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Where in Time Is Carmen Sandiego? (video game) facts for kids

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Where in Time Is Carmen Sandiego?
Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego Coverart.png
Cover art
Developer(s) Broderbund
Publisher(s) Broderbund
Designer(s) Gene Portwood
Lauren Elliot
Series Carmen Sandiego
Platform(s) Amiga, Apple II, Commodore 64, MS-DOS, NES, Super NES, Genesis
Release date(s) August 1989
Genre(s) Educational, strategy
Mode(s) Single player

Where in Time Is Carmen Sandiego? is a 1989 multiplatform video game where players have to travel through time to collect clues and the warrants necessary to capture Carmen Sandiego or her henchmen. The goal of this game is to track Carmen's villains through history and arrest them and ultimately arrest Carmen herself.

Similar to the 1985 game Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?, the player plays as a secret agent for the Acme Detective Agency, and has to use research books to crack the clues given to them on where the crook went to, and also decode the physical attributes or interests of the crook based on other clues. They must achieve both these objectives in order to secure an arrest warrant, which allows them to identify the person at the end of the case as the crook. The player travels through time and space with a device known within the Carmen Sandiego universe as the Chronoskimmer. The game is time limited, and every action one takes uses up some of that time; the player needs to solve the case within the allotted time in order to be successful. As well as teaching the player about both geography and history it also provides practice with using a research book – the New American Desk Encyclopedia comes with the game for assistance. The people, events, and inventions featured in the game hail from period in history ranging from 400 AD to the 1950s – the past 1500 years of human history. The game also comes with a 28-page instruction manual.

This was the first game in the series to establish that ACME Headquarters is located in San Francisco.

The game was released on a variety of different platforms including Apple II (1989), Amiga (1990), Commodore 64/128 (1990), Macintosh (1990), IBM PC Compatible (1990), Nintendo Entertainment System (1991), Sega Genesis (1992), and Super Nintendo Entertainment System (1993).

In 1991, Konami released a port of the game for the Nintendo Entertainment System which included a small, paperback encyclopedia as a free pack-in. Hi Tech Expressions later created a port for the Super NES. Electronic Arts also created a port for the Sega Genesis.

Gene Portwood and Lauren Elliott were the designers for the game, Lance Groody and Rod Nelson were the programmers, Don Albrecht, Leila Bronstein, Michelle Bushneff, Maureen Gilhooly, Julie Glavin, Avril Harrison and Barbara Lawrence all worked on graphics, Clair Curtin was the product manager, Susan Meyers wrote the clues, and Matthew Leeds wrote the manual.


Players start out as a Time Cadet (and throughout the game get promoted to Time Patroller, Time Investigator, Time Inspector, Time Detective, Ace Time Detective, and finally Super Time Sleuth), and need to "Track the criminals' movements, figure out where he or she is going next, obtain a warrant for his or her arrest, and send a 'Capture Robot' to arrest the thief". The player finds this hideout by following the "trail throughout the time stream". The player asks people for clues, and every travel clue given at a location gives the player a hint as to the next destination. The player clicks on whichever of the 4 travel options fits the clue, and is then sent there to receive the next clue. They know if they reach the correct location if they see a short animation of a VILE agent upon arrival. The player also gets clues about the culprit's physical appearance and what their likes/hobbies are, which the player then uses to make the warrant. The player is able to arrest the crook if they have the correct warrant and are in the correct location before the time runs out. The player has to capture 80 criminals in order to beat the game.

The game can be played in five different languages: English, French, Spanish, German and Italian.

Times and locations

The game's locations are China, England, France, Holland, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Peru, Russia, Spain, and the USA.

Each location can be visited during four different time periods: 400 to 1300, 1300 to 1700, 1700 to 1900, and 1900 to the present day.

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