As of mid-2007, Numbthumbs closed down their video game rental business--we keep this review as is for posterity's sake.
Numbthumbs admittedly has a simple-looking site and not too much to be impressed with in the way of additional features. NumbThumb Games in Austin, Texas, is one many game rental companies on the West Coast, but few specifically in the Northwest, making it an good choice for gamers located in the region.
They only list 7 genres for browsing, the lowest we've seen in a game rental site, but this won't be a major factor for most customers. Likewise, unlike most companies, they don't offer an option to purchase games as well as rent. We do like their Availability status indicator, which notes if a title is In Stock, Long Wait, Short Wait, etc.
We also like their data for each title, with a large box cover image, publisher, release date, players, and then hyperlinked platform and genre, with a short paragraph description. We don't like how you need to click a tab to see if there are any critic reviews or member reviews, and likewise, even very popular games like Tom Clancey's Ghost Recon 2 don't appear to have screenshots--if these features aren't used, the tabs should really be deleted in our opinion. Likewise, their Forum is listed as "Coming Soon," which is another minor disappointment.
NumbThumb's Priority Points system is innovative and promising: you add as many games to your queue as you like, then if a title you wanted is out of stock and NumbThumb needs to send an alternate titles further down the list, then you get "Priority Points", and with more of these points, you have a better chance of getting future high-demand titles. This is an intriguing system not used by DVD or game rental companies in the US, UK, Canada, or Australia to our knowledge--at least not overtly--and could become a model for the future of DVD and game rental.
They do not offer a phone customer service contact number, with all contact through an email form, but this is not uncommon in the industry. They do have a parental control feature, which allows children to run their own gamer queues and rent only age-appropriate games.
Prices: Numbthumb offers a 14-day free trial. Prices for unlimited rentals are $13.95 per month for one game out at a time, $21.95 for 2 games out at a time.