Where in the world is Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?
Most of the team at Ramo grew up playing classic computer games like Oregon Trail, Carmen Sandiego, and Reader Rabbit. These games were fun for us (as kids), but were educational in ways that made parents and teachers comfortable. Importantly, many of these games had educational value in the form of real-world learning, not just simple mechanical drills that would have felt too much like school. After all, where else would we learn about dysentery except in Oregon Trail? The developers of these games did a fine job building engaging products that emphasized some kind of learning to make the games meaningful beyond the simple entertainment value.
The big question is, what happened to these terrific game franchises?
The Learning Company, which was a pioneer in the edutainment space and developed titles like the ones above, got acquired by a handful of different companies, including Mattel; it is presently owned by Riverdeep. Looks like many of the original titles are still available, either in a boxed or downloadable format. The Learning Company website references nostalgic memories of Oregon Trail: “Develop solutions to help your friends and family survive the dangers of the long journey, including raging rivers, buffalo stampedes, sickness, and starvation.” Just the skills kids need to be prepared for the 21st century. Unfortunately, some of these games haven’t been updated in a few years.
What are some of your favorite memories of the classics?