I remember when a Blockbuster Video opened near my house when I was about nine-years-old. My six-year-old brother and I walked all the way there to pick out some videos, and then we were too tired to go back so my dad had to pick us up. I wouldn’t say all my memories of Blockbuster were fond. As I grew older, I became frustrated at the overload of new releases at the expense of independent films, a puritanical attitude preventing NC-17 titles to be put on shelves (no Showgirls in all its crappy glory), and the ignorant sales staff (full disclosure: when I graduated high school, I tried multiple times to get a summer job at Blockbuster and was rejected; I would have been awesome at that job so THEIR LOSS).
But now only the memories remain. Blockbuster was killed by Netflix and the rise of OnDemand, and now the last 300 stores will close and its mail service will end. Hit the jump for more.
When Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy in September 2010, it was bought by DISH Network. According to the Chicago Tribune, DISH will keep the Blockbuster brand alive “by focusing on streaming and on-demand services currently offered to customers.”
Nevertheless, the Blockbuster Video era as we know it has come to a close. It was inevitable, and I’m surprised it hadn’t already happened. And it makes me a bit wistful. I know Blockbuster was far from perfect, and I complained about them on a regular basis when they were open. However, the disappearance of rental stores has highlighted the dearth of options and immediate satisfaction of seeing a particular movie. OnDemand and Netflix Instant have plenty of movies, and yet their selection still seems limited. Search for 20 movies you want to see on Netflix Instant, and I’ll bet at least half of them are only available on DVD. (If you live in Atlanta and want to rent a DVD of some classic and/or obscure title, I can’t recommend independent rental store Videodrome highly enough).
But for me, one of the biggest losses is renting video games. Personally, I find GameFly to slow and too expensive to offer the enjoyment of renting a video game. Redbox has dipped its toe in renting games, but no one offers the wide selection that would encourage someone to go out and rent a video game to play over the weekend.
I’ll definitely admit to some nostalgia, and I can’t disagree with Badass Digest‘s celebration of the chain’s death (especially since it certainly did close down plenty of independent stores) but Blockbuster Video did have some value, and I would be lying if I didn’t say I had warm memories like renting Lester the Unlikely for Super Nintendo, playing it at 2:00am at my friend’s house, and discovering the game was absolutely terrible.