The Awesome Idea Blockbuster Never Got Off the Ground


This article now comes in a shiny new format known as “video”, that you can check out below. Because this is a new, untested and ultimately unreliable technology, for your safety the original, text version can be found after the jump. 

If you spend enough time on any fact delivering website (with the exception of this one), you’ll inevitably learn about the time Blockbuster turned down the chance to buy Netflix for a measly $50 million in the year 2000. While it’s certainly interesting that Blockbuster decided against investing millions of its dollars in a company that was haemorrhaging money at the time, a fact many of the aforementioned sites seem to leave out, we think it’s far more interesting that a few years earlier, Blockbuster tries to build kick-ass adults only amusements parks and the idea never took off.

In 1994, Blockbuster invested millions developing an idea it dubbed “The Blockbuster Block Party” which basically consisted of filling a giant building with tons of awesome shit and making it so that only adults were allowed inside. To test the idea, Blockbuster built two test facilities that were each roughly the size of an entire fucking city block (hence why they called it a “block party”) and crammed them full of tons of adult-sized slides, games and fast food restaurants that only served adult-sized meals that still came with toys.

These facilities contained arcades (that weren’t filled with shitty screaming kids), rides (that weren’t overrun with shitty, screaming kids), cinemas (showing films that weren’t ruined by shitty, screaming kids), Laser Tag (that wasn’t filled with shitty, screaming kids who don’t know how to shoot straight) and even gigantic play areas filled with ball pits, tunnels and big foam blocks that glowed in the dark. On top of this, the facilities were open after dark, at which point they’d turn down the lights and play thumping techno while beaming lasers everywhere.

This could have been you.
This could have been you.

As an idea how far Blockbuster went to make sure these places were the tits, they even included a giant pinball machine and virtual reality games in the test facility they built in Albuquerque. In essence, Blockbuster built miniature theme parks that sold alcohol, indoors and then banned kids from entering at certain times, which is probably one of the best fucking ideas we’ve ever heard and it never took off. 

Yes, for some reason, Blockbuster never tried to expand on this idea and instead let it fizzle and die when it didn’t immediately make money.

So yeah, the next time you’re scrolling through Netflix, remember that one of the businesses it killed tried to build giant indoor amusement parks for adults.