Renting DVDs is so 1999.

Note to the reader: I originally planned on posting this yesterday, but that little fire incident preempted this post. Now I’m just too lazy to change the references to the days. And I know it’s just the word “yesterday” in the next paragraph, and that it took me longer to write this paragraph to explain why I wasn’t changing one word. Meh.

Yesterday the awesome Shiny from Shiny’s Takeout (sound it out, it’s clever I tell ya) posted about the Dark Knight.

Well, not really. His post was more about praising the virtues of something called “Redbox“. In the interest of full disclosure, he said his post was not sponsored by Redbox, but I dunno. I mean look:


What’s that in his header graphic if not a red box? Coincidence?


I started typing a comment on his post, and after a few minutes I realized that this comment was so long it’d be better suited as a post on my site instead of hijacking the Shiny One’s blog for my own demonic purposes. 😉 

I don’t think I rented a DVD in over ten years now. Last few times I went to Blockbuster, I ended up buying a used copy instead (or three). I think the rental fee was 5.99$ and the used copy was 9.99$. Considering that I’m so much more likely to either:

  • Watch the movie at least twice, and not necessarily over the planned 24 hour period,
  • Have to return once or twice to the video store because the idiot who previously rented that copy of American Beauty sneezed all over the playing surface making the DVD unreadable in my player.*
  • Spend more time watching the deleted scenes, listening to the director’s commentary and exploring other features of the DVD,
  • Completely forget to return the movie within the 24 hour period allowed,
  • Bitch and complain that I have to make yet another trip to the video store in this FSM-damned weather,
  • Grab yet another movie while I’m there, effectively going back to square one with this whole God-awful process.

I think the 4$ extra investment is totally worth it. If you ask LovelyWife, she’ll probably tell you she’d pay really good money to hear me not complain, but that’s another story.

The one thing I really liked video stores for was for the game rentals. I used to rent a game and then go through it in the 24 hours period that the 3-5$ allowed me. Kid Icarus? check. Legend of Zelda? check. Metriod? Check. Yes, those are all NES titles. 😉 Then years later I got an X-Box. For around 70$, I modded my X-Box and then paid around 2$ a game to “back them up” to my 320G HDD. Score! Unfortunately, the glory days of the X-Box are long gone, but I still have games to play with until the end of times. My son really enjoys the variety of games, and I really enjoy not having to stay up 24 hours in a row to beat a game without renewing the rental. hey, not only am I frugal, I’m also old.

There was also this brief foray in PC games rental. Yeah, that lasted all about two seconds. I can’t believe nobody ever thought that those games could be easily copied and cracked. Not that I would ever do that, but you know some people have no shame. Oh I’m not saying I have shame. In my case, it’s mostly because I’m still running my AMDK6 1.7Ghz as my main computer at home. Like I said, frugal.  

And don’t get me started about the quantity of crap that’s produced by the gaming industry. I wouldn’t mind paying 60$ a game (60$ Canadian, but still) for a good game. Not even a great game, just a good game. But it’s so hit-and-miss that it makes more sense to download a copy of the game, see if you like it. When I do, I buy the game. Case in point, the most excellent World of Goo, from 2D Boy. They managed to create a game that is fun, innovative, completely addictive and they sell it for – drumroll – 20$!!!!! Oh look, five exclamation marks,  the sure sign of an insane mind. Full disclosure: This comment is not sponsored by World of Goo

So nowadays I mainly play games on the Wii. I did not – and I will not – chip this console. In part because I don’t have plenty of time to devote to playing – I’m still working on getting that “perfect town” status in AC:CF – but mainly because I feel that most Wii games I get for myself have a great replay value. This makes the Wii games useless to rent, since I’ll probably want to play them over and over. I can’t even justify renting them to try them out in case they turn out to be a dud, because there’s so many reviews on-line – hey I didn’t have that when I was 13-14! – and even gameplay footage that there’s really no need to try them. Plus, I always know a crazier friend who already bought the game. 😉

Toujours était-il que, this comment is getting really long. Maybe I should blog about this instead?

*Please don’t shatter my illusions about that splatter pattern. I’m telling you it was solidified sneeze and nothing else.



  1. I no longer have time to play games of any kind, so this post/ comment is so null and void to me. 🙂
    But it makes more sense to rent games, definitely. Unless you’re buying them for kids.

    Sybil Law recently blogged Birthday!

  2. I never download PC games. I will always buy them because that’s one industry where purchasing actually significantly supports the creators.

    I need to get an Xbox 360 just for the new Ghostbusters game. It’s going to be a different game for the Wii, so I guess I’ll just have to get both of them!

    Avitable recently blogged Carbs can be good for you

  3. I’m with Avitable on purchasing PC games…those profits are actually important to not only the creators but also the staff working at the gaming company.

    I don’t think I’ve rented a movie or game from a store in years. Netflix is my baby! I know Blockbuster Online lets you rent games too.

    Hilly recently blogged Persephone’s Song…

  4. @Sybil Law: For the kids? Heck I buy them for me… 😉

    @Avitable: I don’t download games either. My home computer wouldn’t play any of the newer games anyways. 😉 No illegal content ever touches my work computers. And I’ve been trying to avoid getting a Xbox 360 or PS3 for a little while now. But every time they come up with a slick looking preview, my resolve breaks a little…

    @Hilly: The only games I played recently on the PC are City of Heroes and Hellgate London. I downloaded CoH (legally) and paid for the one year subscription. HL I got in a bargain bin for 20$. The week after, they shut down the game servers, so I can’t get the latest patch for it. 😉

  5. I’m not much of a gamer (I know, shocking!) and I don’t think I’ve rented a video game in ages (although I keep thinking that would be a good way to try them out before I buy them and then they sit on the shelf because I never use them…)

    We don’t go to the video store any more to rent – we get all our DVDs through now – our prime source of entertainment since giving up cable. It’s been working well. Although, somedays I really miss cable…

    suze recently blogged cut me in quadrants, leave me in the corner…

  6. We used to buy games; now we only rent. We’ve saved a ton of money. This is mostly fine-tuned to Jaden’s (7yr old) tendency to get bored with games.

    I still get enjoyment from the games I purchased long ago. Over the last 3 days, Jaden and I have logged at least 5 hours of play on PS2 Simpson’s Road Rage.

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