My copy of Everlight was a download and did require a product key to play which expired after 12 months.
All games from Adventure Shop required a key and online activation.
Does anyone remember the windowed wheel which came with the original Curse of Monkey Island? You had to enter related images every time you played.
The first two Monkey Island games on floppy were like that.
Are you thinking of one of those?
Curse of Monkey Island came on CD, and mine certainly had no code wheel.
Having to use something that shipped with the game to start the game (like the xth word on the yth page of the manual or looking at a page to see what was written using red plastic glasses) were "protections" used for floppies. They were a lot better than having the DRM built into the structure of the floppy because when it was built into the floppy you couldn't back up the floppy. Although some floppy disks have lasted 30 years or more, a lot of them don't.
Those were the days....not! Glad we don't have to do that sort of thing now!
The worst I encountered was having to look up locations on a paper map that was falling apart for Spirit of Excalibur. The towns you had to locate could be on the borders of the map divisions, which had to be estimated because the map didn't have vertical and horizontal lines to demarcate the divisions, only symbols (shields) at the edges of the map, and you had to guess at which division the town was in when it was halfway between. I had to lay the map on the floor, arrange its broken bits together, and use a long straight thing like a metal measuring tape to get the coordinates along the edges. Even after all that fuss, the game would sometimes claim they were wrong -- apparently because the person who made the system misread the map himself. It was one particular town that would always be wrong.
There's a picture of this awful map ***here***
As you can see, the coordinates at the edge are shields rather than numbers or letters. Unlike my map, there are squares marked off. My map was a lot more worn (got the game used). If the game had come with a cloth map instead of a paper one, I'd have kept it. The paper map just didn't hold up.