When I was a kid, the only way to play "new" games (not so much new releases, just new to us) was to get them for a birthday or Christmas gift, to borrow from friends or to go to the rental store. It truly was an experience of discovery, where the slightest interesting bit of box art was enough to get you a new game to play for a few days. In fact, being able to rent games was how I discovered some of my favorite games of all time. I would never have played Godzilla: Monster of Monsters as a kid if we didn't see it on a rental store's shelf. My siblings and I stood in shock as we saw Final Fantasy II, a 16-bit sequel to one of our favorite NES games, on display. My curious mind picked up a copy of Harvest Moon, only to literally lose a week of my summer vacation to the game (time never passed by so quickly as that one week). EarthBound, Princess Tomato, Bionic Commando, heck, renting Donkey Kong Country 3 saved me from purchasing one of the worst games in the franchise. I remember going back to the rental store for three or four weeks trying to get Star Fox, only for it to have been taken each time. Finally getting the chance to rent it was one of the happiest moments in my gaming life.
It's just not the same anymore. When you're an adult, you actually have the option to buy these games. However, because it's your money, you become much more careful as to what to spend it on. Game trailers are watched. Screen shots are viewed. Hype is absorbed. The only games I end up not knowing about when I examine store shelves are the shovelware or "let's try and get girls into gaming" make-up and pet simulations. I never find anything amazing by accident anymore, or so it feels.
GameFly is a decent enough service, but it's not perfect. It's more like the bargain-bin article that was mentioned, where all the latest and greatest games are instantly taken day of release, forcing you to sift through month or year old games so you can justify the monthly subscription. Yet the amount of time it takes these games to ship combined with a relatively hefty cost, and it becomes uncertain whether that $14-$21 a month cost is really saving any money.
In the end, I think technology has done us gamers favors, but it has also been a detriment. There's no surprises anymore, we get to see entire games before they even hit store shelves, and our minds are made up for us before we even know what it is we want. The rental store was a product of little money and even less information (even if you had a Nintendo Power the amount of coverage was limited). Now information is everywhere and so many of us have grown up with the hobby, sacrificing other luxuries (screw you designer jeans! I'm happy with my $20 pair from K-Mart!) for the sake of the brand new game (speaking of K-Mart, greatest place to purchase a new system. NO ONE showed up for the 3DS but me). All that magic, well, it's lost.
On an optimistic note, however, there's still a chance for some of these experiences to thrive. I picked up Viking: Battle for Asgard on the cheap, expecting it to be a terrible game, and it ended up being surprisingly fun. I've tried game demos that I expected to be lame only to replay them over and over, anticipating the game's actual release day. Surprises can still be found, but the manner is still different.
It just won't be the same as that surprise rental.