Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?
Sorry, I just couldn’t resist that. When I was growing up, the Carmen Sandiego franchise was one of my favorite things. It meant a lot to me. And now, it’s making a comeback.
I first encountered Carmen Sandiego during the early years of my elementary school career. Every weekday afternoon at four, I’d sit in front of the television and watch KERA (the then local PBS station for the Waco area- now it’s KNCT). The show, obviously, was Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?
I loved that show. The music. The Chief. The challenging questions. Damn, I was sad when it ended. The successor program was never quite the same.
Later, I found the animated series Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego to be equally as fun, though not as challenging.
When I hit junior high, I finally got the chance to play the computer games that started it all. I remember at the end of the school day, in the computer lab, my class would occasionally be allowed to play on the computers. And I remember even having the chance to play more updated versions on the Speech teacher’s computer. I kicked ass. Good times.
But like all things, Carmen Sandiego gradually faded from my consciousness. And from the minds of a lot of fans as the franchise seems to have gone into a period of hibernation over the past decade or so. (I maybe wrong, I haven’t been paying too much attention to it.)
However, fueled by nostalgia, Carmen Sandiego is back.
Recently, PBS has started up a social media game whereby clues are given and fans figure out and take pictures of the locations Carmen is currently at. Sounds like fun if one is into social media or games derived from social media.
Personally, I’d prefer a return to a dedicated television series. Even with so many children’s programs and channels devoted to educational children’s programming, there is a dearth of edutainment materials for kids from about the middle elementary years through high school. I think Carmen Sandiego could be at the forefront of a movement to get more educational television aimed at older kids.