Gaming and Me: The Simpsons Rental Rage

Remember those days when we rented video games, not as a stream through a digital service on our next generation consoles, but as in we went in person to the rental shop to take a physical copy of a game home for however so many days. It seems almost archaic nowadays but we really didn’t mind all that much, when I was little it was quite exciting to go down to the rental shop at the start of the weekend and see what new film or game was on offer. Alas unlike streaming services this wondrous relationship between renter and rentee could only last a limited amount of time until one forgot to take the goods back on time, resulting in an exorbitant fine that never got paid and thus a great rift would come between us and ne’er a thing would be rented again (at least that was always the inevitable conclusion in my family). Yet for me there was a darker side to this innocent transaction of renting games, one that was never more prevalent than the time I rented The Simpsons: Hit and Run.

Scooby Doo and the Cyber Chase.jpg
Games like these saw more action at the rental shop. Not something I’d want to but definitely give it a go at next to nothing to rent.

We’re looking at 2003 here so I was 11 or 12 years old at the time but I was picking certain games up from the rental shop because I knew I could complete them before the weekend was over, the kind of games like Scooby-Doo and the Cyber Chase, Futurama, and The Simpsons: Hit and Run. I’d play for hours at a time ensuring I completed whatever game it may be before Monday came around. I was never very good aty knowing when to stop playing and besides how hard and how long could these games really be?

Hit and Run Squidport Ramp
Why that ramp was so hard to get up that day is beyond me. Playing for too long I imagine.

I can remember a mission in Hit and Run where you have to race someone down Squidport (I think it was Krusty’s Limo) as Bart. The mission, like many others in the game, required that we kept up with the target vehicle while preventing the car from spinning out on corners and avoid filling up the Hit and Run meter that would unleash a torrent of police cars out of nowhwere. I can remember failing time and time again (only now I realise there are a lot of shortcuts to take advantage of to make life easier). Traffic kept getting in my way, I kept missing the great stunt ramp in th emiddle, and yes I allowed the hit and run meter to max out time and time again. Needless to say the controller ended up thrown across the room. I mean the game was supposed to be so easy, why wasn’t I able to finish this one mission! Not a proud moment to be honest and the situation only got worse when my told me he couldn’t not wait any longer; he had to take it back to the shop… Shamefully I pleased we rented it another night because I couldn’t let this limo get the best of me… looking back now it was a hollow victory…

Homer - Dead Car
The cars could blow up too, which you know was very annoying to have happen during a mission. Maybe the real moral is, just be a better driver…

That dark side to renting isn’t a problem anymore, I don’t yell and scream at games and there’s nary such a strict time limit to adhere to because well, everything is streamed now anyway. That and I can afford just buy the games I want. I suppose the moral of the story here is to just enjoy playing the game, as completionism can get a little heated when time is short. Maybe I’ll pick up The Simpsons: Hit and Run again someday, try to remember what all the fuss was about…

Anyone else had any rental gaming woes?

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