Listen to me whine -or- An essay on video game rentals

I miss Blockbuster and/or Rogers Video.

Why? Isn’t it obvious? I could go there with $6 in hand, and get access to virtually any video game (provided it was in stock) I want, and play it all weekend. Big games, little games, role-playing games, puzzle games. Whatever I wanted. Probably the biggest downside to renting games was that Blockbuster never had anything for handhelds, and Rogers only kept a very limited selection for the Nintendo DS.

But you know what really stings about not being able to rent games? It’s that excitement of getting to try something new every weekend.

There was a nice little period in between the demise of rental stores and the rise of indie developers where you could get top-tier indie games and Virtual Console titles for between five and ten bucks. Those days are gone, however, between indie devs assigning their games higher values and the crappy Canadian dollar driving prices way the frig up (the average AAA game is $60 USD and $90 Canadian).

Now, it’s a matter of forking over at least $20 for those same kinds of indie games. Sure, I get to keep them forever (and a lot of them are worth the extra money, TBH), but a lot of these games I don’t need more than three days with anyhow. And since I really don’t have that much disposable income, I can’t very well buy a $20 game every week. I mean, I could, but then I’d have no money for the bigger games. Maybe I could have survived without Kirby: Star Allies, but I wouldn’t want to live in a world where I don’t have Xenoblade Chronicles 2.

Plus, like 90% of video games don’t even get physical releases anymore, so it’s not like I’d even get access to most of the games I’d actually like to try out. Golf Story, for example, seems like a game I’d get a ton of value from over a weekend, then forget about it forever. But it costs a whopping $28.

One could say that demos are a good place to meet halfway, but really, there are shockingly few demos out there. I think most developers/publishers don’t see that extra work as worth it. It seems like there was a demo for nearly every game back in the 360 days, but the Switch and PS4 really don’t have all that many relative to the size of their game libraries.

So in conclusion, it’s an impossible situation that can only be rectified by going back in time. Suck it up and get with the times, Old Man Ryan.

(Please note that this isn’t a rant about how video games are too expensive. AAA games especially are actually a steal when you consider how much they cost to make these days and that inflation hasn’t really affected game prices over the years. I strongly believe that all game developers have every right to charge what they feel is a fair price for their hard work. This is just a rant about how I miss being able to rent games.)


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