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Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego Analysis

Page history last edited by Richard Chen 12 years, 8 months ago

Publisher: Brøderbund Software

Platform: PC  

Release Date: 1985



"It all starts in Brazil. But who knows where it will end up. The infamous Carmen Sandiego is at it again! This time she's run off with a rare and valuable edition of the "Travels of Marco Polo." Worth millions! And this is just one of many historic heists that'll have you hopping the globe. Expand your world geography skills. Ignite your critical thinking and decision-making talents. Match wits with the elusive Carmen Sandiego as you recover the stolen treasures of knowledge! Discover the World in a Thrilling Crime Stopping Chase!" -IGN


Game Walkthrough

  • Enter name to be identified as returning detective or a brand new detective
  • Details of a new case will be given
  • Travel around cities collecting clues of the whereabouts and looks of the criminal
  • Travel around the world to track down the suspect
  • Go through the dossier to become familiar with Carmen's gang
  • Obtain a warrant by entering information about the suspect into a computer database
  • Look up facts in The World Almanac and Book of Facts to finalize promotions



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Game Objectives

The player must track down and arrest the members of Carmen Sandiego's gang.


Educational Objectives

The primary educational objective of the game is to increase interest in geography.  Upon arrival at each location the player is greeted with a picture of the area featuring some famous attribute of the area and a brief description about the area.  The player will need to learn information about each region in the game to take advantage of clues.  Where in the Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? also teaches time management, as the player must catch the criminal in before a certain time.


Motivational Elements     

As a player starts as a rookie detective, he is motivated to catch more criminals to move up the ranks.  Each new promotion requires the player to solve even more cases.  Cut-scenes encourage players by letting them know that they are on the right track as well as make the vileness of Carmen's crew apparent, these criminals must be put behind bars. After arresting several members of Carmen's gang, the player wants to know where in the world Carmen Sandiego is and, moreover, would like nothing better than to finally bring her to justice.


Educational Outcomes

 Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? is fairly successful as a tool to teach and, more importantly, encourage further learning in geography.  The pictures of locations spark interest in the cultures and geographical features of the regions.  Players will want to know the geography because they will not want to waste time.  On the subject of time, the importance of time management is made clear to the player as he must account for everything from travel times to sleeping. 


The process of obtaining a warrant and earning higher ranks as a detective help make the game fun, but also confuses the educational outcomes of the game.  Players may become interested in the criminal investigation side of the game seeing as catching crooks is the main goal of the game.  A player learning about criminal investigation does not mean that he cannot also learn about geography, but does lower the effectiveness of the game in inciting further study in geography.  Some players will still want to know more about the places they visited in the game, but other players will associate the fun of the game with criminal investigation.

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