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Carmen Sandiego: World Detective

video game

Created by Broderbund Software in 1985 for the Apple II home computer, Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego became the first in an acclaimed line of detective-style educational video games, books, television series, and a motion picture, all based on the fictional international supervillian Carmen Sandiego. Since its establishment, the series has earned more than 90 awards in both educational and technological categories. Developers aim these educational games at preteens and elementary school children and originally focused on topics such as geography, civics, and history. The games follow Carmen and her V.I.L.E. henchmen as they roam the world, and even throughout time and space, committing thefts. Players enter the game as an agent in the ACME Detective Agency, who has been charged with the task of chasing and ultimately arresting ringleader Carmen and her henchmen. Players travel to the scene of the crime, gather clues, and chase the culprit while putting together warrants that describe the identity of the thief, who the player can then arrest. Players advance through ACME’s ranks by completing more and more arrests, receiving increasingly difficult cases until the player catches Carmen herself. Once she is arrested, the game is complete. Later versions of the game involve the player attempting to gain access to V.I.L.E. hideouts around the world, and incorporate additional subjects such as astronomy, mathematics, and language arts. One unique stylistic feature of the Carmen Sandiego franchise is that clues are filled with puns or rhymes, and all of Carmen’s henchmen and some ACME agents have gag names such as “Ruth Less,” “Ivan Idea,” and “Rob M. Blind.” Originally distributed in North America, the franchise became international and games are currently accessible on many consoles, mobile devices and social media networks such as Facebook. Although Carmen Sandiego nearly always focuses on disseminating educational information, Bam! Entertainment’s 2004 release, Carmen Sandiego: The Secret of the Stolen Drums, focuses more on action and does not contain the same educational emphasis as previous editions.This is also the only game in the franchise to feature real-time 3D computer graphics. The Carmen Sandiego franchise has offered “edutainment” to children all over the world for more than 20 years and has demonstrated its significance through its varied media formats and its critical acclaim.

  • Material: printed paper | plastic
  • Origin: USA
  • Object ID: 109.17502
  • Credit Line: Gift of Warren Buckleitner
Creative Commons License