When I got my first home computer in 1995, it was a Packard Bell with this awesome "CD-ROM" drive. To show off the capabilities that having a CD-ROM drive added, it came with a bundle of software:
Knowledge Adventure "3D Body Adventure"
Knowledge Adventure "3D Dinosaur
Knowledge Adventure "Space Adventure"
Knowledge Adventure "Undersea Adventure"
Megarace - remember Lance Boyle?
And some other stuff, I think an Atlas and an Encyclopedia (Grolier, maybe?)
I remember how engaging those 3D, full video, CD-ROM adventures were when I was in 8th grade. Recently I shopped for software for my kids, and I found things like this
(which is actually pretty good, but is 2D cartoons, predominately). I'm not finding anything that would live up to my (admittedly, 20-year-old) memories of those bundled software. Maybe some of it was the novelty of having a home computer, and having actual video and sound, but I don't see that there is any of this single-subject, rich, engaging, educational software on the market now. (There's still a market for schools, with things like Math Blaster, typing tutor, and would you believe Stickybear still exists?)
Steam certainly doesn't have much; if you look at the tag "Education" you get, for example, Kerbal Space Program and Rocksmith.
Are there small publishers that I'm overlooking?
What about those atlas and encyclopedia programs? I don't think Google Earth (as cool as it is) quite substitutes for a well-designed multimedia atlas. And likewise Wikipedia pales somewhat as a learning experience compared to Encarta. I recently dug out my CD-ROM of "The Way Things Work" — the one with all the mammoths — and had to load VirtualBox to get it to even run.
Anyone else remember these programs from what I might start calling the "golden age" of PC applications?