If you attended school anytime between 1985 and 1996, chances are you know Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?, the massively popular educational game where junior investigators solved geographic and historical clues to track down international master thief Carmen Sandiego and band of unruly burglars. The massively popular computer game spawned numerous sequels, a book series, comics, a board game, several cartoons, a popular PBS kids’ game show and now, an animated Netflix series and live-action movie, both starring Jane the Virgin star Gina Rodriguez as the titular villain — “The loot is gone and the chase is on!”
In the Carmen Sandiego computer game and game show, players served as rookie investigators with the ACME Detective Agency, tracking down masters thieves with VILE (the Villains’ International League of Evil).
These villains had pun-tastic names like Rob M. Blind and Ruth Less. They also stole huge landmarks, geographic features and cultural treasures like the entire city of Casablanca, the gargoyles from Notre Dame Cathedral or the Delta of the Niger River.
Using clues from locals, players collected info on each suspect’s physical details and whereabouts to secure a warrant, hunt down the thieves and retrieve their loot.
After tracking down all of her underlings, the rookie gumshoes turned master detectives finally got a a chance to track down Carmen Sandiego herself and enter the ACME Detective Agency Hall of Fame.
The original game spawned such sequels as Where in Europe Is Carmen Sandiego?, Where in Time Is Carmen Sandiego and eventually Where in Space Is Carmen Sandiego? as well as a popular half-hour kid’s trivia game show on PBS that ran from 1991 to 1995. The game show featured the all-male group Rockapella singing the show’s catchy theme song (below) and segue bits, ACME’s black female chief providing clues and prizes and young gumshoe contestants answering geographic trivia questions to track down Carmen and her cohorts.
Although details are scarce regarding the upcoming live-action Carmen Sandiego film, the Netflix educational cartoon (due out in 2019) will actually be the fourth Carmen Sandiego animated series ever to hit the small screen.
The 20 episode children’s series will go into the master thief’s origin story, finally answering the question, “Who in the world is Carmen Sandiego?”