on Apr 20, 2007
I apologize if my game rental adventures are getting tiresome, but I think after heaping shame onto Gamefly yesterday it’s only fair to note that they did manage to ship me a couple of titles. On the way are Prince of Persia – Two Thrones, and Lumines. I also have another game on the way from an unexpected source, but I’ll write more about that later.
Thanks to everyone who posted advice on how to coax games out of the capricious Gamefly oracle. Their availability is still lacking, although not quite as shameful as it seemed at first glance. For those of you who know the service, perhaps you can advise on how I might accomplish the following:
Our account lets us have two games at a time. To wit: We get a game, and another one. The plan is to always have one game for the PS2 and one for the Nintendo DS. More to the point: One for the kids and one for me. This was a simple arrangement in Netflix – just stagger the titles in the queue. But Gamefly will ship pretty much randomly from the list. If not randomly, then perhaps they do so according to some inscrutable system which would require advanced cryptography and the the use of a supercomputer to decipher. The only way around this – to make sure that I get a title for the appropriate platform – is to clean out the list every single time I return a game and then re-populate it with titles only for the desired system. Aside from the hassle, this is an ugly kludge that sort of negates the purpose of having a list.
I started poking around, looking for alternative send-me-some-dang-games-in-the-mail-and-be-quick-about-it services after the silliness yesterday. Let’s see: There is GPlay, Gamerang, GameFly, GameznFlix, NumbThumb, RentZero, GottaPlay, and GameLender. I’ve also heard that Blockbuster rents games but I don’t know if that is a separate service or part of their movie rental business.
(An aside. Who came up with the name “Rent Zero”? That’s like naming a car “Drive Nowhere”.)
I’m suffering rather acute paradox of choice here. No matter what service I choose I’ll have this nagging doubt that I made the wrong decision. Just narrowing things down is hard. This helps a bit, but it seems like my demands about title availability are unique. The linked article compares the various services on numerous criteria, but title availability is never even mentioned.
I had no idea there were so many players in this game. Whatever happened to the classic two-party system of leader vs. challenger? PC vs Mac. VHS vs. Betamax. Coke vs. Pepsi. Ginger vs. Mary Ann. Will we go the route of safety with the established choice, or embrace the iconoclasm of the underdog? This we understand. But how am I supposed to pick a winner in a nine-sided battle? Can’t some of these guys save me some time by going out of business or buying each other out? Really, I would need some sort of glut of unexpected free time before I could investigate this properly. My most likely course of action is just to stay with Gamefly and then complain a lot. I don’t know if you could call that sort of behavior a solution per se, but it is a choice available to me.
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.