Gamer's Piece: Renting in 2012
In the past few years, Blockbuster and similar video stores have largely gone out of business, felled by the likes of Netflix and streaming video channels. Renting a brand-new game has gone from being a simple trip to your neighborhood brick-and-mortar to being nearly impossible. And with games costing $60 a pop, buying a crapfest of a game can be costly nowadays. For those of you unwilling to shell out a considerable chunk of your cash, here are the remaining ways you can check out new games without breaking the bank.
First there's Redbox, the nationwide disc rental kiosks common in grocery stores and the like. (The nearest one to UConn is at the CVS in Mansfield, which is a three-minute drive or twenty minute walk from W Lot and Husky Village). Redbox is nice for convenience, as you can select what you want, pay and leave in three minutes, and their prices aren't too bad; games cost $2.13 a night after tax. However, their selection is a bit lax. While there are dozens of games listed on their website, depending on what's being rented and returned at a specific kiosk there may only be a few games available at any given time. Overall, though, Redbox is pretty decent to rent from if you want to check out something new for a night or two; it can get expensive fast, though.
For those who can't get out to Redbox, there's always mail-based rentals from companies like Gamefly and Blockbuster Online. The most popular one, Gamefly, offers a huge selection of games from the present to the past, offering everything from brand-new Wii U games to classic Xbox, Playstation 2 and Gamecube releases. Though many online and television ads claim you can start for free or as low as $9.99, the default prices the company offers are one disc at a time for $11.95 per month or two discs at a time for $22.95 per month.
Gamefly's service is pretty good in our neck of the woods, as the nearest game shipping center the company owns is in Pittsburgh; games won't spend more than three days in the mail getting to Storrs. The selection is pretty good, but be wary of the company's queue system if you're looking to get new games. Much like with Netflix, games have an availability rating, but the system is more likely to send older, more available games almost always, even if it's a game's release date. This means there are only two ways to use the service, both of which are somewhat disappointing; you'll either have to exclusively get new games with only two or three items on your queue at a time or only rent older games you may have missed, hoping an occasional gem will slip through.
Will the world ever return to brick-and-mortar stores for game rentals? Unless the internet suddenly stops existing, no. But it's still possible in this day and age, though a bit frustrating, to rent. Be wary while you're doing it, though; it's tough to get exactly what you want.
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