I'm a little saddened these days. In fact, I guess you could say that I'm in mourning. You see, I've recently suffered a loss, or rather, a string of losses, and I've yet to fully recover. No, it's not a parent, or sibling, or anything like that. Actually, you may even know them yourself, or a relative of theirs. I'm referring to my local video rental stores.
It might seem silly to you, feeling sad for the loss of a Blockbuster, Hollywood Video, or other such store, and there was a time when it would have seemed silly to me. After all, having recently switched to Netflix myself, it became kind of hard to see these stores as anything other than ancient relics.
Then, one day, the strangest thing happened. The company I worked for called my department in for a special meeting where upper management thanked us all for our years of service, but it was a service they no longer needed. It was then, when I could no longer afford monthly subscriptions, let alone the $60 to purchase the occasional new game, that I rediscovered these relics and learned just how much they had to offer.
Having given up cable TV, Netflix, and my World of Warcraft account, I'd become increasingly desperate for some entertainment. I was driving home from the store when I saw the big blue sign with yellow writing: Blockbuster. I went in, determined to rent just one movie.
Instead I became hooked by the familiar green font of an Xbox 360 logo. I scanned the rows of games, checking out cover art, reading descriptions and selling points, and admiring screenshots. As I pored over these titles, taking in the different features of a myriad of genres, I suddenly realized I had been missing out.
My first system (and I'm dating myself here) was a crappy little thing called the Action Max. Then I got an Atari, then a Nintendo, and so on. But then, as I was playing Sierra adventure games on my PC, I was seduced by a little game they produced called The Realm Online. Since then, through EverQuest and then World of Warcraft, I had invested so much time in online games that I'd begun to neglect everything else. Sure, I still bought an Xbox 360, and I justified that purchase by getting the biggest games to come out each year. But my time, money, and attention were already so gobbled up by that one thing that I didn't allow myself to experiment. Even before being laid off, $60.00 was a lot to spend on just trying something different. $7.99, however? Not so much.