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Where in America's Past is Carmen Sandiego?

DOS - 1991

Released in
United States
Detective / Mystery, History, Puzzle-Solving
Brøderbund Software, Inc.
Brøderbund Software, Inc.
Dosbox support
Supported on 0.61
4.56 / 5 - 9 votes

Description of Where in America's Past is Carmen Sandiego?

Undoubtedly the most successful edutainment franchises, the Where in [xxx] is Carmen Sandiego? is Brøderbund 's flagship series that has spawned numerous sequels, TV shows, and even board games. Premiered in 1985 with Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?, subsequent releases have sold millions of copies collectively worldwide. But until multimedia CD-ROM versions of the game appeared in 1995, the individual Carmen Sandiego titles were not all blockbusters.

The premise behind every Carmen Sandiego game is identical: starting out as a rookie detective, your job is to track down a gang of thieves who are stealing the world's (or the galaxy's/USA's/Europe's/history's as the case may be) most precious treasures. After each assignment briefing, you are given a deadline to capture the thief. Then it's off to the travel screen, where you pick the next destination to track the thief.

At each location, you must interpret various clues from a number of sources (informants, etc.) to figure out the thief's next stop, as well as his/her identity. Your mission is a success when you track the thief to the right final hideout (plus time period, if you are playing Where in Time version) with the arrest warrant issued for the correct suspect before the deadline. Missions are progressively more difficult as you solve cases and win promotions.

Every Carmen Sandiego game contains hundreds of clues, attractive graphics and cartoons, and fun gameplay that will captivate kids and adults alike. Between the original 1985/86 CGA versions and after 1995 (where CD-ROM era began), Carmen Sandiego games can be categorized into 2 groups, each based on the underlying engine: the first group comprises "VGA enhanced versions" releases between 1989 and 1992. In this group, in the order of release, belong Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego?, Where in Europe is Carmen Sandiego?, Where in America's Past is Carmen Sandiego?, Where in The World is Carmen Sandiego? (Enhanced), and Where in The USA is Carmen Sandiego? (Enhanced).

The second group are games released between 1992 and 1994 that are based on the improved game engine that offers high-res VGA graphics, thousands of clues (as opposed to hundreds), and a more polished interface. These include Where in The World is Carmen Sandiego? Deluxe Edition, Where in Space is Carmen Sandiego?, and Where in The USA is Carmen Sandiego? Deluxe Edition.

Of all these games, Where in Europe is Carmen Sandiego? and Where in The USA is Carmen Sandiego? Deluxe Edition are the hardest to find. All 8 aforementioned releases are now available for download from this site, as a tribute to one of the best edutainment series ever made.

Whether you have a kid in your house or not, Carmen Sandiego games will glue you to the screen for hours on end if you have even a slight interest in geography, history, or trivia in general. Two thumbs up for all the games - and happy hunting! :)

Review By HOTUD

Comments and reviews

tjsdreams 2016-05-11 0 point

@Buttonsamy - Today, I found the book. It is called "What Happened When: A Chronology of Life & Events in America" by Gorton Carruth. I did a quick check and it is for sale on amazon.

This game was built specifically around this book.So I recommend if you want to play this game also find a copy of the book that goes with it.

FYI This is one of my favorite games as a kid.

Wyatt Wong 2016-03-27 0 point

I got a few promotion code as follows:

Where in America’s Past is Carmen Sandiego Promotion Code in

1. On July 11, 1804, Alexander Hamilton was fatally wounded in a pistol duel with Burr. (1804, section I)

2. On October 17, 1829, the and Delaware Canal was formally opened. (1829, section III)

3. On September 10, 1813, the Battle of Lake was a significant American naval victory. (1813, section I)

Buttonsamy 2015-06-10 1 point DOS version

Does anyone have acces to the world book they reference after each case? I used to own it, now am longing for it back.

D 2014-05-22 -1 point DOS version

@Branes The game originally came with a thick almanac-type book. Those obscure hints were supposed to be key words to look up in the index of the book and then that would point you where to go in the game. Without the book, the game would be a mess to play, for sure.

dogpuke 2014-02-16 -1 point DOS version

I hate all educational games...I'll remain stupid. XD

Big boy Corey 2013-11-20 -1 point DOS version

I,ll love this game

Branes 2013-05-07 4 points DOS version

You need to be a PHD in American history to play this game without using outside sources to maneuver yourself around in time because some of the clues are so outlandishly trivial that virtually nobody would know the answers without looking them up.
For example: " Rumor has it he's been appointed Southern coordinator for the newly-organized Campfire girls."
Now maybe you learned in high school history when the Campfire Girls were organized, but I'm sure I didn't. There is a lot of very good information in this game, BUT some of the clues make it so frustrating because they are also very tricky at times. For example:
One clue requires you to know when the cornerstone for the White House was laid. Now history class tells us that the White House was being built during the Adams administration which was between 1800-1825. And we know that it was burned down during the War of 1812. So you would naturally choose the East from 1800-1825.
But the cornerstone for the building was laid in 1793. This is something you couldn't possibly know without either being a high level Mason (who laid the cornerstone) or looking it up. Either way, it's time consuming and counterproductive to a game which should be about challenging your knowledge of IMPORTANT American history.
One more example: "She wanted to aid Stephen Austin in his founding of the colony of Texas."
Now, being a fan of the Alamo story, I know that the Alamo fell in 1836. And Texas became a Republic shortly after. So naturally, I would choose, Southwest, 1825-1850. HOWEVER, the question stated he wanted to found the COLONY of Texas. I've never heard of the colony of Texas, I thought it was a territory, nevertheless, that incident occurred before 1825.
So, be prepared to look up a lot of the questions because many of them are so trivial that nobody without numerous American history degrees could possibly know the answers.

pistolpeg 2011-10-25 -1 point DOS version

This game is a great help when it comes to teaching history

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