If you're an '80s or '90s kid, you might remember searching the globe for the evil villainess Carmen Sandiego and her fleet of henchmen. You'd follow clues (from what was likely your first PC) based on foreign currencies, flags, languages and landmarks to track the international menace -- all without leaving your family's "computer room." Now, Google Earth is reviving the search with a series of Carmen Sandiego games.
Beginning today, you can play the first, "The Crown Jewels Caper," on Google Earth for Chrome, Android and iOS. The video game splits your screen between a very 90s interface and a view of Google Earth, and you're asked to interview witnesses and use clues to guide you around the globe. "It's for all those gumshoes who grew up with the chase, and for the next generation feeling that geography itch for the first time," Google said in a blog post.
When the Carmen Sandiego video game launched in 1985, it spurred the creation of a franchise, complete with a game show, books, TV series, even a musical. While Sandiego never completely vanished, it looks like she's experiencing a resurgence. In January, Netflix launched an animated reboot that positions Carmen as more of a Robinhood-style thief. The company is also planning a live-action film.
This isn't the first time Google has experimented with map-based video game throwbacks. Last year, on MAR10 Day, you could tap an icon and have a Mario animation drive around with you on Google Maps for the week. But this is a complete game, not just an animation. Google promises we'll be seeing more of Sandiego. What we don't know is if we'll see more Google Earth-based games outside of Carmen Sandiego.