I’m certain that Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego? is the most confusing series in the history of video games. Different versions of a game might have the same cover, or the same game might have different covers. Sometimes the title on the box doesn’t even match the game’s title screen.

It can all get terribly confusing. When I decided to make myself a cheat sheet, it somehow turned into an infographic. But the upside is that I have something fun to share with you. Maybe you’ll even find it useful one day?

A hefty chart illustrating how various games in the series are connected.

Part of the reason a straight timeline doesn’t work is because there were always multiple series happening simultaneously, or even multiple installments releasing to different platforms.

For example: Where In The USA Is Carmen Sandiego? was released on the Apple II the same month that Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego? was released on IBM/Tandy! Likewise, the Enhanced edition of World showed up on Macintosh the same month as that Where In Europe Is Carmen Sandiego? debuted with Apple II and IBM/Tandy editions!

And the Deluxe version of World knock everyone’s socks off half a year before Where In America’s Past Is Carmen Sandiego?, which made the latter seem like a step backwards.

Then there are all the repackages that try to pass off a game as a new edition, which made the actual new editions seem less special. Where In Time Is Carmen Sandiego? 3.0 was even given a new title, Carmen Sandiego’s Great Chase Through Time. But when you put the disc in, the title screen still displays the old name.

The 2001 game Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego? has the opposite problem, a brand new game that reuses an old title on the box, but when you load up the title screen it includes the new subtitle Treasures Of Knowledge.

This deep dive is related to a larger Carmen Sandiego history project. If you’d like to support it, feel free to donate to my research on Patreon!


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