Exactly how do online video game rental services stack up against game rentals from your local store, point for point? Here's the shakedown:

Game Rental Selection

If you can't get enough gaming at your house, you've probably already invested hundreds—if not thousands—into your game collection. When you want bigger gaming variety without buying more, where can you go? Local rental selections, well, stink—video rental shops may carry just a few dozen games for only one or two systems.

For a perfect fit, dedicated video gamers browse game collections online because website game clubs typically offer over 2,000 game titles. These games fit a full range of systems, including XBox, PSX (PlayStation), GameCube, Dreamcast and GameBoy Advanced.

Game Rental Convenience

You won't have to go back and forth to the store to return game rentals, and you won't need to pay $20 for each used game at the gaming consignment shop any more.

With a few mouse clicks on your computer, you can browse through thousands of game titles and sort them by game system, by title (alphabetically) and by audience rating (ranging from 'Everyone' to 'Mature'). Some gaming databases also offer a type—in search tool so you can search by keyword or type in the game title for fast finds. And most game rental clubs allow parents to set limits based on these audience rankings so children can only pick from appropriate games.

Game Rental Fees

Typically, local rental shops require you to return video games within a day or two or they'll sock you with a late fee.

Online game rental services generally charge a flat monthly rate. Rates start at about $15 a month for one game at a time, are roughly $20 for a two-game checkout, and so on. The point is you're never tied to a due date, so you're never charged late fees. In fact, some game rental clubs even give you the option to buy the game if you just can't give it back. And if you keep a game for weeks on end—no one will call to complain.

Online game rental clubs are a three-way win. If you or someone in your family is a serious gamer, online game rentals are a convenient, inexpensive way to play with the widest variety of games possible.

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