I remember the first two games that I ever bought: King's Quest V, and Might and Magic III. Both required many months of saving every penny I could get, being young at the time. If I recall correctly, I split the cost of King's Quest with my dad, since he played it too, and then once I was done I sold it to a computer shop for $8, down from the extravagant $40ish I paid for it. King's Quest was fun, but what really caught my eye at Best Buy (which was a relatively new store to Lincoln at the time) was this Might and Magic III: Isles of Terra.
I was initially a bit wary since I hadn't heard of the first two, but it said "no prior Might and Magic experience needed to play," and it promised hours of 3D adventure, an engaging storyline, and killing lots of monsters. I wasn't really too familiar with the concept of an RPG at the time, I believe. So, I bought the game when I finally saved up that kind of cash many months later. And wow. It was jaw-dropping. It was an experience that I never imagined. The "3D" world was still just a big grid and you could only turn at 90-degree angles, but the graphics were drop-dead gorgeous. At the time, it was very standard practice to put fake screenshots on boxes that were way better than anything you'd actually see in-game, and while Might and Magic III also had fake screenshots on the box, the game actually looked as good! I never expected that.
But it was so cool. I got to lead a team of fearless adventurers on countless hours of quests. There was a storyline. There was exploration. There was a lot of fighting. It was such a life-changing experience, and I loved every second of it. There have been few games since M&M3 that have changed what I've thought about games in general so much—no other revelations so divine besides Dune II and Heroes of Might and Magic.
Later on, I sold Might and Magic III for about $15 at a garage sale, so I could get something else, but the game was so memorable that three or four years ago, I managed to find a copy on eBay and buy it back, just because I couldn't bear to not own a copy. It was such a great game, and from then on, I knew that anything that bore the name Might and Magic would earn my money, and that ended up being a very safe bet. There were two spinoff games, Crusaders of Might and Magic (just a licensed product) and Legends of Might and Magic (a Counter-Strike clone), and those sucked. But, all of the core Might and Magic and Heroes of Might and Magic games so far have done well by me, and each has earned a special place in my heart. They're unforgettable.