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Re: Rental Store Memories - What was your last experience?

Posted: Mon Jul 27, 2020 1:01 pm
by ZRofel
I realize this is a little off-topic, but depending on where you live nowadays, you can borrow a pretty good selection of films and games from your local library. Typically you'll get them for way longer than a rental store would give them to you, plus they're completely free! I've definitely done the old "try it before you buy it" plenty of times at local libraries when there was a game I wasn't completely sold on. That's how I tried out Devil's Third, Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise, the Resident Evil 2 remake, etc. True, you won't get quite the same atmosphere as an old video store, with retro horror posters, cheap, stale candy, and some lame B-movie playing on a grainy television behind the counter. But in my experience these days it's not usually too hard to find a younger librarian who'll shoot the breeze with you about video games if you're looking for recommendations.

Re: Rental Store Memories - What was your last experience?

Posted: Mon Jul 27, 2020 1:06 pm
by Ziggy587
You know, that's a great point. I always forget about the Library carrying movies and games.

Pre-DVD, I use to rent a lot of VHS tapes from my local Library. Free was great, since I this was before I was old enough to have a job. They didn't carry games back then, though. They did have music CDs and PC software CDs though.

Re: Rental Store Memories - What was your last experience?

Posted: Mon Jul 27, 2020 5:14 pm
by o.pwuaioc
I only ever saw CDs and later DVDs at libraries, never video games. Also, for those of you talking about switching to Netflix early, was I just unlucky in getting so many unreadable discs? With a physical store, I can return the disc right away and get a replacement (usually), but with Netflix, you had to wait days to get your disc and good luck watching that movie if it was scratched. I never watched a lot of movies to begin with, but I had Netflix while they were a DVD-by-mail service for only a couple months before getting sick of being unable to watch movies.

Re: Rental Store Memories - What was your last experience?

Posted: Mon Jul 27, 2020 5:23 pm
by opa
I remember getting a few discs that wouldn't play but it seemed kinda rare. But iirc, you used to get like two or three movies at a time so it wasn't a huge deal because you still had something to watch while you waited on the replacement. Unless, of course, all your movies were unplayable.

Re: Rental Store Memories - What was your last experience?

Posted: Mon Jul 27, 2020 6:02 pm
by Ziggy587
Yeah, I've had NetFlix DVDs for a while now and the amount unreadable discs I could probably count on just one hand.

What's pissing me off about it these days is that A) I'm guessing NetFlix closed some of their DVD hubs because I could have sworn they use to have one on Long Island. Now the closest one to me is in NJ, which should still be 1-day mail but B) The USPS is so screwed up right now that it's taking FOREVER for my DVDs to come in. I'm a little ticked off because I'm still paying the same price monthly, but now I'm effectively getting less DVDs per month than I could be.

Re: Rental Store Memories - What was your last experience?

Posted: Mon Jul 27, 2020 8:29 pm
by Note
I really miss going to rental stores to grab a movie or two and a game for the weekend. I also don't recall my exact last trip to rent something, but for video games, I didn't rent too many games after the PS1/N64/Saturn generation. My neighborhood in NY didn't have a mom and pop rental store but there were two Blockbuster locations within about twenty minutes, one was in a less busy area, so we started to frequent that location. There was also a Hollywood Video in the same area -- my family didn't have a membership there, but one of my close friends did, so I would check that out with him from time to time.

Some games I recall renting from Blockbuster that I really enjoyed were ... Phantasy Star IV, Maximum Carnage (SNES), Saturday Night Slam Masters (SNES) (I rented this game multiple times), Turok, and Wave Race 64.

On one of the rare trips I made to a Hollywood Video with my friend in the late 90's, there was a copy of Saturday Night Slam Masters for the SNES available in a bargain bin, it was ironic after renting it multiple times from a different store, I would find it for sale here, so I picked that up. That may have been the last game I bought/rented at a rental store.

In regards to movies, the last movie I remember renting at a video store was when I was visiting my cousin who lived in upstate NY, I believe it was the summer of 2002 and we wanted to check out a new movie, so we went to a mom and pop rental place in his town. We ended up with The Royal Tenenbaums, which neither of us were too familiar with but it was a new release and available for rent. At that time, I was just starting to get versed in movies, I remember enjoying it, thinking it was pretty weird at the time, but it was memorable. I gotta revisit it sometime, see if I still enjoy it.

I never got into the Netflix mailing DVDs thing, but my college's media department would rent out movies to students for free, so I took advantage of that while still at school. In NY, there are also a few mom and pop DVD rental stores around the city, including one place called Two Boots that's a pizzeria with a small rental section and a screening room.

At least for movies, there are a lot of alternatives with streaming services. But for renting physical video games, I feel like we don't have many options. It's definitely nice to be able to try games for a weekend, before shelling out the money to buy. Especially for people who don't have a great net connection, and downloading demos isn't always a viable option.

I definitely miss rental stores!

Re: Rental Store Memories - What was your last experience?

Posted: Tue Jul 28, 2020 10:05 am
by marurun
A few local libraries around here have video games. You can even get some Switch games that way.

Re: Rental Store Memories - What was your last experience?

Posted: Tue Jul 28, 2020 10:54 am
by ZRofel
marurun wrote:A few local libraries around here have video games. You can even get some Switch games that way.

Yeah, it really depends on where you live and how well funded the area libraries are. Around where I am in the northeast I know a lot of libraries have pretty robust selections of games (i.e. all the major releases and at least some of the more niche stuff). And the nice thing is certain libraries have reciprocal borrowing agreements, so if you have a card for one library you can borrow from a number of other area libraries. Usually you can put stuff on hold too, so they'll let you know when the game you want is available. You're not just rolling up and hoping that it'll be there on the shelf.

As far as renting, it's been a really, really long time since I patronized a rental store. Most of my fondest memories are of when the local store would sell off a bunch of their older games at a big community yard sale my town would have every summer/fall, and even as a kid I'd try to scramble and grab all the more obscure games I wanted, like Metal Storm or Skyblazer. Also as a kid, I remember a lot of cartridge RPGs being really hard to find for sale anyplace, but the local video store always got copies. So often there would be games that I could rent but literally could not buy, even if I wanted to. I spent weeks trying to convince the manager to sell me their copy of Ogre Battle, but it wasn't meant to be.

I think the last time I was in a video rental store was maybe ten years ago when a local Blockbuster went out of business and I popped in to buy up all the marked down Disney movies. I remember the clerk being super angry that the place was going out of business and just spending the entire time I was browsing yelling and cursing to a colleague about how greedy and incompetent the manager was. He let me have a whole bunch of candy for free, so I'm securely on his side in that argument. A few years later I saw him working at a shoe store I was patronizing... that was also going out of business. Some people just have bad luck...

Re: Rental Store Memories - What was your last experience?

Posted: Tue Jul 28, 2020 12:50 pm
by isiolia
I'm not entirely sure what my last actual video store rental transaction would have been.

The last peak time for me renting movies though, was in college. For the first couple years, I lived in a dorm on campus that was only a couple blocks or so from down town main street. I don't think there were major chain rental places right down there, but we did have Mike's Movies and Music, which (if memory serves) rented most of their VHS tapes for 49 cents a night. New releases, DVD, and maybe some stuff like anime was structured (and priced) more like the typical rental places, but the older stuff was a great deal if you were just picking up something to watch that night, and returning it the next day.
Similarly, the first summer I was in town (well, half the summer) and subletting an apartment, we were up the street from Video Update, which had a deal on renting something like 3 or 5 (older) tapes at a time. So between that, and spending as little on food/etc as we could, there were plenty of nights spent watching movies with the windows and doors open in lieu of running the AC, eating the finest cheap hot dogs, etc.

Between those, I "caught up" with a ton of movies with friends and roommates. On, at best, a 20" TV. - first year I was literally using a 13" Apple color monitor and computer speakers.

The latter half of college was when I stopped going to rent movies as much. A lot of the smaller stores like that got hit early by a massive drop in revenue due to Napster and file sharing, and shifted strategies or closed. At the same time though, DVD had been out long enough to be more ubiquitous, but lacked the bargain rental pricing. It started to make more sense to just peruse the $5 DVD bins at Wal Mart than spending a few dollars to rent a movie. Or I was just buying new releases. Heading to the rental place became less common as our collections grew. I do remember going to rent a few anime titles though, before getting into that.

Years later, Netflix by mail really got me back to that early college feeling for movies. Filled up the queue with a variety of meant-to-watches, classics, looked interesting, etc titles. I ended up cancelling the disc part just 'cause I wasn't watching as many movies, but it was still great while I had it. Was very rare for me to get a disc that didn't work.

Honestly, never really got that much into renting games. We were usually subject to some restriction on playing, so outside of a few times during summer vacation, usually we weren't going be able to get our money's worth from a few days with a game. Last one I remember actually renting was Mario Kart, which we ended up buying a copy of later. GI Joe for NES was another than I really recall.
Otherwise, I remember folks scoring a lot of deals on games when rental stores cleared them out, but I wasn't one of them :lol: