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Ziggy587
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Rental Store Memories - What was your last experience?

by Ziggy587 Thu Jul 23, 2020 9:33 pm

I thought it would be fun to share our last experience from renting a game and/or movie from a store. We could also use this thread to talk about any and all rental store memories.


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My last rental experiences...
My last game rental experience... is kind of lackluster of a story. I just got a launch Wii but I had no money left over to purchase a game, and I wanted something more than Wii Sports to play. So I went to my local Blockbuster to rent something. I remember getting two games. One of them was definitely Need for Speed Carbon. The other game I'm pretty sure was Red Steel. Neither game really wowed me, so my last game rentals were just kind of a "meh" experience. I suppose nothing could compete with my memories of renting certain games for the first time, like Castlevania IV or Goldeneye!

My last movie rental experience... is to me a big reason why rental stores went under. My brother and I had watched through all of the Friday the 13th movies (we had not seen all of them at this point) and were renting them one or two at a time. Then after that, we decided to watch through all of the Halloween movies. So I know we watched the first two, but then we couldn't rent the rest of them. The local Blockbuster nor the local Hollywood Video had them available to rent. Blockbuster simply did not have them available. Hollywood Video did, but they were checked out. So I would call the store every few days to see if they've been returned yet. After like a week or two, the guy must have remembered me, and finally told me something along the lines of, "Look, they've been checked out for months. I really don't think we're going to get them back." Which just baffled me. Then why not order more copies! I'm standing there like Fry with cash in my hand, and they didn't care to take my money. So, that's when I signed up for NetFlix. At the time, NetFlix was only DVD by mail. So I rented all of the Halloween movies and kept the NetFlix subscription ever since. And that was the last time I ever (tried to) rent a movie from a rental store.




Some thoughts on rental stores...
So sure, with streaming becoming available rental stores weren't ever going to be able to stay the same. But they could have hung on, at least a while longer (yes, I'm aware that there are a few still out there) if they just would have given a shit. The sad thing is that the Blockbusters and Hollywood Videos forced out the ma and pa rental stores, then they were "too big" to make it once streaming became a thing. The irony is that I think the ma and pa stores would have fared better against streaming because they had more going for them. They were more personal.

This is strange to think about, but the rental store is something that was more than just the sum of its parts. Sure, you can rent movies digitally these days, but there's still something missing. For one thing, there was human interaction. You might get a recommendation from a fellow customer or store employee. Upon returning a movie, you might even be able to give YOUR opinion to the fellow customer or store employee.

Can you even rent video games anymore? It seems like not a lot of people would bother even if you could. You can watch game play footage on YouTube (the entire game from start to finish if you want) and decide from that if you want to purchase it or not. Or, in a lot of cases, you can download a demo and decide from that. Gone are the days were a rental was based purely off the box art, and maybe some word of mouth from the school yard.

How many of you had rented the same game numerous times because you couldn't afford to purchase your own copy? I know I've done that quite a few times. Is this something that kids still do today? A $50-70 game cartridge in the 90's is not the same as a $30-60 game today. Do kids even have to do this anymore?




Some memories of my favorite rental store when I was growing up...
I had a couple of great locally owned rented stores by me. The closest one growing up was also the best. You were on a first name basis with the owner. He had movies and video games, and you could pick his brain about something. There was one time that will stick in my head, I had described a movie to him and he knew what it was. The Taking of Pelham 123 (the original, this is long before the remake). So I'm like, "Oh great, I'll take it!" And he says, "I said I knew what I was, I didn't say that I have it!"

He always had two movie posters in the front window for new releases. And if you asked him, he would save them for you when he replaced them with new ones (unless someone else already asked before you). He wouldn't even charge you for them. I got, and still have, a lot of movie posters this way. He had the classic curtained off back room. He would order you a movie to purchase if you requested (this is long before you could just order anything off the Internet). He had a couple of glass counters with tons of collectibles. Various sports trading cards, pogs and slammers when they were a thing, Beanie Babies when that was a thing, then Pokemon cards when they first came out. I got (and still have) quite a few second hand movies and video games from there, as he would sell off extra copies after a while. It was just an awesome place to go as a kid.

When the Blockbuster opened up a few miles down the road he still did alright. After DVDs started to become in demand, he started to carry them for new releases. But I think it was hard because the store was pretty small. I never knew the real reasons why he closed because it was very sudden, but I figured it was between DVD and Blockbuster. I was upset that he didn't have a liquidation sale, and for sure I would have spoken to him and found out why he was closing. But it went out with a whimper, and was just closed one day. I heard that he had sold all of his inventory in a lot to another rental store out of state.
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opa
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Re: Rental Store Memories - What was your last experience?

by opa Sat Jul 25, 2020 9:22 pm

The last time I went into a chain rental store was when my local blockbuster was having its liquidation sale. I grabbed the copy of Lawrence of Arabia that I had rented previously and it now sits on my dvd shelf as a memento of times past. Netflix by mail really killed the video store experience. No more driving to the store and hoping something you wanted was either available for rent or in-stock at all. Not gonna say I don't miss the "rental store experience" but the options we have now are far more convenient.

The last game I rented was (I think) Geist on the GameCube. I rented the game a couple times because I liked it so much. I eventually just got my own copy (why keep giving blockbuster $5?).

Looking back I have more fondness for the smaller stores that were usually family owned. There was one store that was part rental store / part pizza place. If you were wanting to do a movie night with pizza you only had to go to one store! Pretty convenient, honestly, but I think they have closed.
There's still a few holdout mom & pop rental places around me. I think the tanning beds keep them in business. Not sure why movies are synonymous with tanning beds. Probably just another one of those unsolved mysteries of the universe. :lol:
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Re: Rental Store Memories - What was your last experience?

by o.pwuaioc Sun Jul 26, 2020 12:36 am

I worked at Blockbuster for a few years (2002-2005), but I had essentially stopped renting from them by the time they closed. I only went there to buy DVDs for the 3 for $20 sale and any game that looked interesting. I think I could only buy Xbox/PS2 at the time, as they had already gotten rid of all their N64 games (and I didn't buy my first GameCube until 2011 or 2012).

opa wrote:There's still a few holdout mom & pop rental places around me. I think the tanning beds keep them in business. Not sure why movies are synonymous with tanning beds. Probably just another one of those unsolved mysteries of the universe. :lol:

The Blockbusters near me growing up were all next to Little Caesars, and when I was a bit older they seemed to be next to Subways.
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Re: Rental Store Memories - What was your last experience?

by Jagosaurus Sun Jul 26, 2020 8:01 pm

My true last experiences would've been at a Blockbuster in the late 2000s in college. I was an early Netflix adopter, both disc & streaming, but still made runs to BB as it was right down the street from my college house.

Related to RB & games, there was a Hollywood Video in my hometown that still rented NES & SNES games until they closed around 2004 or so. The 8 and 16 bit games were 99 cents for a full week rental :shock:! I'd usually rent a movie (or DC game) and come away with 3 bucks or so of NES games I hadn't played. The selection was pretty decent too, two full rows. That rental store kept my childhood NES hooked up throughout high school and looking back is really one of the main earlier experiences that kept me "into retro." It was a cool way to experience a ton of games I missed before I got into emulation.

Some of my favorite childhood memories are Friday night rentals with my friends. Also, we'd rent the NES controller tap and play 4 player Bomberman II with my cousins. Remember when those stores would rent accessories and full systems!?
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Ziggy587
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Re: Rental Store Memories - What was your last experience?

by Ziggy587 Sun Jul 26, 2020 10:01 pm

o.pwuaioc wrote:I worked at Blockbuster for a few years (2002-2005), but I had essentially stopped renting from them by the time they closed. I only went there to buy DVDs for the 3 for $20 sale and any game that looked interesting. I think I could only buy Xbox/PS2 at the time, as they had already gotten rid of all their N64 games (and I didn't buy my first GameCube until 2011 or 2012).


I loved hunting the used movies/games in Blockbusters. I got a few things from Hollywood Video when they were closing, but since there was a Blockbuster fairly close to me I would more often go there. I got quite a few used games at BB that ended up being favorites of mine. Final Fantasy Origins for PS1, Medal of Honor Frontline for PS2, and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater for DC are probably my top three favorite used game scores at BB. Their new movie prices were horrific, usually $20 and up. But every time I went, I would hunt for something at a good price.

I got a couple of really good new games from Blockbuster, actually. Once the PS2 was in full swing, my local Blockbuster had a bunch of PS1 Greatest Hits games (new) for sale at good prices. $10-20, IIRC, depending on the game. I got Final Fantasy VII, Medal Gear Solid, Castlevania Symphony of the Night, and Medal of Honor. Years later when the prices went up on some of those games, I was grateful that I was able to get them brand new at such great (comparatively) prices.

Jagosaurus wrote:Remember when those stores would rent accessories and full systems!?


Yes, my brother and I rented an N64 from Blockbuster when they first came out. It was the only time I rented a console. I remember it coming in a neat carrying case. Not sure if this is the exact one, but it looks like it...

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My Sale Thread - SNES and N64 added! CYBER MONDAY SALE! I am selling around three quarters of my video game collection as well as some other odds and ends!

I want to buy Universal Game Cases, if you have any spares please PM me! I'm looking to only deal with members that have good BST feedback on this forum.
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Re: Rental Store Memories - What was your last experience?

by o.pwuaioc Sun Jul 26, 2020 10:08 pm

^ Yep, I remember friends renting the PS1, I think, back in the day, and I remember still renting out the PS2 to folks when I worked there. We stopped all console rentals because eventually they'd all break. People were awful with their DVDs, but even worse with these machines.
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Re: Rental Store Memories - What was your last experience?

by Gunstar Green Sun Jul 26, 2020 11:16 pm

I didn't really go to the big chains very often because the the sketchy local shops had better deals (they also rented rated R horror films to me and my friends when we were kids because they didn't care). I can't really recall what my last memories were, they just sort of slowly phased out of my life until they weren't there anymore. I do recall during my early collecting days buying out old games when they decided to stop carrying games. One of the shops in my hometown was still renting Sega Genesis and SNES games into the late 2000's.

How many of you had rented the same game numerous times because you couldn't afford to purchase your own copy? I know I've done that quite a few times. Is this something that kids still do today? A $50-70 game cartridge in the 90's is not the same as a $30-60 game today. Do kids even have to do this anymore?


There is such a glut of affordable media and popular F2P experiences instead so kids aren't really missing out. I used to lose myself for days in shovelware filled shareware discs, I can't imagine what it's like to be a kid today with an ocean of entertainment media choices in front of you.

I think a lot of us who grew up in the rental age rented certain games so many times we felt like we owned them. The attachments we formed is probably part of what drove the collection boom. I've heard over and over again from different people who have said when they first started collecting it's because they wanted to have the games they used to rent as a kid.
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Re: Rental Store Memories - What was your last experience?

by Jagosaurus Mon Jul 27, 2020 12:52 am

I rented Code Veronica on DC so many times. Definitely plays into my nostalgia for it. I definitely should've bought it, but it was like a long term payment plan with access 2 days at a time :lol:
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Re: Rental Store Memories - What was your last experience?

by Ack Mon Jul 27, 2020 9:59 am

I don't remember the last things I rented in either situation from a major chain, though I visited my local Blockbuster, Movie Gallery, and Hastings until I moved away for grad school.

That said, I had a friend who worked at Blockbuster for a while. When AVP got its home release, I decided to prank call him while he was at work. This, now my friends know about "Aliens vs. Pedophile".

Now the last movie I rented was RoboCop so I could show it to my wife. Atlanta has a specialty rental place, called Videodrome, and it survives by offering a mix of obscure foreign films, cult hits, and some more notable mainstream entries. When I first visited, I was sceptical it would be worth the trip, until I found a collection of films that I knew were not available via Netflix, the Crimson Bat series. For several years, I rented heavily from Videodrome, in particular raiding their horror and exploitation collections. I have moved further away where getting there is difficult, but I have fond memories from the last decade of walking in with lists of horror movies and trying to find if they had them.
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Re: Rental Store Memories - What was your last experience?

by bmoc Mon Jul 27, 2020 10:08 am

I'm honestly trying to remember the last time I set foot in a rental store. I am pretty sure the last time I rented something was around 2004/2005 which was right around the time we started doing Netflix by mail. I seem to recall going into some mom & pop rental stores that were going out of business to get some cheap DVDs and games. That was probably the last time I was in a rental store.

There was a Blockbuster in my hometown that started up when I was in high school in the late 90's. It killed all the local shops in town. I didn't mind too much because Blockbuster was bigger, better, and closer than all the local shops. VHS was still beating DVD adoption by a large margin the last time I was in there. I have a lot of fond memories of that store. My buddies and I would often rent from there and have movie nights. I saw lots of cult classics for the first time renting from that store. Evil Dead 2, Army of Darkness, The Wall, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Rocky Horror Picture Show, lots of anime (Japanimation at the time), and countless others I am forgetting. We often rented a lot of bad Sci-Fi/Fantasy movies and had our own Mystery Science Theater sessions. One of my friends was really into H.P. Lovecraft and we rented every horrible adaptation they had. The movies were bad but we had a lot of fun with them.

I'm still waiting on a great H.P Lovecraft adaptation by the way. Maybe Del Toro will actually get to make his version of At the Mountains of Madness one day.
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