Thursday, March 4, 2010

We Haven't Found Carmen Sandiego.....Yet.

What an adventure Max is having trying to locate the lady in red who is none other than Carmen Sandiego! Carmen's been around for many years and you can try and track her with uploadable software or by playing a board game. I picked up a cheap version of the software and uploaded it yesterday. Max has been jet-setting all over the world and learning as he goes. Occasionally he'll yell out something like, "Mom! Where do I go to get to Capetown?" or "whose country flag is this one?"
It's a twisty-turny adventure through many cities and countries. The two A.C.M.E. agents tracking Ms. Sandiego are fun because they sometimes bicker. You have a database of information at your disposal so you can research some information about a clue, you can collect electronic gadgets along the way (like a clue analyzer or an 'electron illuminator', which is just a plain old flashlight) to help you out in certain situations, and there's a notebook wherein you can store information about your clues, etc. etc. Occasionally you'll run into a logic puzzle that you need to solve in order to receive another clue. I sat with Max for the first 30 minutes to help if he got stuck, but then he took off on his own and got lost in the hunt for clues.
It's cleverly designed and worth playing. Since yesterday Max has been to Thailand, South Africa, Mexico, Peru, Brazil, Antarctica, the United Kingdom, Russia, New Zealand..........all the while being exposed to cultural and country facts. The graphics do a good job of capturing the essence of each place, right down to the foods that are favored and the mode of dress. The Peruvians are so colorful!
Here's a picture of this particular software. Staples carries it as does The Learning Company, which is the retailer for this software (Broderbund Software):

I'm very pleased with the game. I also suspect that Carmen might not be as vile as she is made out to be. But we'll have to see once we figure out her motives and find her!

There are many other similar products that involve Carmen Sandiego. Here are a few choices to get you searching in case you are interested:

The one below looks particularly intriguing since you need to use more abstract thinking to solve pieces to the puzzle - and you get to meet interesting characters from history like Julius Caesar, Beethoven, Thomas Jefferson, Leif Erikson and many others. Looks like a fantastic history game!

Good for us non-quick thinkers.

I did notice while reading some of the reviews that the software sometimes has challenges in various platforms like Windows XP or MacOs, and other newer versions. Most seemed to generally be very pleased with Carmen and her hijinks!

Oooo - several episodes from Carmen's TV series in DVD format! How cool is this?

Rita Moreno plays the role of Carmen. There are a few other DVD episode sets available, too.

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