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Can anyone tell me what it was like to buy...
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Can anyone tell me what it was like to buy games with no way of knowing whether they were good or not?

I was born in 1995, so I missed that whole era. how often did you buy a game, and end up disappointed?
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Magazines and friends were your main sources of reviews.
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My family used to go to video stores to rent movies pretty much every weekend and I was allowed to rent a game to try. Many games I ended up buying were ones I loved so much that I kept renting them over and over so my parents would get them for me for my BDay or Christmas. That and playing friend's games was the best way to try new stuff.
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>>2915320
This. I wasn't just the dark ages before the internet.

Besides you could also rent and a lot of smaller gaming stores actually had very knowledgeable people you could ask about what games to buy.
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>>2915320
>>2915329
Also blockbuster.
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>>2915320
Even back then, I wouldn't have trusted reviews as far as I could throw them.

Did you ever see a game in a store, your parents bought it for you, and it ended up being complete shit?
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>>2915336
Not one that also had a high score from a reviewer.
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>>2915343
I'm just recalling an AVGN episode, where he read a game magazine that said "tiger electronic games have true to life graphics and sound".
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>>2915358
An advertisement.
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Other than magazine reviews, friends recs, renting, etc...

Being a regular customer in various stores helped, the store owners/employees would let you try the games before buying them, if they had any copy already opened for display, for example.
Buying used games was also a good idea because they were cheaper and since they were already opened, there wasn't any issue if you wanted to try before buying.
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>>2915297
Total crapshoot before magazines and rentals. I usual got whatever I liked in the arcades at the time (got burned on NES 1942 and Ghosts N Goblins). Nearly shit myself when I saw a copy of Lifeforce at Walmart and it turned out to be great. Sometimes Walmart would let you return games in the early days. Switched out 1942 for Kid Nikki or some dumb shit.
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It's hard to explain the era before internet, but kids just talked a LOT more.

We would gather around and swap tips on awesome games.

The only thing I was ever "burned" was on an SMS and a copy of Phantasy Star, because I was too fucking stupid to realize it was great at that time.
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>>2915380
NES 1942 and Ghost and Goblins are pretty decent ports, in fact most Capcom games were solid. The game that burned me was Double Dragon. I saved my money and bought it the week it released. $50 was a shit load for a 10 year old and that game sucked the most ass.
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>>2915332
So much fucking this.
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>>2915504
Capcom was all about quality back then, sans the early stuff. 42 was repetitive whether it was console or arcade. NES GnG was a buggy, infuriating game. Sorry about your experience with Double Dragon NES, lack of co op was a dealbreaker. Luckily the sequel was better.
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>>2915543
idunno don't mind a round of 42 quite comfy, and agree on the GnG although still fun imo.
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Gambling on game rentals was fun as a kid... But getting stuck with a shitty game for the weekend was one of the worst feelings.
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Magazines and game rentals have already been mentioned but I will also add that arcades were still a big influence on what people wanted.

Arcade ports were very much hyped and purchased without considering a review and constantly rented.
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I remember getting Ghostbusters for the NES

other than mario games, it was probably the NES game I played the most. it's better than you think
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yep, magazines and rentals. sometimes i'd get impulsive and buy some game that i knew nothing about and usually it'd be crap. sometimes i'd ask for a game for christmas and then change my mind and my parents would have to return it to the store (i presume). sometimes my grandparents or parents would buy/rent me a game that i was convinced was trash, only to play it and be pleasantly surprised. basically, videogames in the 80s were a total crap shoot.
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>>2915375
pretty much this. one of the stores near me had a "try out bin" containing carts used for this purpose.
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>>2915578
Yeah GnG had some odd flicker and slowdowns but it was GnG, at home, in my living room and on freeplay. I ate that shit up. Honestly 1942 and 1943 were never that good to me in the arcade even. I always thought they were just okay. I picked up a 1943 arcade cabinet a few years ago for $150. It doesn't get much play at my house.
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We were flying blind for awhile until video stores started to rent Nintendo "tapes". A big chain drug store called Pharmor opened in my area and they rented Nes and Genesis carts. They were 3 games for two nights all for $1.50. My dad would take me there every weekend and let me rent 6 games. It was some of the best times ever.
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>>2915297
Because it's "all there was", you cherished what you had. Since you only got one new game every X months, you played the shit out of it and learned to appreciate aspects that went into it, even it was a bad game by today's standards.

And because of this, games didn't lie to you by having a 5-10 min intro sequence that didn't match the rest of the game in order to 'hook' you, like games do today.
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An element of denial. You'd see the totally rad boxart, some screenshots on the back. Blow your saved allowance, get home, pop it in. After a short while you knew it was shit and that you were tricked. But you didn't want to admit you blew several allowances on a dud.
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>>2915332
This. I never bought games as a kid without having rented them first. Damn, I must have rented Ocarina of Time and Monster Rancher six times each before ever buying them.
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>>2915297
Read the back of the box, hope there's at least one real screenshot of gameplay to tell you what sort of thing you'll be playing, and roll the dice.
Used games were even better, since cart-art never depicts anything like what you actually play.
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>>2916583
Yeah there was a beauty to being the master of a terrible game that's lost now. It actually made me appreciate the bad games for NES, something that's been lost in the emulation community. Having the whole NES library on tap is cool but not as cool as playing Friday the 13th for 3 months straight because that's all you had at the time.
Thread replies: 28
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