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On the season finale of Complete In Box, we’re taking a look at a piece of gaming history that’s so totally ‘90s: The rental store exclusive video game.

In the heyday of Blockbuster and Hollywood Video, video game publishers wanted to use rental stores as a unique marketing tool. They could put the games exclusively in rental stores, which would give the stores something to draw in customers and let the publisher release a game without having to worry that it wouldn’t sell.

If you wanted to play games like Final Fight Guy or John Madden Football Championship Edition, you had no choice but to go to your local rental establishment. And if you wanted to buy them, you had to wait until they hit the Pre-Played Games discount bins in the front of the store and hope that some kid didn’t lose the manual.

After going coast to coast for this season of Complete In Box, I’m back at home in the studio for this season’s last episode, with four rental-exclusive games that are some of the highlights of my collection. Games like Sonic Adventure: Limited Edition and Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine are hard to find today, so I’m excited to share some of the history about them with you.

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20 thoughts on “When Blockbuster Had Exclusive Video Games – Complete In Box

  1. I found a blockbuster exclusive for the original xbox, Freestyle Street Soccer, today at VintageStock. It didn’t come with a manual, though it had the original blockbuster box and art.

  2. Another video from this ASSHOLE that only helps to increase the prices on some games alerting hipsters retro gamers. SHUT YOUR FUCKING MOUTH!!!

  3. If Blockbuster was a huge chain in today's society, companies like EA and Bethesda would be fucked. They wouldn't make $79.99 for each game they sold, just the $10 it takes someone to rent their incomplete/shitty titles and realize that it's not worth the purchase.

  4. Blockbuster never did any of this in the UK annoyingly, everything was plain ol' retail. I wonder why?

  5. Kinda dropped the ball by forgetting Clay Fighters the Sculptur's Cut. It's literally the most famous example and you didn't even mention it.

  6. I picked up a copy of Beast Wars Transmetals for the N64 when my local Blockbuster was selling it. It's the only box I still own from childhood, simply because I was a Transformers fan and collector long before I started collecting games.

  7. A few things
    1. season finale ? How many episodes where there?
    2. Put on either a graphic tee or a nice tee. White shirt looks terrible

  8. I had no clue that there were ever rental exclusives. My first rental was Mega Man from my local mom and pop video store. Notable other titles the store carried were the NES port of SunSoft's Xenophobe and a selection of the original "black box" NES games like Excitebike. I have a distinct memory of agonizing over which game I'd pick to rent while Howard the Duck played on the overhead TV in the corner. What a strange time the '80s and early '90s were.

  9. I remember ClayFighter Sculptor's Cut being the most notable Blockbuster Exclusive game. Good stuff here.

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