on Apr 19, 2007
As I mentioned before, I recently picked up a Playstation 2. At the moment I only have one game, which has so far failed to impress me. I want to fill in my software library but I also don’t want to break the bank, which is highly breakable at the moment. I’ve seen a few ads for Gamefly, the service that lets you rent videogames through the mail and keep them as long as you like for a flat monthly fee. Like Netflix, only for games. It sounds like a good way to sample a lot of various titles in a short time, which is a good deal for me as I try to get a feel for what’s out there.
First impressions are everything, and Gamefly made a pretty abyssmal first impression on me. I ran through their list of PS2 titles, clicking on the various games I’ve seen go by over the last few years but never got a chance to play. Here is what my queue looks like:
My first nine choices aren’t available? (The problem is worse than shown above. There were another half dozen or so titles which I wanted to try but which were listed as “Long Wait”, so I didn’t even bother adding them to the list.) Note that many of these titles are years old. When you click on the little “?” for Short Wait it explains:
This makes it sound like a problem with demand, but when things like six-year-old Final Fantasy X are listed as a Long Wait title, it quickly becomes clear that the real problem is with supply, not demand. They just don’t have enough copies. In that list above, none of those games are esoteric or out-of-print. New copies are readily available for most of them. They could obtain more copies if they wanted to, which leads me to conclude that they think the above situation is acceptable. Almost everything that caught my interest was “Short Wait” or “Long Wait”. The only games which were “Available Now” were games which I knew to be terrible, or games I’ve never heard of.
You can peruse their list of titles, but in order to see their availability you have to sign up. It is only after you’ve done so that you realize you’ve been had, and that you just agreed to pay $22 a month so you can wait in line.
This site explains that short wait “usually” means 24-48 hours. Fine. But if you have an “Available Now” title lower down, they will ship that instead. This means that even though I really want one of those games at the top of my list, they will repeatedly send the lesser-desired titles further down. This isn’t bad, except that I won’t get another shot at one of those top games again until I send back another one on my end. Basically, each time I send a game back it will be a little dice roll to see if I get what I want or what’s available. I could end up waiting a long, long time for one of those “Short Wait” titles. I guess I could delete the “Available Now” titles from my list to force it to wait.
I think I need to look around and see if anyone else offers a service like this. Perhaps they would like my business.
IT JUST KEEPS GETTING BETTER: A few hours later, and LEGO Star Wars went from “Available Now” to “Long Wait”. I now have a list of thirteen games I want and not one of them is available. This is asinine.
Shamus Young is an old-school OpenGL programmer, author, and composer. He runs this site and if anything is broken you should probably blame him.