Everyone’s favourite international Robin Hood-alike is back at her usual thieving-for-good antics, this time taking globe trotting literally in Where On Google Earth Is Carmen Sandiego? The answer to that question is London, at least at first, but after that it’ll be your job to track her down by talking to locals and picking up clues that will point you in the right direction while teaching you about cities and flags and landmarks.
Travelling around and interviewing people is pretty simple, but it still has the Google Earth magic of zooming out the globe and spinning over it like a child who remembers what awe and wonder are. And I kind of love the way the pop-in slowly takes areas from abstract, geometric art to, oh, that’s real life.
The game is short, but the end screen says “Join us again next time for another exciting caper,” and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t eagerly anticipating the sequel.
I’d also love to use this as a springboard into playing other Carmen Sandiego games, which I missed as a child not because I am too young (though it’s close) but because I was instead only given demo disks of edutainment excitement and simply played them over and over again like a baby Sisyphus.
Alas, as video game historian Kate Willært points out (in a tweet I originally saw shared by video game preservation non-profit Game History founder Frank Cifaldi), this is the only legal way to play a Carmen Sandiego game at the moment, despite the fact she’s popular enough to have her own Netflix show. Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego? Not in stores, that’s for sure.
Still, to track her down on Google Earth for free, click the suitably scarlet pegman icon in the bottom right of your browser.