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).
CD Entertainment (Page 1)
I know I've said it before but Windows 95 absolutely saved the PC gaming market. Prior to that customers, even tech-savvy ones, were perpetually confounded about whether a game would work on their system. Years prior it was simpler.. a game required 640kb, VGA, and/or a Sound Blaster card and you could be reasonably sure it would work. By the mid-90s it evolved into pure chaos. To get a game running you'd have to wrestle with extended memory, CD-ROM drivers, video card drivers, IRQ settings, and maintaining multiple autoexec.bat & config.sys files. Windows 95 came along and largely solved these problems. If a game said it worked with Windows 95 it probably did. Instantly PC game sales rivaled console games and stores were filled with some of finest titles ever developed. It was truly a renaissance period for PC gaming.
This page has items 1-20 from the catalog, pretty good assortment of titles.
I don't follow PC gaming real close anymore but I think military games like Advanced Tactical Fighters have largely been replaced with FPS battle sims.
Abuse was a side-scrolling action game that visually reminded me of Shadow of the Beast.
The Links at Spanish Bay with free golf ball. Huh-huh, I said "ball".
Sports games, like NBA Live '96 on the PC were never big sellers unlike their console counterparts. I think the reason was that gamers like to play sports games in social settings which doesn't work so well on a PC.
Comanche Mac was among the last Mac games I recall the store carrying. Over time our Mac "section" was relegated to a single shelf below disk boxes and junk.
Starring in Wing Commander IV seemed to be the low-point in Mark Hamill's career. That was before "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back"...
Before crappy flash games filled the internet there was Desktop Toys.
The Electronic Arts CD-Rom Classics Collection were a great value. They sent us a nice spindle to display them and they always sold well.
Somewhere in the "Atari Jaguar: Do the Math" article I think I commented about how boring I find mech games. As such, I can't say a lot about Earthsiege 2. If I recall correctly, there was a big time gap between this and the original Earthsiege game.
If there's anything I find more boring than mech games is submarine games like Fast Attack.
I've never played Star Rangers or have any memory of it whatsoever. The description sounds like Star Control 2.
Capitalism doesn't sound like the most exciting game ever made but it must be 1000x better than Communism: The Game. "People are protesting a government policy do you a) blame the west for all their problems b) send them to a re-education camp c) run over them with tanks".
Destiny is another game that doesn't jump into memory. Sounds like a Civilization knock-off.
First we had a Star Control 2 clone now we move on to Space Bucks, the Starflight 2 clone.
I've only ever played the crappy NES version of Top Gun, I sure hope they didn't put the *%#!ing aircraft carrier landing part in the PC game.
OK, starting to get to some legendary games. Not sure why this catalog was front-loaded with some less-than-memorable titles. Civilization II was huge in 1996 and stayed big for many years.
Grand Prix II was basically a non-seller.
In this CD The Pandora Directive was listed as coming soon but I believe we actually had it by this time. It was a popular game, especially with female gamers. Game companies today are doing a much better job targeting non-young-male demographics but in 1996 that wasn't yet the case. The multimedia detective games, and Myst, were the the ones with the most appeal to women. Even my wife, who is by no means a gamer, enjoys games in this genre.
Under a Killing Moon was another big seller for several years.
In the years I worked at Electronics Boutique/Waldensoftare, Links 386 was always popular. It didn't fly of the shelves en masse but steadily sold a few copies a week.