Carmen Sandiego (game series)

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The box sets of the six earliest Carmen Sandiego titles in chronological order of release: Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? (1985), Where in the U.S.A is Carmen Sandiego? (1985), Where in Europe is Carmen Sandiego? (1988), Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego? (1989), Where in America's Past is Carmen Sandiego? (1991), and Where in Space is Carmen Sandiego? (1993).
Computer icons for World (1996), Time (1997), Word (1997), World (1985), Space (1993), and USA (1985)

Carmen Sandiego is a fictional character featured in a long-running series of American educational software and WQED-Pittsburgh and WGBH-Boston produced television shows originally focusing on teaching geography and history (the series later branched out into other subjects). The character later appeared in a series of books and on many licensed products. For information on Carmen and other characters see Carmen Sandiego.

There is a popular line of educational software mystery games based on Carmen Sandiego. Each game of the series has a particular theme and subject, where the player must use his or her knowledge to find Carmen or any of her innumerable henchmen. This series was originally produced by Brøderbund, but it is now produced by The Learning Company.

Video games[edit]

Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?[edit]

This title was released in 1985. The goal of this game is track Carmen's villains around the world and arrest them and ultimately arrest Carmen herself. In order to make an arrest the user must have a warrant and, obviously, it has to be the correct warrant. The player begins the game by first going to the city where the crime took place, and then obtains hints from the bystanders on where the thief went next, leading them on a chase around the world to find the thief before they "get away." In the process, they must also collect clues on their identity in order to determine who the culprit is. When they reach the place where the villain is going to pass off the loot to Carmen they have to arrest the villain.

The second version of this game was released in 1992 and featured additional animation and a reworked interface. Sarah Nade (who was added to Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?) was added to this version of Carmen Sandiego Software. CD-ROM versions for DOS and Macintosh were released in 1993, and a Windows version was released in 1994. The windows version was later re-released as Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? Classic Edition.

Where in the U.S.A. Is Carmen Sandiego?[edit]

This title was released in 1986. The goal of this game is track Carmen's villains around the United States, and arrest them and ultimately arrest Carmen herself. In order to make an arrest the user must have a warrant and, obviously, it has to be the correct warrant. The user gets information from the bystanders on where the thief went next and what the thief looks like. When they reach the place where the villain is going to pass off the loot to Carmen they have to arrest them.

The second version of this game was released in 1992 and featured additional animation and a reworked interface. Sarah Nade (who was added to Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?) was added to this version of Carmen Sandiego Software. CD-ROM versions for DOS and Macintosh were released in 1993, and a Windows version was released in 1994. The windows version was later re-released as Where in the USA is Carmen Sandiego? Classic Edition.

Where in Europe Is Carmen Sandiego?[edit]

Title card for Where in Europe Is Carmen Sandiego?

Producer: Brøderbund Software, Inc.
Publisher: Brøderbund Software, Inc.
Year: 1988

"Where in Europe Is Carmen Sandiego?" is one of the many games in the Carmen Sandiego series. It focuses on the European history and geography. The gameplay is very similar to that of "Where in the World", meaning that the player is sent to a location, has to find clues to lead them to the next location, and builds up a warrant along the way. Being one of the older games of the series, this games does not live up to the spectacular graphics and gameplay of the later editions. This was the first of the games to have an database built into the crime computer, where players could narrow down their next stop by entering information such as flag colors, currency used, and languages mentioned. Production of the game was discontinued in 1990 due to the fall of the Eastern Bloc and drastic border and government changes that resulted.[1]

Where in Time Is Carmen Sandiego?[edit]

This title was released in 1989. The goal of this game is track Carmen's villains through history and arrest them and ultimately arrest Carmen herself. The second version of the game features Lynne Thigpen as "The Chief" and five villains from the short-lived PBS Kids game show.

Where in North Dakota Is Carmen Sandiego? (prototype)[edit]

Where in America's Past Is Carmen Sandiego?[edit]

Producer: Brøderbund Software Inc.
Publisher: Brøderbund Software Inc.
Year: 1991

This game is widely considered the most informational game of the entire series. Though it may contain some minute differences from the main series, it remains true to it. This game's aim (as the others' are), is to capture Carmen's gang of thieves, one by one until all of her henchmen have been caught. This is done by searching for clues, trailing them, identifying them and finally, bringing them in for trial. After all of the henchmen have been caught, the player must then go after Carmen herself. One of the main differences is that the player can receive in-game help. [2]

Where in Space Is Carmen Sandiego?[edit]

Asking a witness for clues in Where in Space Is Carmen Sandiego?

Published by: Brøderbund Software, Inc.
Released: 1993

The intention of this game is to teach astronomy. The player flies in a rocket ship throughout the solar system, interrogating various alien lifeforms in order to solve the theft of an important part of the solar system (e.g. Saturn's rings). There was only a limited amount of fuel available for travel. So if the player did not ask the right questions on the right planets, or followed the wrong clues, the criminal(s) would get away, leaving the player to start anew with another crime. This version is somewhat similar to Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?. Kneemoi was introduced in this installment.

Junior Detective Edition[edit]

This title was released in 1995.

Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?[edit]

This title was released in 1996.

Where in the USA is Carmen Sandiego?[edit]

This title was released in 1996.

Carmen Sandiego's Great Chase Through Time[edit]

This title was released in 1997. It was previously known as Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego?.

Carmen Sandiego Word Detective[edit]

This title was released in 1997. This game is intended to teach language arts for kids age 9-12. The game features Chase Devineaux.

In the game Carmen Sandiego has invented a machine called the Babble-On Machine, and the user, playing the role of Agent 13, has to thwart her plans and free all the other agents which have been captured by Carmen.

The game is very similar to Carmen Sandiego Math Detective.

Carmen Sandiego Math Detective[edit]

This title was released in 1998. This game is intended to teach Math for kids age 9-12. The game features Chase Devineaux.

In the game Carmen Sandiego has invented a machine called the Quantum Crystallizer, and the user, playing the role of Agent 9, has to thwart her plans and restore 12 landmarks that Carmen has shrunk with the machine.

The game is very similar to Carmen Sandiego Word Detective.

Carmen Sandiego's ThinkQuick Challenge[edit]

This game teaches multiple subjects for kids ages 9–12. It was also the first title in the Carmen Sandiego series to be released by The Learning Company. The game features Chase Devineaux.

In the game, Carmen has invented KnowBots to steal knowledge and the player(s) have to try and thwart her plans. This game is set up much like the Carmen Sandiego game shows on PBS and is the only multiplayer game of the series.

Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? Treasures of Knowledge[edit]

This game was released in 2001.

Carmen Sandiego: The Secret of the Stolen Drums[edit]

This game is the first in the series to give the player complete control of a character in a 3D world. The avatar, Cole, must maneuver through stages including a museum in New York City, the beaches of New Zealand, and Machu Picchu. The player fights against Carmen's robots and spirits to prevent her from stealing an enchanted diamond, the repository of all the knowledge of the nations.

Mais où se Cache Carmen Sandiego? Mystère au Bout du Monde[edit]

This is a French Carmen Sandiego game released in 2009.

Carmen Sandiego Adventures in Math[edit]

This is a series of games released in 2011/2012 for the Wii [3].

Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego’s Luggage[edit]

This is a Carmen Sandiego game which was based on the game shows and video-games, and "was used as part of a classroom-based customer service training course at Scandinavian Airways Systems (SAS)".[1][2] The date of release is unknown.

The ClueFinders: Mystery Mansion Arcade[edit]

This title was released in 2002. The game starts with the ClueFinders proceeding to walk towards a creepy house on a hill, with the dialogue explaining that the ClueFinders received an email from who they thought was Joni's Uncle Horace, stating that he was trapped in the house and needed to be rescued. However, it is revealed that it is actually a trap, and the four ClueFinders are separated. It is then shown to the user that four past ClueFinders enemies have joined forces with a mysterious new ally and created the trap to get revenge on the ClueFinders. At the game's conclusion seeing that ClueFinders have outsmarted the villains again, their leader sends the villains into their own traps as punishment for failing. Afterward, she reveals herself to be Carmen Sandiego. Before anybody can do anything, Carmen escapes and leaves the ClueFinders. Santiago later utters the all-too-familiar phrase of, "Where in the world did she go?".

Internet games[edit]

Facebook Game[edit]

In 2011, a Facebook version of Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? was released.

Parodies/unofficial[edit]

Where in Hell is Carmen Santiago?[edit]

The opening screen of the game

Where in Hell is Carmen Santiago? is a 1990 game developed by St. John M. Morrison, which has players hunt down Carmen in the afterlife. Broderbund does not recognise this as a part of the series.[3][4] It has the status of "a Copyrighted FreeWare".[5] The title screen started with the word "Heck" which was rubbed off and replaced with "HELL".[3] The creator of the game had never played a Carmen Sandiego game, though was very familiar of the franchise due to its constant appearance in gaming magazines. He crafted a first person adventure game based on this premise and copied the naming scheme of the titles.[6][5]

The beginning of the plot is as follows: "You are a famous crimebuster hot on the trail of that world-renowned thief, Carmen Santiago, and her latest gang. The rumours that she had died in a bizarre accident don't deter you; after all, it might just be misdirection. So you track her to the Dark Woods of I/O Error, where you encounter three hideous beasts and lose your way in the night."[5]

"In Where in Hell is Carmen Santiago?, you will need to use your detective skills and knowledge of facts from Canticle One of Dante's Commedia: "Inferno"."[5] Players have 140 turns to be successful, and can do the following commands per turn: move up, move down, view map, inventory, call a name, use an item, look around, search for items, save, restart, quit, and sound off.[3]

The author explains: " The machine-language segments for this program were assembled using Merlin Pro; the Dore illustrations were digitized in two ways-- first, using the Micro D-Cam (available from MicroMint) and second, using a "dedicated graphics preprocessor" (labelled "Macintosh") with an Apple Scanner, and converted using "Apple File Exchange" and a neat-o freeware program, "MacDown" by Jason Harper; the Benguiat font in the startup screen is from Fontrix; the sound is from "Sound Master" by Jim Richardson, presented in the September 1988 issue of _Nibble_; and various BASIC techniques are thanks to the staff at A2-Central magazine."[5]

"James Keim, Ed Lundberg, and Douglas Cuff all reviewed the teaching program "Where In Hell Is Carmen Santiago?", which had been designed to teach about Dante's "Inferno". This unusual method of having three people review the same program resulted in a very interesting look at the product from more than a single point of view."[7]

Homages[edit]

The game The Treehouse featured the Carmen Sandiego theme as a song to play on its keyboard minigame.

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Individual games[edit]