Disclaimer: The images on this page are from the "Electronics Boutique 1996 Spring CD". This was a promotional CD catalog given out at Electronics Boutique & Waldensoftware stores in early 1996. The images are only 256 color because that was the depth of the source files (keep in mind this was 1996).
I've already spent too much time writing about working at Electronics Boutique/Waldensoftware in the mid-90s. I'm a little too nostalgic for my own good sometimes I guess. One of the last relics I collected from there was a promotional CD we handed out to customers containing an interactive catalog. Just putting it all on this new-fangled "internet" apparently wasn't an option. The CDs were sponsored by Prodigy so maybe these were meant for customers without online access. Don't laugh. If you were born after 1985 or so you probably don't remember a world without internet in every home. Heck, I barely remember it. Anyway, this CD was dubbed the "Electronics Boutique Spring 1996 CD" and as the name implies it was a reflection of what the average store carried in the first half of 1996. Don't let the "Electronics Boutique" part of the name fool you, this CD was also given out at Waldensoftware and the semi-obscure EBX stores.
In 1996 I got my act together and went back to college so I missed out on working the Nintendo 64 launch. I managed to "enjoy" the first half of the year which saw the Sony Playstation and PC CD-ROM taking a commanding lead in that generation's game war. The Saturn was already showing signs of failure down the horizon. The once proud Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis were witnessing their final trickle of releases. The Game Boy and Game Gear were getting stale; so stale they didn't receive any space in this catalog and are barely represented in the mail-order catalog. And all the also-rans (32X, Sega CD, 3DO, Jaguar, Virtual Boy) were mere months away from disappearing.
I have a gallery of this CD below, if you want to experience it for yourself here's the ISO image. I debated posting this for a while but decided the risk of getting a takedown letter was pretty tiny.
There are two variations:
The original version - this is just branded with "Electronics Boutique". It has the catalog and various demos of Windows 95 games.
The Prodigy version - this has the same catalog and demos but includes a Prodigy installer making it about 20mb larger.
Reminder: you are downloading an ISO with executable files from some total rando's site. You should run this in a virtual machine. I am not accountable for any damage done to your system by running them.
Here's a quick tour of the user interface for the CD catalog
First up is the splash screen, man that guy looks like a complete tool.
Then we're treated to an animation on "the evolution of gaming" starting with Pong then flashing images of random games.
Then a whole bunch of crap starts flying around the screen and an obnoxious arrow tells you to make a selection.
The first option is "Games & Software" where you can browse the items in the catalog (rips of all these pages are linked below).
The "Demos" section, as you likely guessed, allows you to install some game demos.
The "Mail Order" section lets you browse a text version of the entire catalog and print a list for mail order. Yeah, print a list for mail order. Remember it's 1996 here: Clinton vs. Dole, Chicago Bulls 72-10, internet not mainstream, and so on.
Of course navigating though this UI can be time consuming so I dumped the contents to a PDF file [click here to download]. This appears to be a list of every item that Electronics Boutique/Waldensoftware stocked at the time which is semi-interesting to read.
"Shopping List" is a deceptive name, it was actually a store locator.
And at the end we have the "Coming Soon" list.
Of course you don't care what the UI of the CD looked like. You just want to see pictures of what was in it. Well, here they are:
CD Edutainment: [Page 1]
PC Utilities & Graphics: [Page 1]
Sega Saturn: [Page 1]
Jaguar & Jaguar CD: [Page 1]
Super Nintendo / Virtual Boy: [Page 1]
Sega Genesis: [Page 1]
3DO: [Page 1]
Video Game Accessories: [Page 1]