November 13, 2013 by briantshock
Well, it sounds like Blockbuster has finally rented its last movie. This was pretty surprising since I figured this happened a few years ago. I haven’t seen a Blockbuster video in at least three years, as all the ones in my area have long since closed. I guess now with Netflix and Hulu and all these other services that offer you approximately three trillion movies and television shows for under ten dollars a month it’s kind of hard to justify driving down to the store to hope to find Armageddon available to borrow for six dollars.
Still, this news makes me a little sad, and probably affects me a bit more than it should, which really should be “not at all”. Chains rise and fall and business models change, but this seems like the end of a construct that I grew up with. It’s strange because I’ve outlived this concept, basically. Aside from a few niche shops, nobody is going to leave their houses, go down to a store, look at a bunch of movie or game boxes, pick something out, and pay some people money so they can take it home and promise to bring it back in a couple of days. I guess you can do the same thing browsing your Netflix queue, but it just doesn’t feel the same to me. Plus, you can’t buy Hot Tamales from Netflix, so there.
Now, I haven’t rented anything from a video store in several years – not since my early years of college, I think – but I do have fond memories of rushing off of the school bus back in middle school on Friday afternoons and badgering my mother to take me down to Blockbuster or whichever movie store was around at the time to rent a Nintendo game for the weekend. You didn’t know what you were going to get; you might get the coveted single copy of Final Fantasy 3 that the store bothered to order, or you probably would be disappointed. Or you might discover something totally new that you didn’t know about. This was before the internet, so TV advertising or seeing some kind of ad was really the only way to know anything those days. The worst thing, definitely, was picking out something dumb or disappointing, because then you were stuck with it all weekend. The only time I refused to be stuck with something terrible was when I rented the Super Nintendo version of “The Rocketeer”. I demanded that my grandparents take that stinker back immediately. I didn’t even want to see that plastic case to remind me.
Oh well. Businesses open and close all the time, and Blockbuster had a good run. There’s no denying the convenience of modern streaming services, so it was really only a matter of time. Still, it’s a good time to reflect on how far things have come. In just 10 years we’ve gone from standing around in a store arguing our friends for an hour trying to pick out something to rent and not pay attention to to making thousands of movies magically appear in our homes. Wow, what a difference!