Sun Sets on Blockbuster

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#1 Posted by Allicrombie (25085 posts) -

anyone else have fond memories of Blockbuster Video? I remember going every week or so to rent an SNES catridge. If you went to the one here on Saturday morning after the little kids got there, it literally looked like a hurricane hit the inside. I think I still have my card.

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The last 300 stores owned by rental chain Blockbuster in the U.S. will be closed by January. If the news was as a surprise, it's only that so many were left. It leaves you with a weird nostalgia—hard to get worked up about a once-monolithic corporation, but still dewy-eyed recalling a trip to bring home GoldenEye.P

Blockbuster isn't even a company unto itself anymore, it's a brand owned by DISH Network, which acquired Blockbuster out of bankruptcy in 2011. DISH today said it was closing down everything except Blockbuster's movies-on-demand presence on its satellite service. Some 50 franchised stores will remain open but, ironically, like the mom-and-pop video stores crushed by Blockbuster's rise, these can't stand much longer against the tide of digital distribution and kiosk rentals.P

I rarely used Blockbuster. Video game consoles had been around throughout my childhood, but these were high-cost, high-risk, low-margin items compared to VHS tapes. A broad-shouldered company like Blockbuster made renting games a viable and relevant option to game culture starting around the 16-bit era. Blockbuster's heydey came when movies and games came on bulky, plastic, very hard-to-mail media like cartridges and VHS cassettes. When these things started moving to discs, and discs started getting easier to mail, the inevitable decline set in. Blockbuster today, despite the nostalgia, is more of a punchline, or a case study of corporate dinosaurhood.P

But while it lasted, it was fun. Nothing said Friday night like riding over to one of its ubiquitous strip-mall locations with your best friend and taking forever to pick out a movie, or asking the clerk to look if Donkey Kong Country 2 might be laying in the return stack, not yet checked back in.P

My memories of Blockbuster are more limited. It was the title sponsor of a crappy college bowl game from 1990 to 1993 (replaced by the even crappier Carquest Bowl.) I was astonished to find I still had a card issued by the store on El Camino Real in San Mateo, Calif. I rented LEGO Batman to test out region locking on that NTSC:J PlayStation 3 that my old employer had bought as a sweepstakes giveaway. Later, in Springfield, Ore., I'd go to the one up on Q Street, beside the Little Caesars which always had the weird guy on a bicycle holding up a sign for the 2-for-1 deal. I used Blockbuster mostly to pick up some out-of-date sports title to test or verify a feature in it, until that store closed. By 2011, if I was renting discs, they were coming out of a RedBox kiosk.P

Many took to Twitter this afternoon to pay their highly personal respects, some funny, some poignant. After so many Blockbuster nights, its days have come to an end.

Source

#2 Edited by solidruss (23639 posts) -

I'm amazed it lasted as long as they did.

#3 Posted by ferrari2001 (16677 posts) -

Yep, the age of the video store it over. Between, Redbox, Netflix, Video on Demand, and other subscription based movie services, video stores are pretty much worthless.

#4 Posted by mrmusicman247 (17561 posts) -

I'm amazed it lasted as long as they did.

indeed. the one by my house closed years ago, i assumed at the time they all closed

#5 Posted by lamprey263 (22430 posts) -

they've been dead for years, last time I really supported them they had the mailer system, get 3 movies in the mail, and when you're done you can swap them at the store for 3 DVDs there while you waited for the new mailers, then they canned the in store exchange program and that really pissed me off, then they claimed I didn't return something I did and tried charging me like $60 for a game I rented and after fighting with them to refund me I stopped going there, gave up on the mailing program after they dropped store exchanges because they never mailed any of the movies I had picked, I later learned that movies on their list were available nationally but not regionally and wouldn't ship for that reason

good riddance, I had fond memories of them back in the VHS days but that ship has sailed

#6 Edited by Aljosa23 (24300 posts) -

I await the nostalgic manbabies claiming video stores are superior to stuff like Netflix and Hulu.

#7 Posted by MrGeezer (55941 posts) -

What a shame. Blockbuster was so much better than Netflix.

#8 Posted by Master_Live (13618 posts) -

Dinosaurs go extinct.

#9 Posted by konvikt_17 (22100 posts) -

.

#10 Edited by Aljosa23 (24300 posts) -

@MrGeezer said:

What a shame. Blockbuster was so much better than Netflix.

haha, nice

#11 Edited by Hallenbeck77 (14258 posts) -

They closed all of the ones on the island here some time ago. Even with Netflix, Redbox and the like, the Mom-and-Pop video store I used to manage outlasted ALL of the Blockbuster stores out here.

Of course, having a massive "Adults Only" section helped us outlast them, too.

#12 Edited by one_plum (6301 posts) -

Tomorrow's another day.

#13 Posted by airshocker (28263 posts) -

I have fond memories of my Mom always yelling at me for keeping videos too long and her having to pay a late fee.

#14 Edited by BranKetra (47485 posts) -

I remember playing Pokemon Stadium at my local Blockbuster. I had a file saved and no one deleted it.

#15 Edited by Netret0120 (1889 posts) -

The only memory i have of them is that hilarious South park episode where Randy buys Blockbuster and goes mad from no1 coming to rent anything

I haven't lol'd that hard in awhile hahaha

#16 Edited by GoogleAndroid (139 posts) -

I'm amazed it lasted as long as they did.

Same here.

I remember my parents would take my sister and I to rent movies when we were little kids. Good memories, but it's time for it to die.

#17 Posted by Naktul (2 posts) -

I worked for the UK arm before being made redundant during their administration. The first one not the second. What surprised me is how many people would wander in not because they didn't have Netflix or LoveFilm or whatever other streaming/mailing service they used, but because they were unhappy with their service. It's all well and good that they provide a more efficient service than the dying dinosaur but there is still a market for the physical rental store.

The real shame comes in how poorly they are managed. Strange stock purchases like a small residential store being sent 100 copies of Quantum Theory and still having to sell them at £30 a year later. My hope is that on both sides of the Atlantic Blockbuster takes a firm resurgence and enters the digital market properly instead of sticking to only being a bricks and mortar business which sadly cannot compete with as many films and TV shows as you want a month for less than the price of renting 2 new release films for 2 nights.

That and if it goes further down everyone else I know is going to be out of a job... and that sucks no matter how much you dislike the company.

#18 Posted by DaBrainz (7604 posts) -

Blockbuster was for chumps they charged way too much. The smaller chains and mom and pop stores were much more reasonable.

One good thing I was fond of blockbuster for was hitting up there used games shelf. It was a good place to get 1 year old games for $10 to $15.

#19 Edited by TAMKFan (32702 posts) -

The Blockbuster in my city was only around for like one year. But there's also a Family Video here, which has been here for over 15 years now. So I haven't had much experience with Blockbuster.

#20 Posted by bob_toeback (11267 posts) -

I thought they were already finished. That used to be all I'd do with my money, is rent games lol.

#21 Edited by MistressMinako (45920 posts) -

I used to go there a few times when I was a kid and rent Sega Genesis games. I rented some games constantly like Sonic and Knuckles. Same with my favorite childhood movies. I used to get mad if someone already rented it out before I got there.

#22 Posted by s_h_a_d_o (1266 posts) -

anyone else have fond memories of Blockbuster Video?

Nope.

I always rechristened them Lacklustre.

:|

#23 Edited by The-Apostle (12106 posts) -

Wow... I remember when they beat out Warehouse. I used to get video games from Blockbuster all the time after Warehouse went out of business. Then it was Virgin Megastore. Then it was some mom&pop shop that sold video games. Now it's Wal Mart.

Good times.

#24 Edited by Flubbbs (2810 posts) -

rip video stores.. ill never forget the days of having to go into my local video store and renting a SNES.. good times

#25 Edited by Serraph105 (27571 posts) -

I have good memories of a chain called premier video, but the only real memory I have of blockbuster is the time I was in one with my brother and dad. My brother had to go to the bathroom (he was about 4-5) and was refused because only employees were allowed, my dad got pissed, and we never went there again.

#26 Posted by Serraph105 (27571 posts) -

@Flubbbs said:

rip video stores.. ill never forget the days of having to go into my local video store and renting a SNES.. good times

My girlfriend and I still go to Family Video quite regularly, you can rent two movies for a buck.

#27 Posted by PonchoTaco (1903 posts) -

I liked their unlimited rentals for $15/month. I saved so much on games.

#28 Posted by indzman (16408 posts) -

I'm amazed it lasted as long as they did.

#29 Posted by picklesurprise (172 posts) -
#30 Posted by whipassmt (13831 posts) -

@Aljosa23 said:

I await the nostalgic manbabies claiming video stores are superior to stuff like Netflix and Hulu.

What's wrong with being nostalgic?

You don't get nostalgic about stuff, Al?

#31 Posted by Shmiity (4964 posts) -

I bought Resident Evil 5 there in 2009. That was when all my local ones closed.

#32 Posted by Jd1680a (5898 posts) -

Blockbuster could still be around only if the CEO were to recognize the changing climate. They had enough cash on hand to weather a total restructure of their business into something that would compete with Netflix and RedBox.

#33 Posted by PannicAtack (20857 posts) -

I always preferred Hollywood Video, myself.

#34 Edited by SheBites (35 posts) -

The whole concept of driving someplace to go rent a movie seems silly and old fashioned now. I'm surprised there are any Blockbusters left standing...or any video rental store for that matter.

#35 Posted by solidruss (23639 posts) -

I read that there are 50 "Franchise" Blockbusters in the US that will remain open. Wonder how long they will last

#36 Edited by Allicrombie (25085 posts) -

I read that there are 50 "Franchise" Blockbusters in the US that will remain open. Wonder how long they will last

Read that too. Can't imagine they'd be doing much business at all.

#37 Edited by GamingTitan (495 posts) -

good riddance. i payed so much damn money to them in late fees back in the day~

Wasn't it their late fees that pretty much spawned the birth of Netflix and tanked them. ''No late fees" "keep it as long as you want" was all you heard from Netflix in the beginning.

#38 Edited by Serraph105 (27571 posts) -

@shebites said:

The whole concept of driving someplace to go rent a movie seems silly and old fashioned now. I'm surprised there are any Blockbusters left standing...or any video rental store for that matter.

The more stuff we do online the less we spend on gas money which is good for your wallet and the environment. On the other hand it means we get out of the house less, so that's a bit off disadvantage.

#39 Posted by Hallenbeck77 (14258 posts) -

I never cared for Blockbuster because they never have the unrated versions of most movies. And looking for an older title from them was just pointless. I can't find a copy of Stripes with Bill Murray, but hey, there's at least 50 copies of Scary Movie 4 to rent.

Oh, joy.

#40 Posted by sammyjenkis898 (27936 posts) -

This means my local Blockbuster will close and I'll finally be able to take advantage of those $1.99 deals.

#41 Posted by DharmaMember77 (2377 posts) -

Currently in mourning

#42 Edited by HuggyBear1020 (456 posts) -

Not surprising, they failed to adapt with the times. They allowed netflix and redbox to beat them to the punch on modern video services like mailing, digital streaming, and kiosks.

#43 Posted by picklesurprise (172 posts) -
#44 Edited by mems_1224 (45746 posts) -

man, my dad used to take me to blockbuster almost every friday right after school during middle school. i rented so many games

#45 Edited by sammyjenkis898 (27936 posts) -

:(

#46 Edited by Celldrax (14532 posts) -

I have no idea what this might mean for Blockbuster stores in Australia, but we still have two video stores in my area.

Just a matter of time, though....

#47 Posted by YukoAsho (2026 posts) -

Yep, the age of the video store it over. Between, Redbox, Netflix, Video on Demand, and other subscription based movie services, video stores are pretty much worthless.

You forgot DVDs being $15-$20 (with Blu-Ray being $20-$30) at your average big box or on Amazon. Seriously, when you can fucking buy a movie for less than Blockbuster's late fees, something's wrong. Only reason BB lasted before DVD mainstreaming was because VHS tapes were stupid expensive to buy.

#48 Edited by Braun_Roid_Rage (701 posts) -

I loved blockbuster. As a teenager sometimes I would switch a good video game I rented with a bad game of mine and turn it back in. My old school collection is stacked ha.

#49 Posted by -TheSecondSign- (9155 posts) -

Sad but inevitable. Hadn't been to one in years. No point anymore.

Friday nights were great for that reason though. Nothing beat going there with my dad.