This is a nostalgic post. It’s all about the first ever computer game I played. The title is a dead giveaway.
It was the early 90’s. Unlike the American, and/or European homes, buying a computer in India during that time was unheard of. It was a very costly affair to own one. And if anything went wrong with respect to the hardware, or the software of the machine, it was a nightmare to get it fixed. Especially if an over-enthusiastic kid was involved in the whole process of getting his hard-to-come-by-I-am-lucky-machine fixed. I’ve made my fair share of blunders with respect to blowing up the hard-drives, and what have you. I used to run around like a headless chicken trying to fix them machines.
Thanks to my father, who after much convincing gave in to the idea of buying me my first computer, and then enrolling me into my first computer class. My first machine was a 286-XT . A costly machine. I started using it to learn DOS , BASIC , and LOGO . Windows was not a complete OS at that time. You had to install Windows 3.11 on top of DOS, using a dozen floppy disks. If any one of them was corrupt then you knew it was a bad day.
During the holidays, I used to sit for hours playing games. The first ever computer game I played was ‘Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego’ by Broderbund . The 1985 version. Sitting, and playing ‘Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego’, with 8bit graphics scrolling through your monochromatic CRT window, and monophonic sound filling up your room, you never would feel time pass you by (yea, I ran out of time a lot). I look back at those days gone by, and it brings a smile to my face. There’re so many of unbelievable facts, and figures wrapped up in that time, and space. For e.g. my machine had 256KB of RAM! It had a CGA card with 16 colors! With a 1.22MB (5.25”) Floppy Disk Drive, and two 10MB HDDs! And honest to god it was heavy!
Coming back to my first ever computer game; I did some looking up, and came to know that I can still play it, online!
Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?
It’s still quite a popular game. New variants of the franchise kept rolling out ’til 2011. 2011 is when it came out as a facebook game/app (I haven’t played this one). They even made a TV show out of it! I fact wasn’t aware of ’til today!
The game was/is from the educational genre. It was indeed educational, especially for someone like I, who never had heard about places known as Cairo, Lima, Colombo, and so on. I think this game was pivotal in inspiring my wanderlust, and fueling my creativity.
Have a Look at the Original Gameplay
Here’s a youtube video of the entire gameplay, and the full game. If you have some time for nostalgia today, it’s a must watch. I just wanted to hear those monotones again! I even saved the OP as my ringtone!
Video of the Entire Game's gameplay. Long Video.
Want to Play?
I stumbled upon two websites that let you play ‘Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?’ today.
1. Archive.org: Uses Dos Box, and lets you play the original version of the game. It’s a little big buggy, but works. The below video shows my first case, after probably ~19 years or so. Yes, I played the game. Though not for long! No, I wasn’t able to solve the first case.
This is the first ever computer game I played.
2. SNES Version: The SNES version is the 1993 one. Color graphics, and the whole nine yards. Yes, I played this one too. But I solved the case here! Gameplay video below.
Relatively newer version of the game.
So there you have it! ‘Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?` If you haven’t played it, please do take some time out, and give it a whirl. You won’t be disappointed!