From Centipede to Zelda, these are the 20 best (and most influential) videos games of the '80s

Carmen Sandiego

Source: Moby Games (Image credit: Source: Moby Games)

Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?

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Developer: Broderbund

Platforms: Apple II, MS-DOS, Commodore 64, Sega Master System, Amstrad CPC, TRS-80 and CoCo

Release Date: 1985

Why this game mattered: This was an educational game done right. In the first Carmen Sandiego game, the player must track down super-criminal Carmen Sandiego and her cartoonish villains around the world by using clues to figure out their locations before they steal more iconic items. Your knowledge of geography will help you track down the missing items and get promoted to detective.

Fun fact: Despite being the way a lot of kids learned about geography in the '80s and '90s, Carmen Sandiego did not start as an educational game. The original game started with text adventures (see Zork) but as a way to incorporate graphics and talk about travel. It ended up being a hit in classrooms and became the foundation for many young people learned about geography growing up.

Future games influenced by this title: Carmen Sandiego is a massive franchise that's still running to this day. There have been dozens of games, four TV shows, board games, books, and more, with the latest entry hitting Netflix in 2019. More than that, it proved that educational games could be fun, that they weren't confined to their label.

Where you can play it today: Find Carmen Sandiego in several of her mystery games on the Software Library.

WC Staff