Where in America's Past Is Carmen Sandiego?

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Where in America's Past Is Carmen Sandiego?
Where in America's Past.jpg
MS-DOS box cover
SeriesCarmen Sandiego
Platform(s)Apple II, MS-DOS, Macintosh
ReleaseDecember 1991 (MS-DOS)
1992 (Apple II, Macintosh)

Where in America's Past Is Carmen Sandiego? is the 5th videogame release of the Carmen Sandiego franchise. It was produced by Brøderbund and released in 1991.[1]



The scenery for the locations came from photographs that were digitized and pixelated.[2]

Educational goals[edit]

This game is widely considered the most informational game of the entire series.[citation needed] Though it may contain some minute differences from the main series, it remains true to it. The game's aim, as with the others, 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.[3] PC Mag explains that "While Where in Time simply challenges players to look up and recall historical facts, Where in America's Past develops a true historical context for places and events as it covers more than 400 years of American history".[1]

Commercial performance[edit]

As the game came to be released on other computer platforms, the game series had sold 3 million copies.[4]


The game includes 45 geographic locations, and 9 different historical eras to travel to. This far outweighs the number of travel destinations in the 1985 Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? game. Carmen and her henchmen are involved with some of American history's most iconic moments, including the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The "32-color VGA 'location graphics' paint crime scenes that are more vivid and interesting" than in previous Carmen editions. The graphics include scanned art from notable sources, such as the Virginia Historical Society and NASA. The "game auto-detects the player's video card and installs itself for the appropriate graphics standard".[1]


Codie award1992 - Best Home Learning Program[5]
Software Publishers Association1991 - Excellence in Software Awards[6]

PC Magazine said the game "offers complexities of plot and graphics that make the original Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego seem almost bland by comparison". It said the game "won't disappoint adventure hungry Carmen fans" and that "as edutainment, this game is fun and challenging".[1] Compute! named it a "Compute Choice", calling the game's VGA graphics "stunning". The magazine concluded that "Where in the Past is Carmen Sandiego? is a must-have package for anyone interested in superior and engaging entertainment software".[7] Computer Gaming World liked the game, but stated that it would become boring to older children and adults, and that it seemed designed to teach rudimentary facts about the chronology of American history as opposed to details. The reviewer was hopeful, however, that Where in America's Past would encourage students to study history on their own.[8]


  1. ^ a b c d Ellison, Carol (1991-10-15). "Carmen Sandiego and her new gang wreak havoc in America's past". PC Magazine.
  2. ^ http://www.atarimagazines.com/compute/issue134/86_Where_in_Americas_P.php
  3. ^ Sebatianos. "Where in America's Past is Carmen Sandiego". Abandonia. Retrieved 2013-08-07.
  4. ^ "Case History: Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?" (PDF). February 2001: 8. Retrieved April 20, 2017.
  5. ^ "SIIA Codie Awards". Retrieved November 7, 2016.
  6. ^ "The Computists' Weekly - Volume 2: No. 17, News -- Applications". Ken. April 1992. Retrieved November 16, 2016.
  7. ^ Walnum, Clayton (Oct 1991). "Where in America's Past is Carmen Sandiego?". Compute!. pp. 86–87.
  8. ^ Wilson, David M. (December 1991). "Chronological Kleptomania". Computer Gaming World. p. 106. Retrieved 18 November 2013.

External links[edit]