shenmue 2. Never played the original (I don't know anyone who had a Dreamcast back then) but I remember reading about it in various magazines. Shenmue 2 blew me away, this was my first open world (closer to neighbourhood) game. The revenge story was fine but it was the openness of the world that drew me in.

Avatar image for dr_monocle
#20 Posted by dr_monocle (344 posts) -

@sinusoidal: Ehhh I mostly said that for yuks, I honestly don't remember too much about it other than playing the first level. Didn't really stay with me like-say-Sparkster, ya know? I did however also rent things like Chester Cheeto: Too Cool to Fool and Bubsy both of which I distinctly remember not liking.

Avatar image for arbitrarywater
#21 Posted by ArbitraryWater (14683 posts) -

My rental heyday was in the late-N64/early Gamecube period... which wasn't exactly a time abundant with quality games for those consoles. I rented Universal Studios Theme Park Adventure a few too many times because there was nothing else at the local Blockbuster (when you already own Luigi's Mansion and Rogue Squadron II is out of stock...) despite the part where that game is kind of a burning pile of shit. That period probably explains why I have weirdly fond memories of Lost Kingdoms, From Software's weird card-battling RPG that may or may not have actually been any good. I'm a little afraid of finding out. I also have weirdly fond memories of Cel Damage, which I'm more than willing to believe was not very good at all.

Eventually we moved onto renting stuff from Hastings and Hollywood Video, which had better selections and prices. I can clearly remember renting Tales of Symphonia and not knowing what the hell that game was as an 11 or 12-year-old not versed in JRPGs. Of course, I also distinctly remember renting Shadow the Hedgehog and getting every single ending for that game in one 5-day rental period... which may be as good a reflection on my tastes when I was younger as anything else. After that, I discovered the wonders of a local, extremely shady used media store that sold a lot of games for dirt cheap (think $13 for stuff only a year or two old) and wouldn't card you if you bought M-Rated stuff, which opened up its own weird paths for how I bought and sold games.

I believe the Blockbuster in my home town is now a health supplements (think "herbal remedies not endorsed by the FDA") store, the Hastings is now a hardware store, and the Hollywood Video is now a Men's Warehouse.

Avatar image for glots
#22 Posted by Glots (2864 posts) -

Had a couple of independent video stores in my hometown back when I was a kid and I rented Genesis games from the other one. Because I didn't really know any better, I just made most of my decisions based on how the covers looked. My buddy got a Playstation later on, but I really can't remember if he rented any games or just bought them.

It kicked the bucket sometime during the mid-2000 because of a bigger rental store franchise came to town and made it obsolete pretty quickly. That still exists here somehow. Probably because some people don't know Netflix exists.

Avatar image for oursin_360
#23 Posted by OurSin_360 (4450 posts) -

It was sad to see blockbuster and Hollywood video go out of business, even if i hadn't been there in years lol. I guess talking about mom and pop shops, "pickaflick" or as my childhood self referred to it, Pickleflick used to be the spot. Watched many anime i shouldn't have there, ;-0

Avatar image for pjgut
#24 Posted by pjgut (51 posts) -

One of the saddest things of having moved from the US to France as a kid in the early 2000s was that renting games in France just wasn't really a thing, at least in the city where I lived there was no-where to do it. I remember going to Hollywood Video once a week looking at all the N64 games they had and just renting whatever had good box-art (or renting Ocarina of Time every week). Since I was a kid, most of the time even if the game was pure garbage I didn't mind it, I got to play new things all the time.

Avatar image for hassun
#25 Posted by Hassun (7881 posts) -

@dr_monocle: I did eventually end up buying it when it had gone platinum and dropped in price.

Avatar image for clagnaught
#26 Posted by clagnaught (1262 posts) -

I have a recollection of videogame renting, but for the life of me I can't recall what I actually rented. Whatever it was would have been through my local Blockbuster.

There are a number of games I remember playing but never owning. These are probably the games I rented, because I never really took part in the whole game sharing thing either. (I would go over to other people's houses and play their games and vice versa instead of trading) So stuff like that....<goes to the wiki>....Chester Cheetah: Wild Wild Quest....(....Did I actually play this game....)......

So yeah, I'm sure I must have rented a number of games in my life, but going back to the memory vault is like a fever dream, which makes me doubt if this part of my childhood existed.

The games I distinctly remember playing when I was growing up--Super Mario All-Stars, Super Mario 64, Sonic the Hedgehog 3, Pokémon Yellow: Special Pikachu Edition, etc.--I owned. Somewhere in between that is the sea of licensed games, which I'm not sure why I even played, let alone how. The reality is my parents probably rented them for me, but I was like 5 and don't remember.

Avatar image for monkeyking1969
#27 Posted by MonkeyKing1969 (6221 posts) -

I only rented a few games in my time. My sister rented games for her young nephews when she was babysitting.

I was only part of the first and second generation of consoles before join the computer side in 1984. Then when they fifth generation rolled around I was back to consoles and PC equally. So, renting games sort of passed me. I couldn't rent Atari 2600 cartridges in my area, and when I had a PSX I could buy what I wanted.

Avatar image for thebeardedfellow
#28 Edited by thebeardedfellow (48 posts) -

The one video store I was using during the SNES had 2 copies of Super Metroid. I think that game had multiple save slots, and my strategy back then was to always use the bottom one, cause most people renting will just save over the top.

I couldn't beat it, had to return it, but wanted to finish it later, so I took a marker and made a dot on the back of the cartridge so i could see through the plastic security device in the store which one it was that had my save on it. It worked:)

Avatar image for dr_monocle
#29 Posted by dr_monocle (344 posts) -

Follow up: I actually did some Google Mapping to check up on what my old rental places had turned into: my favorite Blockbuster is now a medical clinic of some kind (it's also ironically next to the dopest place to get great greasy Cuban steak sandwiches in the area); the one I mentioned that had Turtles Tournament Fighter is a Sherwin-Williams; and the Hollywood Video that was near my childhood home is a Subway-the cruelest of fates.

Just as a quick aside, and I know we all know this, but Google Street View is so unnerving. One of the Blockbusters I checked up on was still on their map which was dated 2011 and the street view picture was clear enough that I could make out the games on the shelves. I can vividly make out Resistance 3 and what looks like Lego Star Wars among others. Weird.

Avatar image for justin258
#30 Posted by Justin258 (14373 posts) -

I was talking to a friend at work about places we used to rent movies. Rental places started disappearing when I was in middle school and were pretty much completely gone by the time I finished high school. I could probably find one around here if I looked, but even if I could I don't really want to rent a movie or game from one, mostly because I could just buy whatever I want.

But I do have fond memories of them. The first rental place my family rented from when I was growing up was a pretty small, dimly-lit place on a backroad somewhere. I rented a lot of Super Nintendo games from them. I don't remember which ones, exactly, though I'm sure I rented a few stupid ones. I'm pretty sure one of them was Daffy Duck: The Marvin Missions, which I later wound up owning somehow. I don't remember the name of this rental store, but after they went out of business, someone bought them and turned the building into a garage. You'd never guess it used to be a movie rental place, it's now got a big fence around it and it looks like a junk heap.

I grew up in a small town. There's basically one strip of small shops in the middle of town with some neighborhoods branching off of it and a Bi-Lo/Wendy's/Hardee's/Subway/gas station not too far away. In that strip of small, pretty much mom-and-pop shops was another movie rental place. Rented a lot of Playstation games there, they had them all in one corner right as you walk in the door. And they didn't have many. I remember bringing this up with the cashier at some point and she had some very, very negative feelings towards video games, which made me kinda angry. One of the games I repeatedly rented was Assault Rigs, a game that I had completely forgotten about until I looked over @marino's recently created list of weird-shaped Playstation boxes. I never found any other copies of that game, even in Funcoland (which is now Gamestop). I looked up some footage of that game on Youtube and I see why adolescent me thought it was awesome, but I didn't miss much by not finding my own copy.

That place closed down and became some thrift store that's still there, I've never been back in there. The next place my family started going to was a Hollywood Video, which was actually a 20 minute drive away so we didn't get to go there too often. The only thing I really remember about that place was that it was huge. They had a great location picked out - it was at a very busy intersection and there was a lot of stuff around it. It was sitting right next to a Circuit City (remember those!?) and it was about the same size, too. They had a big selection of games, even some old SNES games... and I don't remember anything I ever rented from there, probably for two reasons - the first is that it was more expensive to rent games from there and my parents weren't willing to rent me stuff as often, and the second is that when I did get to rent something, I always made sure it was something different. No repeat rents.

That place eventually did close down, too, and that whole shopping area has since been completely torn down and rebuilt. So the last place we rented movies from was a Movie Gallery, which was back in my hometown and right next to a Dollar General. This was when I was in middle school, my parents were giving me a bit of my own money from doing chores and stuff, and I blew a lot of that money here. I got a PS2 for Christmas one year and there were several times where I would rent three or four games at a time and spend quite literally every free minute I could find on those games, finishing some of them. They also let you keep games for five days instead of two or three, which felt like an eternity back then. Eventually I wisened up and started buying used games from Gamestop and that was the end of my renting games. I remember being in that Movie Gallery to return movies a week or so before they finally shut down, the only employee there found themselves in a conversation with my parents about how much it must suck to know that your job's going to be gone in a week. That was an awkward conversation.

Yes, there is a lack of Blockbuster on this list. Yes, there was a Blockbuster not too far from us. We occasionally went in there, but I remember my parents telling me that they cost more than the other rental places we went to so it wasn't a common thing. I rented some Tomb Raider game on PS1 from there once and I think that was it.

...oops. Wound up writing maybe a little bit more than I meant to on this topic

Avatar image for purplepartyrobot
#31 Posted by PurplePartyRobot (381 posts) -

Had a local movie rental place that my family constantly rented from. On average my parents let me and my siblings rent a game on average around once a week and they had five day rentals. It had a lot of lesser-known Genesis stuff like Alisia Dragoon, Cyborg Justice, and Galahad (or Leander if you're familiar with the Amiga version). The SNES had a bigger section and some of the lesser-known stuff included Run Saber, Equinox, Obitus, and Phantom 2040. I think I remember us renting a TurboGrafx-16 with Bravoman and Silent Debuggers. At one point it even had a coffee shop and a pizza place in it. Once larger franchises like Blockbuster and Hollywood moved into its territory it eventually went under.

Also remember renting the SNES version of Drakkhen from there. Fuck that game.

Avatar image for ashmcsmash
#32 Posted by Ashmcsmash (4 posts) -

We had a Block Buster in our area the building is now a car wash. I rented most of the games I played on NES, Genesis and 64 there but the thing I most remember is going and grabbing the Halo 2 Multiplayer Map Pack just to load them onto my Original Xbox then return the disc the very next day. Did anyone hang onto that thing? Or was it returned across the board?

Avatar image for greymeister
#33 Posted by greymeister (67 posts) -

Aside from allowing people with less disposable income like my family enjoy a wide variety of games, renting gave me other interesting memories. For one thing, poorly photocopied manuals which often were missing pages or just incomplete. I still have a few of them from used rental games I purchased where the original had been lost or thrown away. Even with the shortcomings they had, I preferred them to what they were eventually replaced with. By the time PS1 games were common, many of the older game manuals that were lost/stolen/destroyed were replaced by a blue and white sticker on the outside of the clear plastic case rentals came in. These usually only had the basic game controls and some very brief game summary type information. It’s ironic that many physical games I’ve bought since come with an insert that is essentially that blue and white sticker and rely on in-game content for instructions.

An interesting feature of rentals during the cartridge era were the save games you would find. I played Final Fantasy III for SNES one weekend but wasn’t able to finish. The next weekend I found that the copy I brought home wasn’t the same one I had gotten because the save data was completely different. I came up with the idea of making a subtle marker in the photocopied manual in order to find this copy next time. I made it a little further than the previous weekend and returned the game on Sunday evening. The following Friday I found the copy with the note I made in the manual, even though I felt sort of paranoid about an employee seeing me open multiple copies of the game. When I got the copy home I noticed my save data still intact and was able to finish. Games with multiple slots also had the chance you could load someone else’s save. You could then see where they were in the game and what they had named their characters. It felt a little weird as a voyeur in someone else’s game and I avoided overwriting their saves in case they had an opportunity to finish later. Other than seeing AAA or POOP for character names, sometimes I got ideas for things to try out or characters I hadn’t found.

Blockbuster didn’t make it to my town until I had sort of gotten past the point of renting many games. Part of this was that I was playing more PC games, and the other part was that I finally had my own disposable income to buy games with. It sounds weird but even though Blockbuster cost more than the staple rental places that were already in business, they eventually ran the others out of business. The main factors from my observation as a rental employee was that Blockbuster:

  • Did not require charge customers when VHS tapes were returned without being rewound
  • Rented by default for two days instead of one
  • Allowed you to drop off movies and games without having to go into the store

Instead of paying $2 for a nightly rental that you would have to pay $0.50 for not rewinding, people chose to pay $4 for a two-day rental with no rewind fee. People REALLY hated that rewind fee. Of course what happened next was Blockbusters popped up everywhere, then all the franchises were bought back by Blockbuster corporate, and then they were ultimately all closed. Pretty big changes within a period of about 10 years from the first time I walked into one.

Avatar image for shinofkod
#34 Posted by shinofkod (86 posts) -

The rental store really brings me back. By the time I was 8, or around that age anyway, I was making what seemed like daily or semi-daily trips to my rental store. It was within walking distance of my house. NES rentals for $1 a day and, later, SNES and Genesis rentals for $2 a day. It was really something. Especially during those days of the NES. I myself had a pretty decent NES collection as a kid (80-ish games I figure), but thanks to the rental store being so close I got to play hundreds more. Those $1 NES rental days really are my fondest memories as a gamer. Here's to a bygone era.

Avatar image for cornfed40
#35 Posted by cornfed40 (309 posts) -

@captain_insano: is hiring the word for renting in the Uk? that may be my favorite word difference ive heard!

@huntad:Nope, I remember that program too. Not sure I remember it being a summer only thing, but my parents definitely did it for me

My prime renting days were for sure Genesis and original PlayStation. The Hastings in my town actually rented PC games too which I thought was pretty cool, and how I played a lot of the Lucas Arts adventure games. Most of the memories I have are of just how BAD most of the stuff I rented was haha. But it was great because when I actually got a game to own, I made sure it was one that was going to actually be great. I played so many, but only had to own a few, like Sonic, Streets of Rage 2, Beyond Oasis, Jurassic Park (ok, so they weren't all winners). But with a rental, we could afford to swing and miss at enjoying some games, like Aero the Acrobat, Masters of Teras Kasi and other irredeemable piles of garbage.

Avatar image for aidros
#36 Posted by aidros (322 posts) -

The first games that I ever rented were from my local Blockbuster (that's now an O'Reilly's Auto Parts store), a bunch of special SNES games: Super Star Wars, Boogerman, Earthworm Jim, and Rocko's Modern Life. Not sure why I picked those titles, but whevener my cousins would visit me and stay at my house, my Mom would take me over there to rent a game or two for the weekend. Didn't really have any "mom and pop" type video rental places, just a choice between Blockbuster and Hollywood video. My best friend was way more into renting games then I was, and had a few more consoles than I did. I was pretty much going to his house every weekend, so whatever he was renting from Blockbuster that weekend we were definitely playing all night.

Renting continued into the N64 era, where I rented tons of stuff, but most notably Hey You, Pikachu! and Pokemon Snap (which I ended up buying), and later PS2/Xbox era. My friend and I tried out Game Crazy at H.V. briefly, but pretty much stuck with the games club at Blockbuster because of the 1 or 2 game at a time deal. So legit.

After both closed (the Blockbuster first, followed by the family video, which is now a Rite Aid or something, that still has the Hollywood Hills and Spotlight trim on the side of the building), I did some brief game rentals from Family Video for the Xbox 360. But, between the terrible categorization in the store, the lack of selection, and the bad condition of the games there, it was just not worth it. But man, I miss those Blockbuster days sometimes, of how simple it was to just grab an N64 or SNES cart, pop it in, and have a weekend disappear.

Avatar image for geraltitude
#37 Posted by GERALTITUDE (5719 posts) -

My strongest memories of renting is getting the wrong game in the box and being stuck with it for days, as well as the infamous "how do you call Meryl?" moment that so many of us went through.