Carmen Sandiego is a franchise of educational computer and video games, television series, books, and other media. Equally appealing to both boys and girls ages 8-12, the main premise follows the user or protagonist as they become agents of the ACME Detective Agency and travel around the world in an attempt to catch the villain Carmen Sandiego.
Carmen Sandiego was created by Brøderbund Software co-founder Gary Carlston, taking clues from the World Almanac, to get kids interested in geography. (The original computer game even came with a World Almanac.) The Carmen Sandiego computer game was a big hit when it was introduced in 1985 and it remained popular through the 1990s, with multiple titles being produced over the years. The games created by Brøderbund featured silly humor and a distinctive style of word play with extensive use of puns, rhymes, and alliteration. This style of word play was also present in the Carmen Sandiego TV shows.
After Brøderbund was purchased by The Learning Company in 1998, the Learning Company apparently sought to redesign the series by taking its premise more seriously and using more character-based humor. Although the Carmen Sandiego series as a whole was met with critical acclaim, most of the games released after Brøderbund was sold to The Learning company received mixed to bad reviews. The older software is still playable if your computer has an older operating system. A Nintendo GameCube version was released in 2004, a Carmen Sandiego Facebook game was released in 2011, and a Digital Download that works on Windows 7 was released in 2012.
The Carmen Sandiego series is designed to reinforce a student’s knowledge of world geography, cultures, and history in an absorbing and enjoyable way. Every product made under the Carmen Sandiego brand had to undergo extensive research and testing with input from parents, children, and educators. This resulted in a precise balance of educational content and entertainment value. The franchise won over 70 awards including “Best Software,” “Best Education Program,” an Emmy Award, and a Peabody Award for creative excellence.
Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? was a PBS children’s game show; Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego? was a Saturday morning cartoon made by DiC Entertainment (makers of Liberty’s Kids). In 1996, Carmen Sandiego was the first Saturday-morning children’s show ever to win the “Best Animated Program” Emmy Award. Filled with unique characters, wonderful story lines and humor, this series educates kids of all ages in the subjects of history and geography through its action-packed adventures. Now The Complete Series of all 40 episodes is available for the first time on DVD!
Walden Media, a children’s film production company (Holes, Narnia, Charlotte’s Web, Nim’s Island), has acquired the film rights to Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?, with plans to make a live-action version that should be fun for the whole family.
The Greatest Geography Lesson Ever – The American Chesterton Society review of Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego? is an interesting read.
http://www.carmensandiego.com – The official website for Carmen Sandiego from The Learning Company. Find out where to play the game, learn about the game and connect with the Carmen Sandiego community.
https://www.facebook.com/carmensandiego – The official Fan page of Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego!
http://youtu.be/_w22aasWIPU – Watch the final episode of the PBS game show Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? (June 23, 1995)
http://youtu.be/XTCy28W-wdI – “Do it, Rockapella!” Remember that catchy theme song by Carmen’s acapella singing group? Click on the YouTube link to see it performed live in concert. Click here for the lyrics.