Classic Retro video game book reviews

Video Stores Still Exist -Book Review
Retro video game book review

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Title: Video Stores Still Exist
Author: Lunchmeat
Platform: Book
Release Date: 2022
Rating: 4.0 out of 5
ESRB Rating: N/A

Rating: Atari Inc. Business Is Fun - classic retro video game book review Rating

Video Stores Still Exist, by Lunchmeat, is both a delight and cautionary tale of the demise of corner-store video rentals. It's really cool to see this many video stores still in business, run by cinefiles who adore the days of home video stores. As grand as their stories are, there are very few of these stores able to stay in business. Through interviews with several stores you'll get a terrific glimpse into the existence of video stores in today's modern age of streaming services.

Twelve video stores, still open today, are interviewed for this wonderfully retro creation. The book itself is full of retro flair from it's center binding staples to it's zine-like layout. Very appropriate for the discussion of video stores in the modern age. They're still here, but don't operate in the same fashion. Many have attained non-profit status and focus on sales rather than rentals.

One of my favorite facets of this book are the questions. They're good questions and each store owner is asked the same questions. This lets the reader see how diverse the stores are even when answering the same questions. I loved this!

Holy shit! Check this out...
Blockbuster once ruled the day, but plenty of Mom & Pop shops did very well in the heyday of the 80s. Many of the smaller stores had an edge on Blockbuster by offering an Adult selection
of movies. Some will say that porn films on VHS played a major role in the demise of the Betamax format. Regardless, Video rental stores do still exist and often feature eclectic titles that are hard to find.

We all had Blockbuster cards, but I think many of us also had a slew of membership cards to various local video stores. Back in the day, my wallet was stuffed full of video store cards. Some had a serial number. Others just my name. A few had magnetic strips that could be scanned at the video store. But most were simple ways to identify you, your account, and make sure you didn't have a large stash of past-due tapes & discs listed on your account!

I began my life with the superior quality of movies on Beta. Don't come at me - we all know Beta ruled! I moved on to VHS when Betamax hardware disappeared from retail shelves. I dabbled in Laser discs, but wasn't truly content until DVD arrived. The world was even treated to format wars within the DVD format, but they've steadily improved and are still backward compatible all the way to CDs.

The Lies Behind Streaming

When streaming was being pitched to the masses, we were told of this immense, ever-growing library of movies. All of which were on-demand whenever you wanted to take in a film. But that wasn't really true, was it? It was enough to jumpstart Netflix. Blockbuster scoffed at the notion and continued to collect tapes in their return drop-box. This was a time in which consumers were told about the wonders of digital copies and streaming. As if the internet wasn't already clogged with an abundance of spam and porn.

So Netflix quickly took over and their library did grow. But nothing is truly infinite and movies fall into that category too. Rights-holders wouldn't just give their titles to Netflix. There was a business model built around streaming. Once the budget was met, things changed.

New titles were added all the time. It was great... until we discovered that titles were also being removed. Nowadays, we get monthly lists of all the movies that will be purged each month. "Watch 'em now before they're gone," they tell us. But what about that infinite library of ever-growing titles. Sucker! Someone has to pay for that. Spoiler alert - it's YOU.

Physical Media To The Rescue

Needless to say, I'm a huge fan of physical media. From music and movies to video games and books, I can access and use any of my physical copies ANYTIME I want to. I love looking through my shelves of entertainment options. Online menues drive me crazy and most streaming services are 10% cool things I'd love to watch and 90% complete garbage that no one wants to be bothered with. Good luck finding the good stuff buried in screen after screen of awful movies.

Streaming seems like the dumbing-down of entertainment. Reducing it to the lowest common denominator. Lunchmeat's Video Stores Still Exist offers a unique look into video stores that have carried on into the new millennium to become cultural centers for movie lovers. They offer access to knowledge and films. Many have museum-like qualities. No longer are they a friday night destination for the latest Hollywood blockbuster, they house the best of the best and are curated by folks who love movies as much as you do!

I have no incites about the publishing run or schedule for this wonderful peek into today's video stores. Lunchmeat may still be selling them and have multiple publishing runs. Check out Lunchmeat on the web and see what they have to offer. They sell some great merch, as do many of the stores they interviewed. You may not live close to any of these legendary stores, but most have online sales and are glad to sell you a branded t-shirt or your favorite film on VHS. Support these local shops by ordering soft goods and movies!

You may still be able to buy Video Stores Still Exist from the Lunchmeat website.

classic retro gaming video game book review
Final Judgement:

Video Stores Still Exist

offers a unique way to discover an age-old retail concept that still survives on passion, nostalgia, and people like you. Once a staple of every street corner, video stores are few and far between.

The ones bold enough to forge ahead have a lot of history and movies to offer. Check them out!

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