In a pinch games

We have Redbox machines all over Charlotte—I know of five within three miles of my apartment. At just a dollar a piece, they’re perfect for movies in a pinch. If there’s a brand new movie I’m in the mood for, and I don’t feel like waiting for Netflix, it’s perfect.

Now I can do the same “in a pinch” entertainment with games. I’ve had a subscription to Gamefly for years, and it’s been great. Not only do I get to rent and finish games on my own time, but I also get awesome discounts if I want to buy games through them. Up until recently, I was going to Blockbuster for a quick game rental if I wanted something other than what Gamefly sent me--usually when my brothers are in town, or my wife is out of town.

I had two issues with that, first being the price. I was paying $10 for a five day rental, which is really like two and a half days, because there’s no guarantee that I’ll have time to play during the week. I pay about $17 for Gamefly, which has no rental limit. The other issue was game length. If the game would take longer than a weekend to beat, I might as well get it from Gamefly and take my time. So I’m limited to a game I can play with friends or by myself that’s fun, and can be beaten in a weekend. Also, I’ll admit I have fairly high standards when it comes to games. Maybe that’s because I spent lots of allowance money renting crappy Genesis games when I was a kid.

Anyways, Redbox is doing games now for $2 a night. I’m not sure if the service is available in every city, but we have it here. They support 360, PS3 and Wii, and when I checked, they only seemed to have four or five games for each system. That’s fine by me since I own them all, but I’m sure others might not be so crazy about the small library. Hopefully they’ll expand it in the future. To me, it’s an attractive “in a pinch” solution. For $6 I could get a game for the weekend. That’s perfect if my brother comes in town and wants to play Halo Reach together, or some friends online want to get together and play Dead Rising 2. The $2 rate isn’t the best for games like Fable 3 or Fall Out: New Vegas (both of which I saw at this particular Red Box), but that’s why I have Gamefly.

What do you think? Are you a rental person, or would you rather own? I typically only buy games when I know I’ll spend a long time playing them. For example, I spent at least five months on and off with Mass Effect 2. It makes more sense to buy that than to continually rent (and pay for) it. On the flip side, I beat Splinter Cell Conviction in two weeks and had no desire to play it again. I hope the game effort for Redbox goes well. The more we can choose what we want to watch and when, the better (I’m looking at you cable television).