Electronics Boutique Christmas 1992 Catalog

Cover & Contents

Front Cover
Front Cover

Christmas of 1992 was the start of my loser phase that lasted until 1996 more or less. It doesn't feel like it was 20 years ago. In some ways it seems much more recent and in even more ways it feels more distant. I suppose this is normal, everyone probably experiences the same.

1992 was a great year for gaming. The Super Nintendo just turned one in America and was quickly catching-up to the Genesis. Sega responded by releasing a shiny new CD system. The TurboGrafx-16 and NES may have been fading but they had a few quality titles left in them. On the handheld front the Game Boy and Game Gear were hitting their stride. For PC gamers this year was something of a calm before the storm. CD-ROM gaming was about to breakout and developers were pressing the limits of floppy disks. I'd call it the "twilight of the floppy era" but after my wife forced me to watch those horrible Twilight films the word now makes me cringe.

Luckily in 1992 we were not yet burdened with the horrors of the Twilight books & films. Instead we had one of the finest holiday seasons in gaming, I'm glad I was a part of it.
Back Cover
Back Cover

The back cover features some of the hottest items of the season. OK maybe not Zookeeper and Timeriders in American History. We'll get a look at all of these and more.

Page 2 - Contents
Page 2 - Contents

The contents are a reminder that this was a time when Electronics Boutique was half game store, half software store. In several years they'd adopt the EBGames moniker to focus exclusively on gaming. Shortly thereafter they merged with GameStop.

This product selection led to an odd mix of customers - gamers, parents looking for educational games, boring fathers looking for accounting software, and everything in-between. As a lowly clerk you had to be able to feign expertise in all of these.


Super Nintendo

Super Nintendo systems, Super Mario Kart, Zelda: A Link to the Past, Mario Paint, NCAA Basketball
Page 3 - Super Nintendo systems, Super Mario Kart, Zelda: A Link to the Past, Mario Paint, NCAA Basketball

I find people linking to various catalog scans I've posted from articles or forum topics about game prices. The argument is typically that game prices in the past were comically high. I won't argue that $54.99 for NCAA Basketball isn't a complete rip-off. However, I will argue that hardware prices were comperably lower. At this point the Super Nintendo was only a year old in America but was available for $99.99. As of this writing, it takes nearly five years for systems to hit this price point. Even after adjusting for inflation this is a massive bargain.

Page 4 - Super Play Action Football, Super Mario World, F-Zero, Sim City, Super Scope 6, Super Nintendo Controller, Battle Clash
Page 4 - Super Play Action Football, Super Mario World, F-Zero, Sim City, Super Scope 6, Super Nintendo Controller, Battle Clash

I still haven't bothered hooking-up the Super Scope I found for $6 a couple of winters ago. I probably should try it sometime.

Page 5 - NHLPA Hockey '93, T2, NBA All Star Challenge, Desert Strike, John Madden '93, Spider-Man and X-Men Arcade's Revenge
Page 5 - NHLPA Hockey '93, T2, NBA All Star Challenge, Desert Strike, John Madden '93, Spider-Man and X-Men Arcade's Revenge

Do you remember a time when the "annual sports update" was a new idea? In the early 90s the tradition was just beginning.

Street Fighter II, Street Fighter II Joystick, Gunforce, Dino City, Road Runner, Lemmings
Street Fighter II, Street Fighter II Joystick, Gunforce, Dino City, Road Runner, Lemmings

The Street Fighter II joystick sure looks incredible but the stick is extremely loose. It feels nothing like an arcade stick and makes the game it's designed for almost unplayable. The Super Nintendo would get some good joysticks later but this one was a rip-off.

Page 7 - Super Double Dragon, Wings 2, Pushover, Lethal Weapon, Super Bases Loaded, Super Goal
Page 7 - Super Double Dragon, Wings 2, Pushover, Lethal Weapon, Super Bases Loaded, Super Goal

At Electronics Boutique, and probably every other video game store, the games were sorted alphabetically on the shelf. That system worked great until the Super Nintendo was released since 91.8% of the games started with "Super".

Page 8 - Home Alone 2, Road Riot, Gods, Cal Ripken Baseball, Wing Commander, Faceball
Page 8 - Home Alone 2, Road Riot, Gods, Cal Ripken Baseball, Wing Commander, Faceball

Faceball was something of an overlooked game for the Super Nintendo. The box art didn't help it move many copies. wing Commander had some great box art though, it looks like a movie poster.

Page 9 - Hook, Q*bert, Sim Earth, Wordtris, Mystic Quest, Out of this World, Final Fantasy II
Page 9 - Hook, Q*bert, Sim Earth, Wordtris, Mystic Quest, Out of this World, Final Fantasy II

On behalf of Electronics Boutique I'd like to apologize for the "Also for Game Boy" claim on Final Fantasy II. I can only assume it's referring to Final Fantasy Legend II. That sure would have been an interesting Game Boy conversion. I suppose it was possible but I'm glad they waited until the Game Boy Advance to do it.

Page 10 - Top Gear, X-Zone, Prince of Persia, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turles IV: Turtles in Time, Jeopardy!, Super Adventure Island, Spin Dizzy
Page 10 - Top Gear, X-Zone, Prince of Persia, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turles IV: Turtles in Time, Jeopardy!, Super Adventure Island, Spin Dizzy

I always enjoy playing these old versions of Jeopardy! to see how much I can remember about the Soviet Union and late 80s pop-culture.

Page 11 - SN Pro Pad, Turbo Touch 360, Ascii Pad, Super Advantage, The Miracle
Page 11 - SN Pro Pad, Turbo Touch 360, Ascii Pad, Super Advantage, The Miracle

The Super Nintendo controller is possibly the best one ever designed, definitely the best as of Christmas 1992. Not only was it better than all of the ones on this page, it was also cheaper. Third party controllers either have to be cheaper or better otherwise what's the point? The SN ProPad was OK, stiff but usable. The Turbo Touch 360 was awful. The Ascii Pad was alright, the best of the bunch on this page. The Super Advantage would have been fine were it not for the terrible button layout that made games like Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat unplayable.


Sega Genesis

Page 12 - Sega Genesis systems, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Streets of Rage 2, Batman Returns, Holyfield Boxing
Page 12 - Sega Genesis systems, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Streets of Rage 2, Batman Returns, Holyfield Boxing

I totally forgot about that $88.88 Genesis promotion until now. This is when I learned about video game markup. I'll start with the disclaimer that I don't know if these numbers are true today but I assume they are. Anyway, there is zero markup on game hardare. Seriously, zero. Stores don't make a dime selling hardware. New games are initally marked up 40% so that's where they earn most of their profit. So if they take $11.11 off the Genesis Core system but sell a $49.99 game with it they have a net profit of $3.81 (assuming I can do math). Sure that's low but it's also $3.81 more than they'd make if someone only bought the system.

PS - this is why Gamestop is totally screwed.

Page 13 - X-Men, Dungeons & Dragons: Warriors of the Eternal Sun, Talespin, Joe Montana Sports Talk Football, Young Indiana Jones, Ariel: The Little Mermaid
Page 13 - X-Men, Dungeons & Dragons: Warriors of the Eternal Sun, Talespin, Joe Montana Sports Talk Football, Young Indiana Jones, Ariel: The Little Mermaid

I'm pretty sure that wasn't the final box art for Young Indiana Jones. That's one of the cool things about these old catalogs, seeing preliminary art and outright vaporware.

Page 14 - Chakan, Home Alone, The Menacer, Bio-Hazard Batle, Arcade Power Stick, Mega Fire
Page 14 - Chakan, Home Alone, The Menacer, Bio-Hazard Batle, Arcade Power Stick, Mega Fire

I never got to try the Arcade Power Stick but it looks like a solid controller. A six-button version would have been amazing in the following year.

Page 15 - Road Rash II, Crue Ball, Jennifer Capriati Tennis, John Madden '93, RBI Baseball 4
Page 15 - Road Rash II, Crue Ball, Jennifer Capriati Tennis, John Madden '93, RBI Baseball 4

The only tennis players I know are ones that have video games named after them.

Page 16 - Cybercop, Chuck Rock, The Terminator, Muhammad Ali Heavyweight Boxing, Global Gladiators, World Trophy Soccer
Page 16 - Cybercop, Chuck Rock, The Terminator, Muhammad Ali Heavyweight Boxing, Global Gladiators, World Trophy Soccer

Not much to choose from on this page, these would all be in the bargain bins in a couple of months.

Page 17 - Gods, Super WrestleMania, Jeopardy, Outlander, Roger Clemens' MVP Baseball, Cal Ripken Jr. Baseball
Page 17 - Gods, Super WrestleMania, Jeopardy, Outlander, Roger Clemens' MVP Baseball, Cal Ripken Jr. Baseball

The comment I made about Tennis players, same goes for baseball players. It's not that I don't like sports, I watch football religiously. It's just that I don't like incredibly boring sports. Baseball is the worst. There's nothing as dull as watching dudes stand around not throwing a ball.

Page 18 - Leaderboard Golf, Indiana Jones, Double Dragon, Cadash, Sega Genesis Video Game Center, Winner 500
Page 18 - Leaderboard Golf, Indiana Jones, Double Dragon, Cadash, Sega Genesis Video Game Center, Winner 500

What's that? A storage unit that can fit those oversized EA boxes? Why didn't I buy a dozen of these when we started clearing them out in February 1993?

Page 19 - SG Pro Pad, Power Pad 2 Pak, Intruder 3, Ascii Pad SG, Striker, Turbo Touch 360
Page 19 - SG Pro Pad, Power Pad 2 Pak, Intruder 3, Ascii Pad SG, Striker, Turbo Touch 360

Roughly the same commentary as for the Super Nintendo controllers... these were all inferior to Sega's default controller but cost more. The Intruder 3 is a PC flight stick with inputs modified to fit the Genesis, what a total mess. I challenge anyone to successfully play a game with that beast.


TurboGrafx-16

Page 20 - TurboGrafx-16 system, TurboExpress, Ghost Manor, Hit the Ice, New Adventure Island, Air Zonk
Page 20 - TurboGrafx-16 system, TurboExpress, Ghost Manor, Hit the Ice, New Adventure Island, Air Zonk

Some systems have their best releases right before they're discontinued. The TurboGrafx-16 was not one of them. As much as I like the system I have to groan at these late releases. New Adventure Island is the only one of these I'd be up for playing today.

Page 21 - TurboDuo, Prince of Persia, Shape Shifter, Shadow of the Beast, Cosmic Fantasy II
Page 21 - TurboDuo, Prince of Persia, Shape Shifter, Shadow of the Beast, Cosmic Fantasy II

Not a bad assortment of CD games though. OK, I'll get the bad one out of the way first.. Shape Shifter, it's Castlevania II with cheesy voice acting. The rest are classics. Prince of Persia was the best looking 16-bit version and had a great soundtrack. More or less the same can be said about Shadow of the Beast. Cosmic Fantasy 2 required a ton of grinding but it also had an amazing soundtrack and some fun cutscenes.


NES

Page 22 - Nintendo Challenge Set, Super Mario Bros. 3, Tetris, Yoshi, Punch-Out, Dr. Mario, NES Controllers
Page 22 - Nintendo Challenge Set, Super Mario Bros. 3, Tetris, Yoshi, Punch-Out, Dr. Mario, NES Controllers

I can't recall anyone else ever selling controllers in a two-pack. OK, maybe some super cheap model or something. It seems like something we would have seen with the Wii.

Page 23 - Tecmo Super Bowl, Felix the Cat, Terminator, Hillsfar, Goal! Two, Quattro Sports, Quattro Adventure
Page 23 - Tecmo Super Bowl, Felix the Cat, Terminator, Hillsfar, Goal! Two, Quattro Sports, Quattro Adventure

My memory isn't perfect but I don't think many of these NES games were at our store. Tecmo Super Bowl was there for sure but overall the NES section was shrinking.

Page 24 - Barbie, Tom & Jerry, F-117A Stealth Fighter, Mickey's Safari in Numberland, Rollerblades, Darkwing Duck, Joe & Mac
Page 24 - Barbie, Tom & Jerry, F-117A Stealth Fighter, Mickey's Safari in Numberland, Rollerblades, Darkwing Duck, Joe & Mac

Same for these games... I'm positive we had Darkwing Duck but I don't recall seeing any of the others. Each location was different back then though. Today every GameStop has roughly the same inventory, but in the 90s each Electronics Boutique store was different based on the demographics of the location.

Page 25 - Overlord, Prince of Persia, Caesar's Palace, Tiny Toons, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III, Dragon Warrior IV, Greg Norman's Golf Power, Turbo Touch 360
Page 25 - Overlord, Prince of Persia, Caesar's Palace, Tiny Toons, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III, Dragon Warrior IV, Greg Norman's Golf Power, Turbo Touch 360

I want to say Dragon Warrior IV still goes for $60 today.


Game Boy

Page 26 - Game Boy, Wave Race, Yoshi, Super Mario Land III, Kirby's Dream Land, Metroid II, Game Boy Cleaning Kit, Game Boy Battery Pack
Page 26 - Game Boy, Wave Race, Yoshi, Super Mario Land III, Kirby's Dream Land, Metroid II, Game Boy Cleaning Kit, Game Boy Battery Pack

Great lineup of Game Boy titles here. Forget all the technical mumbo-jumbo, you just have to look at the game library to understand why the Game Boy crushed the Game Gear and Lynx.

Page 27 - Battleship, Speedball 2, Crash Dummies, Tecmo Bowl, Super Off Road, Miner 2049er
Page 27 - Battleship, Speedball 2, Crash Dummies, Tecmo Bowl, Super Off Road, Miner 2049er

Another page of mostly good Game Boy games.

Page 28 - Barbie, Tom & Jerry, Jeep Jamboree, Handy Power Kit, Handy Boy, Charge It!, Light It!
Page 28 - Barbie, Tom & Jerry, Jeep Jamboree, Handy Power Kit, Handy Boy, Charge It!, Light It!

I wonder what has more tacky accessories, the iPad or the original Game Boy, it's gotta be close.


Game Gear & Lynx

Page 29 - Game Gear, Game Gear Core System, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Wimbeldon Tennis, Streets of Rage, The Majors: Pro Baseball, TV Tuner
Page 29 - Game Gear, Game Gear Core System, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Wimbeldon Tennis, Streets of Rage, The Majors: Pro Baseball, TV Tuner

Sonic the Hedgehog was a nice pack-in for the Game Gear but it didn't help all that much. The system had some good titles but not enough to catch-up.

Page 30 - Taz-Mania, Chuck Rock, Batman Returns, Chakan, Car Adaptor, Battery Recharger
Page 30 - Taz-Mania, Chuck Rock, Batman Returns, Chakan, Car Adaptor, Battery Recharger

"The Battery Pack can recharge completely in just eight hours!"

I'd make a mocking comment about that statement except I think the Game Gear battery pack smokes my Vita in terms of both play and recharage time.

Page 31 - Home Alone, Ariel: The Little Mermaid, Shinobi II: The Silent Fury, Talespin, Game Gear Deluxe Case, Super Wide Gear
Page 31 - Home Alone, Ariel: The Little Mermaid, Shinobi II: The Silent Fury, Talespin, Game Gear Deluxe Case, Super Wide Gear

Even the Game Gear could not escape tacky magnifying accessories.

Page 32 - Marble Madness, Terminator, Lynx System, NFL Football, Shadow of the Beast, Steel Talons
Page 32 - Marble Madness, Terminator, Lynx System, NFL Football, Shadow of the Beast, Steel Talons

The poor Lynx doesn't even get a whole page. Although the system survived a few more years it was dropped by Electronics Boutique in early 1993.


PC Games

Page 33 - Car and Driver, The Lost Files of Sherlock Holmes, Grand Slam Bridge II, John Madden Football II, Powermonger, The Summoning, Patriot, Great Naval Battles, V for Victory
Page 33 - Car and Driver, The Lost Files of Sherlock Holmes, Grand Slam Bridge II, John Madden Football II, Powermonger, The Summoning, Patriot, Great Naval Battles, V for Victory

Working in a software store in the early 90s gave me a bias against PC gaming. Yeah the games were generally more advanced than console titles but getting DOS games to run was a nightmare. Customers assumed that everyone working there knew the nuances of their PC configuration and would happily provide free unlimited tech support. Every day we got at least one call like "Hey I bought this game at your store and I can't get it to run. The manual says to add SET BLASTER=A220 I5 D1 H5 P330 E620 T6 in your autoexec.bat but I have a Roland sound card on DMA port 2 so I don't think that works. You guys need to fix this."

Page 34 - Tristan Pinball, NFL Football, F-15 Strike Eagle III, Task Force 1942, The Ancient Art of War in the Skies, NFL Video Pro Football, The Terminator 2029, Batman Returns
Page 34 - Tristan Pinball, NFL Football, F-15 Strike Eagle III, Task Force 1942, The Ancient Art of War in the Skies, NFL Video Pro Football, The Terminator 2029, Batman Returns

For readers born after roughly 1995 the idea of anyone other than EA publishing and NFL game will seem odd. In the 80s and 90s just about any developer could get an NFL license and crank out a mediocre football game. No matter how bad some of these games were, it was worth it to have some competition. The 2K Sports NFL games more than make up for something like NFL Video Pro Football.

Page 35 - The Humans, Heaven & Earth, Stunt Island, Gobliiins, Aircraft Adventure Factory, Monopoly Deluxe, Tom Landry Strategy Football, Lemmings 2: The Tribes
Page 35 - The Humans, Heaven & Earth, Stunt Island, Gobliiins, Aircraft Adventure Factory, Monopoly Deluxe, Tom Landry Strategy Football, Lemmings 2: The Tribes

I could be wrong but I'm pretty sure Lemmings, Gobliiins, and The Humans are all the same game.

Page 36 - Ultima VII: Forge of Virtue, Ultima VII: Part 2 Serpent Isle, Ultima Underworld, Ultima VII: The Black Gate, Origin FX: Screen Saver, Strike Commander
Page 36 - Ultima VII: Forge of Virtue, Ultima VII: Part 2 Serpent Isle, Ultima Underworld, Ultima VII: The Black Gate, Origin FX: Screen Saver, Strike Commander

Long before Final Fantasy confused gamers with Final Fantasy X-2 there was Ultima VII part 2.

Page 37 - Falcon 3.0, Castles II Siege & Conquest, Falcon 3.0 Operation Fighting Tiger, Conquered Kingdoms, The Perfect General, Daemonsgate, Links 386 Pro, Solitaire's Journey
Page 37 - Falcon 3.0, Castles II Siege & Conquest, Falcon 3.0 Operation Fighting Tiger, Conquered Kingdoms, The Perfect General, Daemonsgate, Links 386 Pro, Solitaire's Journey

In the years I worked at Electronics Boutique I think it's possible Links 386 Pro was the highest selling computer game we had. OK, Myst was probably higher but not by much. It seemed like everyone who owned a computer bought some edition of Links. Falcon 3.0 was really popular this Christmas season too.

Page 38 - A-Train, A-Train Construction Set, Sim Life, Sim City, Sim Ant, Sim Earth
Page 38 - A-Train, A-Train Construction Set, Sim Life, Sim City, Sim Ant, Sim Earth

Here we have the begining of the Sim series overload. I find it very strange that there's a Sims game on Facebook. What's the difference between that and Second Life? You remember Second Life right? It was going to totally change the world and whatever. We'd all become millionaires by selling virtual products on there and so on.

Page 39 - Vegas Games, Spaceward Ho!, Might and Magic Clouds of Xeen, King's Quest VI, Quest for Glory III: Wages of War, SpellCraft Aspect of Valor, Summer Challenge, Take-a-Break Crosswords
Page 39 - Vegas Games, Spaceward Ho!, Might and Magic Clouds of Xeen, King's Quest VI, Quest for Glory III: Wages of War, SpellCraft Aspect of Valor, Summer Challenge, Take-a-Break Crosswords

I might give the award for Worst Box Art to Might and Magic Clouds of Xeen. The pink box makes that skeleton wizard look so much less intimidating.

Page 40 - Air Bucks, Flight Assignment: ATP, USA Scenery East, The Chessmaster 3000, Microsoft Golf, Bicycle Holiday Collection. Battletoads, Paladin II
Page 40 - Air Bucks, Flight Assignment: ATP, USA Scenery East, The Chessmaster 3000, Microsoft Golf, Bicycle Holiday Collection. Battletoads, Paladin II

Nice job trying to capitalize on the holiday spirit by Bicycle cards here. I don't remember if they offered a Halloween Collection two months earlier.


PC Education

Page 41 - The Playroom, The Treehouse, Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego: Deluxe, Where in the USA is Carmen Sandiego: Deluxe, Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego, Where in America's Past is Carmen Sandiego, Kid Pix, Kid Pix Companion, Arthur's Teacher Trouble, Just Grandma and Me
Page 41 - The Playroom, The Treehouse, Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego: Deluxe, Where in the USA is Carmen Sandiego: Deluxe, Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego, Where in America's Past is Carmen Sandiego, Kid Pix, Kid Pix Companion, Arthur's Teacher Trouble, Just Grandma and Me

Alright, I'm not going to have much to say about all these educational games. What I remember most about them is how giant the boxes were because we had to rearrange shelves to fit them.

Page 42 - Ready for Letters, Reader Rabbit 1, Reader Rabbit 2, Metrognomes Music, Treasure Mountain, Treasure Cove, Math Storm, Operation Neptune, Time Riders in American History, Ancient Empires
Page 42 - Ready for Letters, Reader Rabbit 1, Reader Rabbit 2, Metrognomes Music, Treasure Mountain, Treasure Cove, Math Storm, Operation Neptune, Time Riders in American History, Ancient Empires

Maybe I just should have tiled all these educational pages into one cramped section. I doubt anyone is even looking at them.

Page 43 - Zookeeper, Algeblaster Plus, New Math Blaster Plus, Reading Adventures in Oz, Kid Works 2, Headline Harry, Time Treks, The Lost Tribe, Zug's Dinosaur World
Page 43 - Zookeeper, Algeblaster Plus, New Math Blaster Plus, Reading Adventures in Oz, Kid Works 2, Headline Harry, Time Treks, The Lost Tribe, Zug's Dinosaur World

That Zookeeper game sounds like a $19.99 Nintendo DS game. I'm pretty sure there are at least 1,000 games on the DS that match its description.

Page 44 - Mixed-up Mother Goose, The Island of Dr. Brain, Twisty History, Alphabet Blocks, Turbo Science, Story Book Weaver, Snap Dragon, Super Munchers, Oregon Trail, The Secret Island of Dr. Quandary
Page 44 - Mixed-up Mother Goose, The Island of Dr. Brain, Twisty History, Alphabet Blocks, Turbo Science, Story Book Weaver, Snap Dragon, Super Munchers, Oregon Trail, The Secret Island of Dr. Quandary

I forgot that Sierra was in the educational software buisness for a little while.

Page 45 - Kid Smart, Barbie PC Fashion Design & Color, Mickey's ABC Combo Pak, Follow the Reader, Learning Essentials, Elementary School Grade Builder 3 Pack, Kid Desk, Millie's Math House
Page 45 - Kid Smart, Barbie PC Fashion Design & Color, Mickey's ABC Combo Pak, Follow the Reader, Learning Essentials, Elementary School Grade Builder 3 Pack, Kid Desk, Millie's Math House

Mercifully the education section comes to a close. Then again it's a stretch to call that Barbie title "educational".


PC Reference

Page 46 - U.S. Atlas, World Atlas, Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing, Spanish Assistant, Origins of Pre-History Vol. 1, Typing Tutor 5+, NotePlay, Science Adventure
Page 46 - U.S. Atlas, World Atlas, Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing, Spanish Assistant, Origins of Pre-History Vol. 1, Typing Tutor 5+, NotePlay, Science Adventure

I know I commented on another one of these articles but it's amazing how many of these programs have been replaced by either Wikipedia or Google Maps.

Page 47 - QuickVerse 2.0, Family Bible, The Cooking Companion, Micro Cookbook, Family Tree Maker, Family Origins
Page 47 - QuickVerse 2.0, Family Bible, The Cooking Companion, Micro Cookbook, Family Tree Maker, Family Origins

I guess Family Tree software is still around today but is mostly online. I never understood the appeal of tracing your ancestry. It's like some people would rather be defined by things their ancestors accomplished or suffered than be their regular boring self.

Page 48 - The Body Illustrated, Home Medical Advisor, New Car Finder, Automap, Autoworks, The Smart Bundle
Page 48 - The Body Illustrated, Home Medical Advisor, New Car Finder, Automap, Autoworks, The Smart Bundle

I remember that giant Smart Bundle - it was about 3 feet long and took up an entire shelf.


PC Utilities

Page 49 - The Print Shop Deluxe, Quicken 6.0, True Type, MS-DOS 5 Upgrade, XtraDrive, SuperStor, TurboCAD, RightWriter
Page 49 - The Print Shop Deluxe, Quicken 6.0, True Type, MS-DOS 5 Upgrade, XtraDrive, SuperStor, TurboCAD, RightWriter

I just bought a 32gb micro SD card for under $30 the other day. I'm writing this before "Black Friday 2012" and there are probably some available for even less now. So wish me luck explaining why software like XtraDrive and SuperStor ever existed to someone 20 years younger than me.

Page 50 - Easy Tax, Key Map, Key Fonts Pro, Key Map City, Key CAD Complete, Instant Artist, Grammatik 5, Holiday Click Art Bundle, Draft & Print
Page 50 - Easy Tax, Key Map, Key Fonts Pro, Key Map City, Key CAD Complete, Instant Artist, Grammatik 5, Holiday Click Art Bundle, Draft & Print

I remember multiple customers asking if that $30 CAD program did everything AutoCAD could. As far as I could tell they had no engineering experience other than second-guessing their homebuilder or plant supervisor.

Page 51 - TaxCut, Wealthbuilder, Smart Investor, TurboTax, Managing Your Money, Presentation Task Force, Print Q6, Fastback Plus
Page 51 - TaxCut, Wealthbuilder, Smart Investor, TurboTax, Managing Your Money, Presentation Task Force, Print Q6, Fastback Plus

I'm a little surprised to see that Software Directions, the makers of Print Q 6, have a web page today. No sign of Print Q of course, yet another product Microsoft made obsolete by including a free version in Windows.

Page 52 - Star Trek: The Screen Saver, Distant Suns Windows, After Dark, Mr. Sound FX, Icon Do It, Icon Hear It, Vista Pro
Page 52 - Star Trek: The Screen Saver, Distant Suns Windows, After Dark, Mr. Sound FX, Icon Do It, Icon Hear It, Vista Pro

When Microsoft adopted the name "Vista" for their then-latest version of Windows a few sites noted that the name had already been used. Here it is for anyone that's curious. I never tried it but I suspect it's nearly impossible to use... just like Microsoft's Vista.

Page 53 - The Far Side Daily Planner, Trivial Pursuit Daily Planner, Cathy Daily Planner, Floor Plan Plus for Windows, PhotoMagic, Waves, Waves II
Page 53 - The Far Side Daily Planner, Trivial Pursuit Daily Planner, Cathy Daily Planner, Floor Plan Plus for Windows, PhotoMagic, Waves, Waves II

Those daily planner applications would make decent iPhone/Android applications (assuming they don't already exist). I could swear there was a Dilbert one a couple years later.

Page 54 - Calendar Creator Plus, Wordstar, Xtree, Fast, Microsoft Money, Fax Mania, UltraFax, Bit Fax
Page 54 - Calendar Creator Plus, Wordstar, Xtree, Fast, Microsoft Money, Fax Mania, UltraFax, Bit Fax

Here's another page of software Microsoft has made obsolete. Well, except for Microsoft Money of course which lasted another 19 years before being canned.

Page 55 - Smartpics, Lotus 1-2-3, Ami Pro 3.0, Freelance Graphics, Corel Draw, Lightning for Windows, Publish It!
Page 55 - Smartpics, Lotus 1-2-3, Ami Pro 3.0, Freelance Graphics, Corel Draw, Lightning for Windows, Publish It!

Here's another page that looks like a software graveyard.

Page 56 - Quicken 2.0 for Windows, Quattro Pro, Make Up, Windows 3.1, Professional Draw, ScreenCraze II, Animation Works, Video Director, AddImpact
Page 56 - Quicken 2.0 for Windows, Quattro Pro, Make Up, Windows 3.1, Professional Draw, ScreenCraze II, Animation Works, Video Director, AddImpact

I am extremely curious about that Video Director application. There were no 1TB hard drives and USB connections in 1992. If you were doing video editing on a PC it meant transfering data over a serial port onto your 40mb hard drive and trying to load it in 2mb of RAM. The most trival edit had to take over an hour.

Page 58 - The Sleeping Beauty, Our House, Dictionary for Children, Multimedia Golf Guide, Time Table of History, Business, Politics & Media, Murder Makes Strange Deadfellows, Desert Storm with Coalition Command, Software Jukebox, KGB-CIA World Factbook
Page 58 - The Sleeping Beauty, Our House, Dictionary for Children, Multimedia Golf Guide, Time Table of History, Business, Politics & Media, Murder Makes Strange Deadfellows, Desert Storm with Coalition Command, Software Jukebox, KGB-CIA World Factbook

Early CD-ROM titles were an assortment of largely useless, overpriced tech demos. Now that I look at it some more, this page could easily be re-labelled "CD-i" and no one would know the difference.


PC Hardware

Page 57 - PC Tele-VISION, Gravis PC GamePad, Handheld Scan GS, Flightstick, FX 2000 joystick, Microball
Page 57 - PC Tele-VISION, Gravis PC GamePad, Handheld Scan GS, Flightstick, FX 2000 joystick, Microball

That PC Tele-VISION gizmo would be another fun thing to play around with. Yes, I know it must work horribly but it would be cool to try.

Page 59 - The Animals, The 7th Guest, Wing Commander II & Ultima Underworld, Publish It! for Windows, Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Holmes II, The White Horse Child, Fusion CD 16, Multimedia Gallery, CD Express
Page 59 - The Animals, The 7th Guest, Wing Commander II & Ultima Underworld, Publish It! for Windows, Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Holmes II, The White Horse Child, Fusion CD 16, Multimedia Gallery, CD Express

Who else remembers external CD-ROM drives? Look at that giant mess of cables for the Multimedia Gallery bundle. I guess it would be fine if you didn't also have to install a card to hook it up. On top of it all - a CD caddy is required. That's alright though because they managed to keep the price under a grand.

Page 60 - Sound Blaster, Sound Blaster Pro, Sound Blaster Pro Basic
Page 60 - Sound Blaster, Sound Blaster Pro, Sound Blaster Pro Basic

Here's a great example of pricing decoys and reference pricing in action. There's almost no difference between these and how iPods are priced.

Page 61 - Thunder Board, Under Monitor Speakers, Miracle, Pro Audio Spectrum
Page 61 - Thunder Board, Under Monitor Speakers, Miracle, Pro Audio Spectrum

Those Under Monitor Speakers were actually a really good idea and I dig their early 90s style. I gotta find a set of those, albeit not at the list price.


Everything Else

Page 62 - How Computers Work, PC Magazine 1993 Computer Buyers Guide, PC Computing Guide to Using Quicken, The First Book of MS-DOS 5, The First Book of Microsoft Works for Windows, Using 1-2-3 for DOS, Using Wordperfect 5.1, Using Windows 3.1, Inside Coreldraw, Memory Management for All of Us, Baseball Encyclopedia, Sesame Street Kit, Prodigy Start Up Kit
Page 62 - How Computers Work, PC Magazine 1993 Computer Buyers Guide, PC Computing Guide to Using Quicken, The First Book of MS-DOS 5, The First Book of Microsoft Works for Windows, Using 1-2-3 for DOS, Using Wordperfect 5.1, Using Windows 3.1, Inside Coreldraw, Memory Management for All of Us, Baseball Encyclopedia, Sesame Street Kit, Prodigy Start Up Kit

Another thing I'll have a hard time explaining to someone 20 years younger than me - why we needed giant books on memory management.

Page 63 - Heaven and Earth, TaxCut, Managing Your Money, Prince of Persia, Wealth Builder, RightWriter, Farside Planner, Expert Home Design, Expert Color Paint, After Dark, Personal Trainer for the SAT, Star Trek: The Screen Saver
Page 63 - Heaven and Earth, TaxCut, Managing Your Money, Prince of Persia, Wealth Builder, RightWriter, Farside Planner, Expert Home Design, Expert Color Paint, After Dark, Personal Trainer for the SAT, Star Trek: The Screen Saver

Here's the entire Mac selection of 1992. Our store had even less than this, we eventually crammed it all on one shelf. I guess Apple had the last laugh.

Mailer - Game Boy Tote, Elminator Cleaning Kit for Genesis, Game Boy headphones, Fastrac Mouse Pad, SNES Video Game Preserver, Diskettes
Mailer - Game Boy Tote, Elminator Cleaning Kit for Genesis, Game Boy headphones, Fastrac Mouse Pad, SNES Video Game Preserver, Diskettes

That Game Boy Tote cracks me up because I owned the Walkman version of it some time in the 80s. It's always funny to me how companies re-purposed their plastic molds for gaming systems because they always look so out of place.

Mailer - Order form
Mailer - Order form

Alright, thanks to everyone who bothered reading this far down. Happy whatever you celebrate.


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