Netflix for gamers
Who says you have to shell out $50 to try new video games (which you might end up hating anyway)? Once again, the Internet's got you covered.
You can check out the latest titles through online videogame rental companies, such as GameFly, Gamerang, and GameZnFlix. Just like Netflix, you can rent as many games as you can play for a flat monthly rate. Simply choose the games you want through the company's website, and they'll ship you the titles one by one. You can keep each game as long as you want, and when you're done, you just mail it back in the provided pre-paid envelope. Once the game has been received, the company will send you the next title in your list.
Differences between companies are subtle but important to keep in mind. For example, GameFly (www.gamefly.com), whose rates start at $14.95/month (with a 10-day free trial period), claims its games take only 2-5 business days to reach subscribers. But the company's sole distribution center is in California. That means it actually takes much longer for New Yorkers to receive games, despite GameFly's "Fast Return" program (as soon as USPS scans your re-mailed envelope, the company sends you the next game off your list).
Gamerang (www.gamerang.com) is similar to GameFly, including matching price plans and trial periods. But this company has four distribution centers, including one in New Jersey, so games need less travel time. And unlike GameFly, Gamerang offers games from the substantial original PlayStation library in addition to current-gen titles.
GameZnFlix (www.gameznflix.com) also has a nearby distribution center (in Massachusetts). And it offers the cheapest deal of the three (plans start at $8.99/month, with a 14-day trial period). But it has been plagued by a reputation for poor customer service, despite recent improvements in the system.
These companies are three of the bigger websites, but many other options exist. So what are you waiting for? Get thee to the Internet.