Where in the world did Carmen Sandiego come from?!
Back in the 1980s and 1990s, it was typical to find me playing one of my favorite Carmen Sandiego computer games on our family computer in the basement. My parents justified the screen-time because the games were educational; I learned about different time periods and events, geography, and cultures from around the world. Of course, I didn’t see it that way, I just wanted to beat the different games.
But why did I gravitate to this game among the many others popping up in the PC computer space? Because this computer game starred a female character, and not just any female character but a sophisticated woman of intrigue. It didn’t matter that she was a villain, I was hooked.
After the initial success of the games, the character of Carmen Sandiego went on to have her own animated show and her own kids game show in the 1990s. After a while, the energy behind the character died down and it seemed like the end. Until Netflix came along.
In a new series on the streaming giant, Carmen Sandiego is less of a villain, which makes perfect sense. In the games and previous cartoons, viewers and gamers were conflicted. On one hand, you wanted to cheer for the somewhat sinister character but on the other hand, you really wanted her to get her ass kicked. In the new series, that conflict doesn’t really exist and it makes the whole situation easier.
If you’re too young to remember Carmen Sandiego prior to Netflix or if you just want to take a trip down memory lane, check out the retrospective below: