Totally 90s: “Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?”

Welcome the next installment of my year-long look back at a decade defined by its extremes. Rap versus grunge; mullets versus pixies; Saved by the Bell versus NYPD Blue – the 1990s had it all, and then some. Every other week I’ll be reminiscing about some facet of the 1990s, potentially drowning in some ill-forgotten nostalgia despite my best efforts otherwise. Serving as inspiration is an utterly ridiculous but nonetheless intriguing list created by Huffington Post — 1990 Things from the 90s to End the Nostalgia Once and for All – and I’ll be using a random number generator to pick each week’s “topic.” So don’t have a cow, man, if I ask you to talk to the hand while take this sweet ride through the 90s. Word to your mother. 


Week 24: HuffPost list #190 – “Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?”

I’m assuming we’re talking about the AHHHH-MAZING TV show here, because that’s the first things that came to my mind.

Though, I s’pose we could just as easily talk about the AHHHH-MAZING Carmen Sandiego PC games, but…I’m going with the TV show.

If there’s one thing to know about me that I’d probably said a hundred times already on this blog, it’s that I like maps and geography. Don’t ask why, it’s just a thing, a thing that makes me grumble quite a bit on road trips when phone navigation decides to be poopy. (i.e. just give me a damn paper map, please.) Anyway, because if this, Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego was a game show that was right up my alley. It offered up the world at-large in a family-friendly and entertaining nutshell, one that was heartily welcome in my pre-Internet household.

Dated though the show is now, it had its own charms, from its lighthearted premise, to its “gumshoes” (the kid contestants) to its silly animations and antics. The host, Greg Lee, was funny if nothing to write home about. The show introduced me to the fantastic Lynne Thigpen, who I later saw in the movie version of Godspell and subsequently learned of her extensive acting career. The more you know!® The show also gave me a weekly dose of Rockapella – the…yep, you guessed it…show’s singing group, which was worth it’s aural weight in gold as far as I was concerned. (Somewhere I have a Rockapella mixtape…oh yes I do!)

But, if I’m being honest with my nerdy self, the thing I actually liked most about the show was testing my own geographical and world knowledge. And I have to admit that I felt like a bit of a know-it-all at times, what with some of the questions being soooooo easy. Pfft! Who doesn’t know the capital of Panama or the tallest attraction in Paris??

I was something of a little snit, too.

But look, it wasn’t as if my non-extistant friends were going to give me the time of day, let alone the chance for me to show off my geography wizardy. But Carmen Sandiego was there for me…until she wasn’t.

Now where the heck did she go?

Uh oh…looks like it’s time for…

WHERE IN THE WORLD IS CARMEN SANDIEGO?

(Hey, it’s still a great PC game, too!)

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