Myst (1993)
Myst is the game that triggered the popularity of CD-ROM games in the 90s. Despite just being a picture slideshow, it was the most beautiful game I had ever seen at that time. I liked just walking around the mysterious island (I actually had no clue what to do and never actually finished the game) to admire the graphics and mysterious music. Myst remained the best-selling PC game until 2002 (then it was surpassed by The Sims).



The 7th Guest (1993)
Not as impressive as Myst, but impressive for its days nonetheless. Back in the days, former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates even called The 7th Guest "the new standard in interactive entertainment". Nowadays it's just a slow-moving adventure with badly integrated video clips, but upon the time of release it won several awards for best CD-ROM game and it helped popularizing CD-ROM technology, just like Myst did.



Star Wars: Rebel Assault (1993)
Star Wars: Rebel Assault, an on-rail shooter, was my favorite first CD-ROM game and is one of the few first CD-ROM games I still like. It offers varied gameplay elements (though they all involve pointing a cursor and shooting in one way or another) and the game offered a great example of how to use the Star Wars franchise in a cool way in a video game.



The Journeyman Project (1993)
I always felt The Journeyman Project was a game with more personality and a better storyline than Myst and The 7th Guest. It didn't look as great and a major deal of the screen was used for the interface, but the game offered a fascinating and involving story about time travel. The sequel Buried in Time (1995), that came on 3 CD's, was even better and is still one of the best adventure games I ever played.



Return to Zork (1993)
With the arrival of CD-ROM technology Infocom and Activision decided to remake the classic Zork text-adventure into a graphical point-and-click adventure, resulting in Return to Zork. The intro has a great homage to the original Zork games (showing text and cursor as in the original), but the game didn't age too well, mainly due to a clumsy interface.



Hell: A Cyberpunk Thriller (1994)
Hell: A Cyberpunk Thriller is yet another adventure game (but this time third-person) that took advantage of the CD-ROM technology. It contained high-res graphics (well, for its time), FMV-movies and digital speech by famous actors as Dennis Hopper and Grace Jones. It wil be more remembered for the excellent 'dark noir' atmosphere than for its gameplay.




Night Trap (1992)
Night Trap was first released for Sega CD in 1992 and it wasn't until 1994 the DOS version came to the market. The main gameplay is switching cameras to detect criminals, making it a kind of bad memory game with B-actors. Not great at all, but everyone wanted to play it since it was removed from store shelves at Toys 'R' Us in 1993 when some senate members (who probably never played it) proclaimed the game was "shameful", "ultra-violent", "sick", and "disgusting".



Your Pick!
Of course, they're tons of other early CD-ROM games you'll remember... let me know what was your favorite!