%% Image selected per Image Pickin' thread: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/posts.php?discussion=1362927869092962300
%% Please do not replace or remove without starting a new thread.
%%
[[quoteright:325:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/rsz_carmen-sandiego_494.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:325:Careful, else she'll steal this wiki.]]

->''Well, she glides around the globe and she'll flimflam every nation''\\
''She's a double-dealing diva with a taste for thievery''\\
''Her itinerary's [[{{Pun}} loaded up with moving violations]]''\\
''Tell me, where in the world is... Carmen Sandiego?''
-->-- Rockapella's ''[[CrowningMusicOfAwesome "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?"]]''

EdutainmentGame series created by now-defunct Creator/BroderbundSoftware in 1985. The series became phenomenally successful in the [[TheNineties 1990s]], spawning no fewer than ''three'' television shows, two on Creator/{{PBS}} and one on {{Fox}}, then falling into obscurity shortly around the TurnOfTheMillennium before resurrecting around TheNewTens, starting on [=FaceBook=]. The series is now owned by the Learning Company, which hasn't made a new ''Carmen Sandiego'' game since 2001, though it did license the character for ''Secret of the Stolen Drums'', released in 2004 for home consoles.[[note]]There was a DS game released in 2009, see NoExportForYou in the Trivia tab.[[/note]] There probably have been plenty of games released, and Carmen just ''stole them all''.

The standard case involves an educational quest to find [[MacGuffin The Loot]], [[ArtisticLicenseLaw The Warrant]] and [[CardCarryingVillain The Crook]].

TV shows in the franchise include:
* ''Series/WhereInTheWorldIsCarmenSandiego'' (a game show with kid contestants)
* ''Series/WhereInTimeIsCarmenSandiego'' (a spin-off of the first game show)
* ''WesternAnimation/WhereOnEarthIsCarmenSandiego'' (an animated series)

Games in the franchise with their own pages include:
* ''[[VideoGame/WhereInTimeIsCarmenSandiego1997 Where in Time is Carmen Sandeigo? (1997)/Carmen Sandiego's Great Chase Through Time]]''
* ''VideoGame/CarmenSandiegoWordDetective''

Carmen Sandiego is an International thief, and it's down to the Interpol-esque ACME Detective Agency to stop her plans. Fortunately, she plays CriminalMindGames with her pursuers to provide the obligatory AlphabetSoupCans. But don't worry; she's a FriendlyEnemy — at least [[DependingOnTheWriter some of the time]].

Her BackStory? Carmen was a star ACME agent until she decided that catching crooks was just too darn easy. Therefore, she did a FaceHeelTurn and became a [[GentlemanThief Gentlewoman Thief]]. Then she decided to have FunWithAcronyms by founding an organization called the '''V'''illains' '''I'''nternational '''L'''eague of '''E'''vil (V.I.L.E.). Although V.I.L.E. is progressive enough for EqualOpportunityEvil, you absolutely must have a PunnyName to join.

Given a massive DarkerAndEdgier {{homage}} [[http://www.collegehumor.com/video:1747610 here]]. It was playable [[http://www.facebook.com/carmensandiego on FaceBook]] (but no longer) and [[http://hmheducation.com/games/index.php coming to WiiWare]].
----
!!The ''Carmen Sandiego'' franchise provides examples of the following tropes:

* AcmeProducts: Possibly parodied, as the name is given to a detective agency rather than a product.
** Some versions combine this trope with the in game suffix "-Net." At default it's "Acme Crime-Net," but it could also be "Time-Net" and in the game show it was often used as ACME (fill in the blank) Net.
* AffablyEvil: [[UpToEleven And how!]] She steals all kinds of items, and it's implied that she's doing this primarily for the thrill of it, but she's given a fairly endearing personality.
* AffectionateParody: Website/CollegeHumor's ''Where the Fuck Is Carmen Sandiego?'', how the game show would look like with a whopping dollop of grimdark.
* AllThereInTheManual: In a rather strange variation, some of the background information for the Acme detectives introduced in ''Treasures of Knowledge'' appears in the manual for ''Secret of the Stolen Drums''.
** You wouldn't know one of the villains even had a PunnyName unless you read the manual, as he's only called [[EveryoneCallsHimBarkeep The Baron]] in-game. Turns out his name is actually Baron Grinnit. Which explains why he's [[FauxAffablyEvil always smiling.]]
* AlphabetSoupCans: Newer games are generally worse offenders here than the earlier ones.
** Justifiable in the sense that you are trying to find a culprit, so are gathering evidence to suggest where they went. Some clues make sense, such as they describe where the suspect is going, but other times it seems rather contrived, such as naming the country where something was invented or finding the birthplace of a celebrity.
** ''Word Detective'' and ''Math Detective'', which teach language arts and mathematics respectively, play it completely straight.
* AlternateContinuity: {{Fox}}'s ''Where on Earth...'' series appears to have its own continuity. The two PBS shows may be set in [[TheVerse the same universe]], but that's not too clear since they have NoFourthWall and are {{game show}}s. And don't even try to figure out which of the computer games take place in the same universe...
** It could be said ''Treasures of Knowledge'', ''Secret of the Stolen Drums'', and the [[NoExportForYou DS game]] do form one continuity as they share a few common characters and Carmen's backstory, but the games can be played without ContinuityLockout being an issue.
* ArtShift: Has happened a few times. One of the most notable are word and math detectives, which make the series still have a rather cartoony look, but they look much DarkerAndEdgier compared to the earlier ones.
* AwesomeMcCoolname: Chase Devineaux from the ''Word Detective'', ''Math Detective'', and ''[=ThinkQuick=] Challenge'' games. Shadow Hawkins from ''Treasures of Knowledge'' is actually a subversion, the [[AllThereInTheManual manual]] for ''Secret of the Stolen Drums'' reveals Shadow's real name is [[GenderBlenderName Shannon]].
* BadassInANiceSuit: Carmen Sandiego's signature red BadassLongcoat and [[NiceHat fedora]].
* BigBadFriend: The Facebook version occasionally enlists [[BreakingTheFourthWall people from the player's friends list]] as some of Carmen's mooks.
* CanonImmigrant: ''Where on Earth'' established Carmen's BackStory as a former ACME detective, adopted by later games in the franchise.
* CardboardPrison: Extremely blatant: Carmen gets captured at the end of every computer game and maybe 30% to 50% of the time on the PBS game shows. Despite this, she's at large in the next game/episode. This also applies to many of the lesser villains.
* ClassyCatBurglar: Carmen's practically an archetype.
* CoatFullOfContraband: One of the generic henchmen ''Where In The [=USA=]'' was a very sneaky, sleazy-looking guy who opened his trenchcoat to reveal sparkling, gleaming watches.
* CollectionSidequest: Finding all 450 amulets in ''Secret of the Stolen Drums''. Not necessary for HundredPercentCompletion, but on the SlidingScaleOfCollectibleTracking, it varies from "Could Be Anywhere" to LostForever, especially since once you moved to the next location there was no way to travel back to a previous location. Just to make things worse, the PS2 version has one amulet DummiedOut for no apparent reason.
* CopyProtection: Horrible, horrible copy protection. Arguably some of the most frustrating of all time. You can play all you want, but to get promoted and even have a chance to capture Carmen, you have to enter certain words from certain pages of the included travel guides every few cases. Sound easy enough? Then remember that these games were incredibly common in schools...where the manuals would often get ''lost.'' And even the teachers couldn't exactly summon new copies of a travel guide (now often several years, if not a decade) out of date at will...
** ''Where in Time...'' came with a hefty paperback ''desk encyclopedia'' in the box.
*** Ironically enough, the later CD games had no protection at all.
** At least with ''World'', the reference was an Almanac; most of the information in one of those can now be found on [[TheOtherWiki Wikipedia]]. ''Europe'' used an atlas and asked questions about what color country X on page Y was. ''[=USA=]'' what the last word on page Y of the Fodor's travel guide was. Have fun guessing!
* CriminalMindGames
* DaChief
* DifficultyLevels: In ''Word Detective'', ''Math Detective'' and ''[=ThinkQuick=] Challenge''.
* DitzyGenius: Hawkins from ''Treasures of Knowledge'' is certainly very smart, having graduated from the Acme academy at the top of his class. Compared to [[WomenAreWiser Jules]], though, he's woefully inexperienced.
* DoubleReverseQuadrupleAgent: According to her backstory in the 80's version, Carmen ''was'' one of these, obstensibly for the small country of Monaco, but she decided she liked crime more than espionage.
* DrosteImage: Setting the Chronoskimmer to the West in the 1976-2000 time period while playing ''Where in America's Past'' [[http://fycarmensandiego.tumblr.com/post/39278175880/a-rather-meta-location-image-from-where-in yields this location image]].
* EqualOpportunityEvil
* EvenTheGirlsWantHer: WebVideo/TheNostalgiaChick claimed that Carmen is hot, and would love to see if she was wearing anything under her coat.
* EvilGloating: Oh, how Carmen loves this. In any game where you receive messages from the Chief on a VideoPhone, expect Carmen to occasionally break into your communications for gloating purposes.
* {{Expy}}: Most likely an unintentional example, but Ivan Idea from the v3.0 games/''Great Chase'', Ben from the junior novels, Shadow Hawkins from ''Treasures of Knowledge'', and Adam Shadow from the DS game share similar traits with Zack from the cartoon (blonde-haired male detectives who happen to be tech-savvy). However, Adam borders on being not just an expy but also a SuspiciouslySimilarSubstitute - not only does [[http://img24.imageshack.us/img24/9550/wallpapercarmen1.jpg his default outfit]] looks near identical to [[http://img15.imageshack.us/img15/4162/zackconceptart.jpg Zack's outfit]], considering the DS game is set in the same continuity as ''Treasures of Knowledge'', Shadow is nowhere to be seen.
** The ACME Detective Agency sort of started off as a fictionalized version of Interpol. In fact, in the original versions of ''World'' and ''[=USA=]'', the organization you worked for actually ''was'' Interpol.
* FaceHeelTurn: Carmen, way back when...
* FallingChandelierOfDoom: Carmen employs this against Jules and Hawkins in the opening of ''Treasures of Knowledge''.
* {{Feelies}}: The oldest games in the series from the 1980s and very early '90s.
* FetchQuest: ''Carmen Sandiego's Great Chase Through Time'', ''Word Detective'', ''Math Detective'' and ''Treasures of Knowledge''
* FiveFiveFive: The phone numbers in the deluxe versions of ''World'' and ''USA'' are all prefixed with 555.
* ForTheEvulz
-->'''WebVideo/TheNostalgiaChick:''' Carmen's not really in it for keeping the stuff but more the thrill of the hunt, but most of all, just proving she can.
* FriendlyEnemy: Carmen, especially in the ''Earth'' continuity.
* FunWithAcronyms: V.I.L.E.
* GenreShift: ''Secret of the Stolen Drums'' is a platformer, which is a far cry from previous games in the series.
* GentlemanThief: Carmen is a female version.
* TheGreatPoliticsMessUp: The older games were made before the fall of Communism, making them pretty inaccurate now. ''Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? Deluxe'' managed to be made in the narrow window after Germany had been reunited, but before the Soviet Union fell. {{Lampshaded}} in ''Treasures of Knowledge'' when Hawkins says he's [[Music/TheBeatles "back in the U.S.S.R."]], prompting Jules to correct him. Ironically, ''Treasures of Knowledge'' [[ArtisticLicenseGeography inaccurately portrays the Russian Federation with Soviet-era borders on the in-game map]]. Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan would like a word with the Learning Company.
** There are also some non-Communism-related examples of Geography Marching On. It'd almost be impossible to count how many ''Carmen'' games show the World Trade Center towers in New York, but it's a lot (they're even in the opening credits of the ''Where on Earth'' cartoon). In the 1996 version of ''World'', your location for Afghanistan is one of the Bamiyan Buddha statues, both of which were dynamited by the Taliban in 2001. When the name of a currency is given as a clue, it will be inaccurate for any country which has since adopted the Euro. And so on. A geography game just can't stay accurate forever, you know.
* GuideDangIt: There are a few examples where they give a rather obscure hint that's not explained in-game because you're supposed to look in the guide book. The Facebook game justifies this because they [[GenreSavvy know you're going to use Google]].
* HeWhoMustNotBeSeen: The Chief of Acme Detective Agency is a mysterious, shadowy character in the early games.
** Unless the Chief is Lynne Thigpen.
** Or a posh British gentleman.
** Or the Hologram Chief from "Earth" cartoon.
* [[HighlyVisibleNinja Highly Visible Thief]]: That red trenchcoat witch matching fedora won't help you sneak past ACME, Carmen.
* HowWeGotHere: ''Secret of the Stolen Drums'' starts out with Cole explaining why he failed to obey the Chief's orders to return to headquarters. Repeatedly.
* HurricaneOfPuns: Oh, is it ever.
* IdiotBall: All of the early games had IdiotBall in the form of the battery-powered translator. With no spare batteries. Or, say, a charger.
* ImpossibleThief: ''She stole the galaxy!'' And probably nobody has any clue as how she did it because she stole that too...
* ImprobableAge: Both ACME and V.I.L.E. seem to regularly employ teenagers. Zack and Ivy of the ''Earth'' cartoon are fourteen and eighteen respectively. Patty Larceny, Sarah Nade, and Jacqueline Hyde are teenagers, though their exact ages are never specified. According to the user's manual included with the 1997 version of ''Where in Time'', Ivan Idea is a "teenage whiz kid" and Polly Tix is "still too young to vote".
* InUniverseGameClock: In ''Where in the World'' v3.0, depending on the in-game clock (and time zone), if you stay long enough in a location you can watch the sky go from day to night and vice versa.
* ItWillNeverCatchOn: In the 1996 version of ''World'', there are "good guides" you will give you a tour of your current locale. The tour of Moscow has Dee Plomassy singing the praises of the dawning era of democracy in Russia. In retrospect, her optimism about TheNewRussia seems just a bit premature.
* ItsASmallWorldAfterAll: The clues you are given are about the ''entire country'' the crook went to rather than any specific place. Fortunately, knowing ''just'' the country is always enough to get you to another destination with more clues.
** {{Handwaved}} in one of the re-releases of ''Where in the World...'' where you have to find the torch from the Statue of Liberty, even though you investigate San Francisco. The Chief mentions that it 'appeared seconds after the theft' in San Francisco. Oookay then...
*** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjRw6XZhgf8 Gets taken to a ludicrous degree]] in ''Secret of the Stolen Drums'' where Cole figures out Carmen's fled to France just because she spoke French - [[FridgeLogic never mind the fact French is the official language of at least 29 countries]].
** Subverted in the Facebook game, the clues point to a specific city within a given country as some countries have multiple locations. [[WordOfGod The developers]] [[http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/32992/Interview_Making_Friends_With_Carmen_Sandiego_On_Facebook.php confirmed]] the game was created with the mindset that people would use Google for the clues.
** In the older games, clues intended to direct you to Moscow will sometimes mention places that were part of the U.S.S.R. at the time, but which are now independent of Russia.
* JokerImmunity: She can be caught, but never held, no matter what version she appeared in. For example, the contestants in the game show captured her by winning, but that only lasted until the next show. It seems they've yet to make a jail strong enough to hold her.
* LandmarkingTheHiddenBase: At the end of the 1996 version of ''Where in the USA?'', you not only capture Carmen, but also discover the location of her secret base. It turns out to be under the U.S. Capitol Building. Perhaps she chose the location due to the [[SleazyPolitician convenient supply of crooks nearby]].
* LimitedAnimation: ''Treasures of Knowledge'' is a big, big offender. They made, like, five animations of Jules and Hawkins to reuse over and over again for the entire game. And they only sort-of try for lip sync.
* LuckBasedMission: In games made pre-1996, not every witness interviewed will yield characteristic traits of the suspect (hair color, vehicle, favorite food, etc.). It's possible to not have enough information to narrow down a suspect and issue a warrant at the time of the arrest even if you interviewed everyone during a case. This is especially problematic in early cases when there are fewer locations to travel and fewer witnesses to interview.
* MonumentalTheft: She used to be the TropeNamer, because when she isn't committing them, she's sending out her henchmen to do so.
* {{Mooks}}: Carmen has quite a few of these.
* MediumBlending: In some of the games, Lynne Thigpen of the PBS game shows plays the Chief in live-action footage. But everyone else is a cartoon character. Try to figure that one out. Also, in some of the older games, the characters are cartoons running around in still photographs.
* NiceHat: She's never seen without her wicked-cool fedora.
* NoNameGiven: The chief of Acme Detective Agency is unnamed beyond the title of Chief.
** One series of Carmen Sandiego junior novels named the Chief Velma. She was made an aunt of one of the [[KidDetective Kid Detectives]] and seems to have been loosely based on Lynne Thigpen's portrayal on the game show.
** The Chief in the DS game was named Margaret O'Hara.
* PetTheDog: One episode of the Fox series establishes Carmen has a deep fondness for ''Literature/TheWonderfulWizardOfOz'', her favorite book as a kid. Of course, in that episode she's after the Smithsonian's pair of Dorothy's slippers...
** Not to mention, the Fox series apparently states that Carmen doesn't want to ''hurt'' the ACME Detectives.
* PlayerVersusPlayer: ''Carmen Sandiego's [=ThinkQuick=] Challenge''
* PrettyInMink: Early boxart covers had Carmen wearing a dark-colored fur coat, with ''[[http://www.mobygames.com/game/where-in-the-usa-is-carmen-sandiego/cover-art/gameCoverId,565/ Where in the USA]]'' and ''[[http://www.mobygames.com/game/where-in-europe-is-carmen-sandiego/cover-art/gameCoverId,8607/ Where in Europe]]'' being the most prominent examples. Carmen had a red fur coat on the original cover of ''Where in Time'' as well.
* ProductPlacement: [[http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising/whites-co-promo-goes-after-kids-amtrak-24237 Back in 1998]] there was an Amtrak-skinned version of ''Where in the USA'', titled ''Where in America...The Great Amtrak Train Adventure''. It basically added in Amtrak-themed clues and Amtrak-dressed cartoon employees as additional witnesses. It also included a promo advert for Amtrak in the in-game database.
* PunnyName: Absolutely ubiquitous in the Brøderbund games; the Learning Company apparently didn't like them as much.
** Just for fun, have a gander at the following baddie names from the Literature/ChooseYourOwnAdventure book ''Where In Space Is Carmen Sandiego?'': Bea Miupscotti, Avery Littlebit Phelps, Morton U. Bargandfore, Kit Incaboodle, Astro Fizzix, and Hanover Fist.
** For the Facebook game, it's initially [[SubvertedTrope subverted]] as most of the crooks have mundane names. It's played straight once you start solving the Hard cases that PunnyName criminals start showing.
* RaceLift: Carmen is usually unambiguously Hispanic, but at times she has been changed to a paler skin tone. Arguably she just gets turned into a {{Mukokuseki}} type lighter skinned Hispanic though.
** She stole her own skin tone.
* {{Reboot}}: The WiiWare games.
* RecycledInSpace: ''Where in Space Is Carmen Sandiego'', naturally. Thankfully the game is a positive example of this trope because it was one of the best in the series.
* RedBaron: Carmen's been referred to many times as the Queen of Crime, and less often as the Duchess of Thievery. But most of all, she's been called the "World's Most Notorious Thief".
* RegionalRiff: Used, often quite beautifully, in ''Treasures of Knowledge'' whenever Hawkins and Argent arrive in a new country.
* RespawningEnemies: The elemental spirits in ''Secret of the Stolen Drums''. Averted with Carmen's robots -- any robots Cole has destroyed will remain destroyed, even if you saved, quit, and reload the game again.
* {{Retcon}}: Lots of 'em. Most notably, Carmen's original BackStory had her being a former spy for the Intelligence Service of Monaco -- don't expect that to show up in any game made after Czechoslovakia split up.
* RewardingVandalism: In ''Secret of the Stolen Drums''.
* RightHandCat: In ''Junior Detective'' and the 1996 versions of ''World'' and ''U.S.A.'', Carmen has a pet cat named Carmine. Sadly, we never see Carmen stroke Carmine in the usual villainous fashion (although Carmine being a ginger cat and Carmen always wearing red would create a terrible color clash).
* RoguesGallery: V.I.L.E. in the PBS shows.
* SavingTheWorld
* ShoutOut: The Facebook game has a few, mostly to previous TV shows.
** The Chief looks very much like Lynne Thigpen from the game shows, specifically ''Where in the World''.
** Carmen's wanted poster references lyrics from the theme song to the [[Series/WhereInTheWorldIsCarmenSandiego World game show]].
** While Carmen has yet to make an actual appearance, her characterization and described appearance from the various papers on the bulletin board and databases share similarities with how Carmen was portrayed on ''Where on Earth''. Even the logo for the Facebook game looks similar to the logo from ''Where on Earth''. WordOfGod has not confirmed this, though.
* SpellMyNameWithAnS: ''Treasures of Knowledge'' spells Carmen's middle name as Isabela. The [[AllThereInTheManual manual]] for ''Secret of the Stolen Drums'' spells it as Isabella.
* SpyCatsuit: Carmen wears one in ''[=ThinkQuick=] Challenge'' as an alternate outfit to her red [[BadassLongcoat trenchcoat]] and NiceHat.
* StepThreeProfit: 1. Steal huge national monuments/treasures/etc. 2. ??? (As far as is known, neither Carmen nor any VILE henchman, once having stolen something, have tried to ransom it back or sell it to fences, etc.) 3. Profit (It's been assumed Carmen does this for the thrills, but what about the VILE Henchmen? And how does VILE stay in business?)
* StockFootage: In the 1996 version of ''Where in the World'', the in-game database includes some video clips, all composed of footage from old NationalGeographic specials.
* SupervillainLair: Carmen occasionally has one of these.
** In ''Word Detective'' and ''Math Detective'', you teleport between various V.I.L.E. hideouts around the world (and one, from ''Math Detective'', in outer space) to find the games needed to unlock the {{Plot Coupon}}s.
* SurroundedByIdiots: V.I.L.E. seems to be stocked with complete idiots; given a HandWave in one of the game manuals, which said that Carmen has a soft spot for people less capable than herself.
* SuspiciouslySimilarSubstitute: While every ''Carmen'' TV show and game has its own cast of characters, many fulfill similar niches.
** Scientists: Dr. Belljar, Sarah Bellum, Jane Reaction
** Musicians: Sarah Nade, Mel Ancholy, Carri Daway, Esther Odious
** Aliens: Kneemoi, Dr. Ima [=LeZaard=], A. Leon Being
** Nobles: Contessa, Baron Wasteland, Baron Grinnit
** ThePigPen: Hugh Stink, Top Grunge
** Hackers: Dee Cryption, Cy Berpunk, Telly Phone
** [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Carmen_Sandiego_characters#Robots Robots]]
* TimePolice: Whole point of ''Where in Time Is Carmen Sandiego?'' and ''Where in America's Past'' as well.
* TimeTravel: ''Where in Time'' and ''America's Past'', obviously, and there were time machines in ''Where on Earth''.
* TomboyishName: Subverted with Jules. One clue Carmen left behind addressed Jules [[http://youtu.be/gac52fo6rA8?t=5m31s as Julia]] in ''Treasures of Knowledge''. This actually caused a DubNameChange in the DS game.[[labelnote:explanation]]The developer of the DS game, Strass Productions, is French. Jules is the male French form of "Julius", as in JulesVerne.[[/labelnote]]
* UnwinnableByDesign: If you spend too much time going to the wrong places, before you figure out some of the more obscure hints (Especially in the later cases where there is almost ''no'' room for errors), you'll run out of time or battery power.
* UpdatedRerelease
* VictoryPose: [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] in ''Carmen Sandiego's [=ThinkQuick=] Challenge''.
* VideoGameRemake
* VillainBasedFranchise
* WeirdnessSearchAndRescue: A TimeTravel focused ''CarmenSandiego'' game had these.
* WorldTour: One of the most famous examples.
* YouALLLookFamiliar: The bystanders in the 1996 versions of ''Where in the World...'' and ''Where in the USA...''

----