The idea for this blog came about shortly after making my Chuck E. Cheese blog. As I mentioned in that one, Chuck E. Cheese wasn't a big part of my childhood. So I thought "why not share something that WAS a big part of my childhood?" And so I present to you, the reader, this blog sharing the video stores I visited when I was a kid, as well as some of the games and movies I rented and bought.
The Video Stores I Visited During My Childhood
Ladysmith Video and Crazy Mike's
Both of these stores were located in Ladysmith, BC. That was in the early '90s.
As I was very young at the time, I don't remember much about these stores. I vaguely remember going to one of them. I believe my family and I rented some NES games at these stores, and most likely some movies as well.
Located in Duncan, BC, this store was my go-to place for renting NES games in 1994.
I still remember where the NES games were located. They were near the entrance. From the entrance, you just turned right and the NES games were on the other side of the shelf that was there. I rented quite a few games there, like most of the Mega Man games (including Mega Man 5), Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan Project, Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters, Donkey Kong Classics, Battletoads, Pac-Man (which was my introduction to unlicensed NES games), Pac-Mania, Micro Machines, both NES Flintstones games (yep, even the incredibly rare Surprise at Dinosaur Peak), Tiny Toon Adventures 1 & 2, Rainbow Islands, The Jungle Book, The Little Mermaid, Zoda's Revenge: Star Tropics II, and probably others. I think I even rented the Sesame Street games, and one of the Fisher Price games.
In 1995, L.J. Video sold their NES games. I bought Mega Man 6 there with the box and manual, for a mere $5. I still have it after all these years. As you can see in the picture, I also still have my L.J. Video card.
I continued visiting L.J. Video until 2001, and also rented tons of games for SNES and N64. For SNES, I rented Super Mario Kart, the Donkey Kong Country games, Stunt Race FX, Yoshi's Island, Super Mario RPG, Mega Man 7, Super Off-Road, Dirt Trax FX, Rock 'n Roll Racing, Star Fox, etc. For N64, I rented Super Mario 64, Mario Kart 64, Diddy Kong Racing, Cruis'n USA, Yoshi's Story, Super Smash Bros., Mickey's Speedway USA, the Mario Party games, Donkey Kong 64, and Mario Tennis. That was just this store. I rented other SNES and N64 games at other video stores.
In late 2000 or so, L.J. Video was selling some of their SNES and N64 games. I believe the SNES games were $10 each, and the N64 games $15 each. For SNES, I bought Brett Hull Hockey '95, Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters, Battletoads Double Dragon, and The Jungle Book. For N64, I noticed Super Mario 64 and Diddy Kong Racing. I bought Diddy Kong Racing since I already had Super Mario 64. All of these games had their boxes and manuals.
In late 2001, I left the Vancouver Island and moved to the mainland, but I visited other video stores on the island before doing so.
I visited the island for a week in 2018. The building L.J. Video was in is still there, but it is now a Wine store.
A video store that was located in Mill Bay, BC.
My copy of Mega Man 3, which I got for Christmas in 1994 and still have, was apparently bought at this store, and has a Pioneer Video label on the box.
I don't think I rented a whole lot from this store, but maybe I just don't remember. I do remember renting an N64 there once, along with Mario Kart. I think they only allowed customers to rent an N64 for two days, and would charge $7 (or more) if it was returned late. This compares to renting an N64 for a week at L.J. Video. I also remember visiting this store in 2001, after Conker's Bad Fur Day was released for N64. I remember seeing the box for that game at this store. I was too young to rent it, but that didn't prevent me from looking at both the front and back of the box. I recognized Conker from Diddy Kong Racing. The commercial for Conker's Bad Fur Day was shown only at night, and I stayed up late enough to watch it (I remember it had a drunk squirrel and a hooker).
Overall, L.J. Video had better deals than Pioneer Video.
24 Hour Video
24 Hour Video was a huge video store located in Duncan, BC.
While not my favorite video store, it was very fun exploring it as it seemed so big when I was a kid. Despite that, there selection of games wasn't all that impressive. One of the main reasons why I came to this store was because it was the only place I could find Mega Man Soccer for SNES. None of the other video stores I went to had it. I think I also rented some N64 games at this store, but don't remember which ones. The movie selection, however, was great. When it came to movies, they had just about anything anyone would want: comedy, thriller, horror, kids movies, etc. They also had an adult-only room; I remember seeing a curtain and a sign saying the room was for adults only. It's been a long time and I might not be remembering this correctly, but I think they also had a Popcorn Machine. And they definitely had candy.
In 2000/2001, 24 Hour Video closed. I believe they temporarily moved to what used to be a Country Grocer, and sold their movie and games there. I lined up at the entrance one morning, and got in as soon as the doors opened. I walked over to the SNES games, and bought as many as I could with the allowance that I had saved up for a few weeks. I bought Mega Man Soccer, Mega Man X3, Kirby's Dream Course, Donkey Kong Country, and Battletoads in Battlemaniacs. All of the games included the boxes and inserts, except for Donkey Kong Country which was loose. They were $10 each I believe. Unfortunately I sold these games a few years later in 2005. I still have the rental cases. Mega Man X3 is worth $1000+ now, if it includes the box, manual, and inserts. After buying the games, I went back to the store a few days later and bought Honey We Shrunk Ourselves on VHS, as well as some candy.
I believe a Rogers Video opened up where 24 Hour Video was (the original building, not the Country Grocer). I seem to remember going to it once in 2001. They were probably the only video store I went to that had handheld games, because I'm pretty sure I remember seeing Game Boy Advance games there.
This store was located in Shawnigan Lake, BC. It was both a video and convenience store.
At the entrance was the convenience area, with drinks, chips, chocolate bars, etc. There was a ramp on the left that led to the games and movies. At the top of the ramp, on the wall just to the right and near the ramp, was a small but decent selection of games. I rented Soul Blade for PS1 at this place, and I believe I also rented some N64 games but don't remember which ones (Diddy Kong Racing maybe?).
A friend and I would sometimes ride our bikes to the store, rent games, and stock up on candy.
I visited the store one day and noticed they were selling some of their VHS tapes. They had a Ninja Turtles cartoon tape there for $4, which I still have.
Also in Shawnigan Lake, BC.
The game selection at this store was way better than That's Entertainment. They had several SNES, N64, and PS1 games. I believe they even had NES games. But this was in 1997/1998, and by then I was largely focused on playing games for SNES, N64, and PS1. I believe I rented Super Mario RPG and Super Mario 64 from this store.
In 2000/2001, Aurora Video closed. Like 24 Hour Video, I lined up at the entrance and went in the store as soon as the doors opened. I bought Super Mario World, Mario Paint, and Super Mario RPG. Super Mario World came with a rental case and a photocopy of the manual. Mario Paint came with the box, manual, Mouse, and Mouse Pad. Super Mario RPG came with the box and manual (the real manual).
I bet most of you were waiting for this. The majority of the video stores I went to were independent stores, but I started going to Blockbuster in 1999/2000. The one I visited was located in Duncan, BC.
However, even though I visited Blockbuster, I didn't really rent anything there. In 2000 or so, they had a Sega Dreamcast up and running and I would visit the store to play Sonic Adventure. Even though I wasn't into Sega as much as Nintendo and Sony, Sonic Adventure was probably my favorite game released in 1999. I've played the GameCube version of Sonic Adventure (Sonic Adventure DX) since 2004 or so and have had it in my collection for over a decade, but a couple years ago in 2020 a friend gave me a copy of the Dreamcast version for free along with some Dreamcast Generator demo discs.
I moved to the mainland in late 2001. I visted a Blockbuster Video in Red Deer, Alberta and browsed, but still didn't rent anything. I don't remember why exactly, but Blockbuster was never a go to store for me. Yet, I still wanted to visit and look around. Sometimes it was fun to just look around in a video store.
Video Store in Duncan, BC
In 2000/2001, after 24 Hour Video closed, another video store opened up in Duncan, BC. I don't remember the name of it.
I rented some N64 games there: Super Smash Bros. and Hot Wheels Turbo Racing. They had some games (and maybe movies) that were from 24 Hour Video (literally the same copies).
Video Store in Winnipeg, Manitoba
I visited Winnipeg, Manitoba in the year 2000, and again in 2002. I don't remember if it was in 2000 or 2002, but during one of my visits I came across a video store and looked around. I also don't remember if it was a Blockbuster or some other store, but I do remember something I saw there. I found a Donkey Kong Country cartoon VHS tape. At the time, Donkey Kong Country was playing on Fox in the U.S. and Teletoon in Canada, but it was a bit difficult to come across episodes of the series on VHS. There was the "Donkey Kong Country: Legend of the Crystal Coconut" VHS that wasn't too hard to find, but it seemed like that was the only DKC cartoon VHS released. Seemed. But I found a different DKC VHS tape at a video store in Winnipeg. I looked at the box and was bummed I couldn't rent it since I was just visiting. I don't think I ever saw that tape again.
I moved to the mainland. The PS2, GameCube, and Xbox had been released and a new video game console era was in full swing. However, I didn't play these consoles until 2003 or so (actually I played GameCube and tried out Luigi's Mansion at a Zellers store in 2001, but didn't actually get the console until 2003). So, I still wanted to play SNES, N64, and PS1 games. I was also interested in getting back to playing the NES and original Game Boy, both of which I still had but didn't play as often.
In late 2002, a flyer was delivered to the Mailbox (an orange flyer, not the flyer shown in the picture which was from 2003). It was from Hollywood Video, located in Red Deer, Alberta. I read the flyer, and noticed it mentioned Nintendo games. It also mentioned SNES and N64, so I thought "Nintendo" meant the NES. So, I visited the store and found a shelf full of NES games. There were more on the other side too. I was hoping I could find Mega Man 5 there, which I only rented once at L.J. Video. Well, I did find Mega Man 5...sort of. I only saw the box. I thought someone rented it, but noticed the game still wasn't there when I came back another day. Oh well. I rented Tetris and The Simpsons: Bart Vs. the World. It was kind of cool being able to rent NES games eight years after I rented some at L.J. Video.
in 2003, Hollywood Video was finally selling their NES games. I bought Adventures of Lolo, and got an NES rental case with a Permastruct manual. The copy of Adventures of Lolo shown in the picture is not the copy I bought at Hollywood Video, but I still have the rental case. In the Summer of that year, they moved a block or two from their original location. It was smaller and a bit cramped. but still fun to visit. They still had many NES and SNES games for sale. I bought Donkey Kong Classics for NES, and a Super Game Boy and Pac-in-Time for SNES. I still have the manual for Pac-In-Time, and still play the game in Pac-Man Museum+ for Switch which I bought earlier this year (interestingly, Pac-Man Museum+ contains the Japanese version of the game). I later bought Dig Dug II and Batman Returns, both for NES.
There were a bunch of VHS tapes for sale. I bought some Ninja Turtles cartoon VHS tapes. I also found the box for A Goofy Movie. I bought it and took it home. Once I opened the box I noticed that the movie inside was not A Goofy Movie, but rather the sequel (An Extremely Goofy Movie). I didn't mind, though, because I liked both Goofy Movies. I later bought A Goofy Movie (first one) on DVD in 2011, at an HMV. Also pictured is Fly Away, Home, which I watched on TV once.
I got a GameCube in 2003, and rented a lot of games for it at Hollywood Video. Super Smash Bros. Melee, Sonic Mega Collection, Pac-Man World 2, and Mega Man Network Transmission were among the first games I rented for it.
In 2005, I was in my late teen years and wanted to play some adult games. Resident Evil 4 had been released for GameCube, and it was the first M rated game I played. But I still wanted to play Mario, Sonic, Mega Man, and Pac-Man games as well. I had been renting games at Hollywood Video for three years by this point, and often visited on weekends. So in late 2005, I started to ask the owner/manager (who was usually the only one working there) if I could request games that weren't at the store. He said yes. And I continued asking for more and more games. By 2007, there were nearly 200 games for GameCube at the store (yes, I counted).
I continued to rent N64 games in 2004. I rented Super Smash Bros., GoldenEye, and Hot Wheel's Turbo Racing. I also rented Mega Man Legends 2 for PS1.
In late 2006, I was approaching adulthood and wanted to play more teen/adult games. I became interested in the Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell series, and noticed there were four of them on GameCube (yes, even Splinter Cell: Double Agent even though it was a late release). The original, SC: Pandora Tomorrow, and SC: Chaos Theory were at the store, so I rented them. I had to request SC: Double Agent.
In 2007, I requested Pac-Man World 3 but the manager got Pac-Man World Rally instead. No big deal; I wanted to play that game too, and I had already played Pac-Man World 3 in late 2005. I also requested Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex. That game was already five years old in 2007 (almost six if you count the fact that the PS2 version was released in 2001), but could still be found at some stores in the discount bins so the manager got it. I went to EB Games and noticed they had the GameCube version of Mega Man X: Command Mission. Since my funds were limited, I couldn't buy it. I had been requesting games at Hollywood Video for a while, so I requested the game and told the manager that there was a copy at EB Games. He hesitated because he normally didn't get used copies of games, but was willing to that one time. So I went back to EB Games and had them put the game aside, and told them that the manager from Hollywood Video would pick it up.
Anyway, the Hollywood Video I went to closed in the Summer/Fall of 2007. I bought Mega Man X: Command Mission. I remember almost all of the PS2 and GameCube games were sold, while most of the original Xbox games were unsold.
In 2010, I found a copy of Bust a Move 3000 at a retro game store. It happens to be a copy from Hollywood Video.
Last year in 2021, a friend gave me Adventure Island 2 for NES. It is also from Hollywood Video.
Video Update/Movie Gallery
In Red Deer, Alberta, there used to be a video store in a strip mall with a DQ and Co-op store and Gas Station. I think it was Video Update, then it became Movie Gallery. In 2002, I often went there and rented Mario Tennis for N64 and Space Jam on VHS. It wasn't very far from where I lived at the time, so I would sometimes walk there. I remember wanting to rent GoldenEye but it seemed like it was always being rented (or was it lost or stolen? Who knows). Luckily, I was able to rent GoldenEye at Hollywood Video.
Video Plus was a video store I came across during a visit to Canmore, Alberta in either 2002 or 2003. As I was just visiting Canmore for a few days, I couldn't rent any movies or games. I entered the store and looked around. I don't really remember much about it. I doubt there was really anything about it that stood out. The only thing I really remember about visiting that store was finding The Land Before Time: Journey to Big Water, which was the newest Land Before Time movie at the time. I think the last Land Before Time movie I rented was the seventh one (The Big Freeze). I was a teenager when I visited this store and wasn't really interested in watching Land Before Time movies anymore. I likely thought I was "too old" for them, which is likely also why I didn't visit Chuck E. Cheese much (if at all) when I was a kid and visited there just recently. That and, aside from watching some commercials in the early/mid 2000's, Chuck E. Cheese wasn't really on my mind until just last month.
Video Headquarters, or Movie Gallery, was another video store I often went to in Red Deer, Alberta.
There were two locations: one at the south end and one at the north end. I went to the one at the north end, starting in 2003. Some of the games I rented there were Finding Nemo and Sonic Heroes. I still have the receipt from when I rented Sonic Heroes in 2004.
In 2006, I went to the VHQ at the south end of Red Deer. Some of the games I rented were Namco Museum (2002) and Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly. In 2008, after Hollywood Video closed, I went to VHQ again. They still had games for GameCube. I rented F-Zero GX, James Bond 007: Nightfire, and Need for Speed: Most Wanted. These were some of the last games I rented at a video store.
In 2010, I went back to the VHQ at the north end of Red Deer. They had sealed copies of Sonic Mega Collection and Sonic Adventure DX on a shelf behind glass doors. Sonic Mega Collection was $20 and Sonic Adventure DX was $10. I bought both and kept them, knowing that would be the last time I would find them sealed at a nearby store. I also still have the receipts/statements from when I bought them. Pretty good deals too especially for SADX, since it not only has an upgraded version of Sonic Adventure but also every Sonic game for the Game Gear (including two games that were originally released in Japan only).
The Digital Age
Even after I stopped renting video games in 2008 and Netflix and other streaming services became popular, I still occasionally visited video stores. In 2010/2011, I walked into Blockbuster Video once more. By that point, they didn't have any PS2, GameCube, or Xbox games for rent. They had a few PS2 games available to buy, but that was it. It was mostly PS3, Wii, and Xbox 360 games at the time. I went to a video store (don't remember which one) in Sylvan Lake, Alberta, and they too had gotten rid of their PS2, GameCube, and original Xbox games. I also went into a Rogers Video in Red Deer, and saw they had a few PS2 games left, but again they mostly had PS3, Wii, and Xbox 360 games.
A few years later, when video stores were mostly obsolete, I remember reading that a new video store, called Video View, opened up in Red Deer, Alberta. They were apparently in the same buildings as VHQ. I thought about visiting the store, but didn't.
Video stores were always fun to go to. Even on days I didn't rent anything, it was still fun to look around at the games and movies, look at posters, watch what was on the TVs, and eat candy or popcorn. Some stores also had kid areas with cartoons or animated movies playing, or maybe some toys to play with. New movies and games were coming out almost every week. There was always something fun to see and do.
As usual, I'll be making updates to fix typos and add pictures.
Edited by MegaMan52
Fixed typos and added pictures