Carmen Sandiego's ThinkQuick Challenge

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Carmen Sandiego's ThinkQuick Challenge
Carmen Sandiego's Think Quick Challenge Coverart.png
Cover art
Developer(s)The Learning Company
Publisher(s)The Learning Company
SeriesCarmen Sandiego
Platform(s)Mac OS, Windows
  • NA: June 1, 1999

Carmen Sandiego's ThinkQuick Challenge (sometimes referred to as Carmen Sandiego's Think Quick Challenge) is a "game show-themed"[2] edutainment computer game for kids ages 8–12 (although PC Mac suggests it is suitable for ages 10 and up[3]). The title, which is a part of the Carmen Sandiego franchise, was released by The Learning Company on June 1, 1999.[4] It can be played by up to 4 players, and runs on the Mohawk engine.[5]


The 1000 questions over 7 subjects[6] in the game were written and developed by teachers.[7] the game was first to give Carmen Sandiego players a multiplayer option.[8] The title reviews curriculum for fourth- through sixth-graders.[9]

There was a promotion where if players picked up their copy from CompUSA8, they would be entered into a draw with the chance to win Carmen Sandiego prizes.[10] There was also a competition called "2000 TECHNOLOGY & LEARNING Teacher of the Year Awards program", with Learning Company as one of the sponsors and offering copies of the game as prizes for state winners.[11]


Carmen Sandiego and her six Master Thieves (Gnash, Madame Le Zaarde, Snarla Swing, Dr. Depth, Count Hypno, and Jane Reaction) have sent KnowBots (SynicBot, HALieBot, Pure-EBot, BruiserBot, DimBot, and Touchy-FezlyBot) to steal the world of its data and information from various texts. In response Acme Agent Chase Devineaux recruits additional agents to counter this worldwide threat. Carmen Sandiego, eager for a challenge awaits the agents.

There is no actual end to the game, as after the defeat and capture of Carmen's minions, the game will just restart with them free as if the previous events never happened.


The object of the game is to get past Carmen's KnowBots and correctly answer questions to capture Carmen's Master Thieves. At the beginning of each mission, Chase Devineaux, the ACME Detective Agency's top agent will describes the suspect and the vital stolen knowledge. There are three difficulty levels, that cater for three age groups respectively and start players with a certain number of Energy Points. KnowBots will try to stop the ACME agent from disabling them (or delay the destruction and automatic surrender of 1/2 of the code that reveals the suspect's location) by challenging them to several Jeopardy!- like rounds of questions in the subject areas of History, Geography, Math, Crime Scene (which is similar to a memory game), English, Life Science, Physical Science, or Art and Music. If the player(s) answer correctly, they gain a certain number of Knowledge Points dependent on the type of question being asked (For example, Multipick questions are worth 950 Knowledge Points and Rapid Fire Sort questions are worth 200 Knowledge Points apiece). If they get a question incorrect, they lose one point of Capture Energy, which is essential to the capture of the Master Thief.[12] Once at the Master Thief's hideout, the player needs to solve a unique puzzle to enter.

The game also offers a multiplayer option in which the player can play with friends. There are two types of multiplayer: The players can play cooperatively or competitively. If the player choose to play cooperatively, they will work in teams and score the same number of points if one player answers a question correctly. Whereas in competition, it is vice versa. The player with the most capture energy will have the opportunity to capture the thief, but if there is a tie in capture energy, the player with the most Knowledge Points will have the opportunity to capture the thief. Players also have the option to create their own questions as they wish and up to 50 questions using Multipick, YinYang (True/False), Sequencer, Matchmaker, and Gridlock (Finding all the answers in a graph).

Players outwit the KnowBots in a game-show type competition.[13]

Educational goals[edit]

ThinkQuick is used to "test...students' ability to recall information previously taught". Players receive points for correct answers. Original content can be created for the game via the custom content creator (and for example inputted by teachers for school quizzes).[14] Information is provided to players in a quiz show format.[15] The multisubject[16] game includes questions about: math, language arts, science, history, geography, and music.[17][18] The game is presented through both competitive and cooperative play modes.[19] It allows up to four players to play at once.[20]

Critical reception[edit]

In a review of a package entitled Adventure Workshop: 4th-6th Grade which featured the games The ClueFinders Reading Adventures Ages 9-12, Carmen Sandiego's ThinkQuick Challenge, and Super Solvers Mission: T.H.I.N.K., Hilary Williams of AllGame said that it is "one of those rare compilations where all of the included titles are superb", adding that ThinkQuick was "another great [Carmen] game that will interest older kids due to its international espionage theme" and that the game "retains the educational value of previous titles in the series, without losing entertainment value".[21] Newsday commented "[the game is] great, because four kids can play it together on the computer, and it has more than 1,000 questions in seven subject areas, so you are never bored".[22] SuperKids praised the "superb graphics", "intricate storyline", and gameplay that would "amaze and delight" Carmen Sandiego fans, though it may prove tiresome for those who had become tired of the quiz-based gaming genre.[23] Infotech said it was a gaming title of interest.[24] ThinkQuick was selected as one of the games offered for this project where games were donated to the Harmony Public Library for students' learning.[25] Teacher Librarian deemed it "another Carmen Sandiego hit"[26] and a "CD-ROM title of interest".[27] The Daily Herald wrote that the "high-qualify, easy-to-use" title "shows why [the Carmen Sandiego] franchise has been so successful", praising the gameplay mechanic whereby players are alternating between competing in a trivia contest and cooperatively catching Carmen's crooks.[28] Poughkeepsie Journal thought the game bore similarities to the fast-paced quiz game You Don't Know Jack, and thought the kids who have grown weary of the saccharine "Good job" would "love the edgy attitude of a [KnowBot] challenger who snaps" quips like  "Enjoy your little victory, Blue. It won't last".[29] The Cincinnati Enquirer noted that this game saw a costume change from Carmen Sandiego's iconic red dress to a black catsuit.[30] The Straight Times thought the game was "exciting and challenging".[31]

In a negative analysis, Robin Ray of the Boston Herald commented that ThinkQuick was part of a growing trend of gaming franchises in which previous titles which "could wholeheartedly [be] recommend[ed]", "[were not] a complete waste of time", and "[were] near-perfect combination of fun and learning" contrasted greatly with the new releases which instead "cause...slow burn". She said "this is not Think Quick, this is Spit Quick".[32] Home Computer Buying Guide said the game had a weaker and less interesting theme than previous Carmen Sandiego titles.[33] Anne Sushko of The Book Report recommended the game as "well developed and of high interest", though noted that it was not compatible with Windows NT.[34] The Boston Herald gave the game a scathing review, writing that the game has lost the girl customer, that the questions are "random, narrow,[and] boring", and that "the Knowbots sneeringly insult you if you give an incorrect answer", concluding that whoever designed the game "should be asked to clear off his or her hard drive".[35]


  1. ^ "Carmen Sandiego's ThinkQuick Challenge: Description". WineHQ. Retrieved November 18, 2012.
  2. ^ "Iowa City Press-Citizen from Iowa City, Iowa on May 1, 2001 · Page 28". Retrieved 2017-04-18.
  3. ^ Kids' Software: Ages 10 and Up. PC Mag. December 14, 1999. Retrieved November 18, 2012.
  4. ^ "Carmen Sandiego's Think Quick Challenge - PC". G4TV. Retrieved November 18, 2012.
  5. ^ "Carmen Sandiego's ThinkQuick Challenge". ScummvmVM. Retrieved November 18, 2012.
  6. ^ "Software for primary schoold kids". 2001-07-01. Archived from the original on 2016-09-11. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  7. ^ "Carmen Sandiego's ThinkQuick Challenge". 1 November 2000. Archived from the original on 11 September 2016. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  8. ^ "Best Software". Teacher Librarian. 2000-06-01. Archived from the original on 2016-09-11.
  9. ^ "The Times from Shreveport, Louisiana on July 28, 2000 · Page 44". Retrieved 2017-04-18.
  10. ^ "Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on September 19, 1999 · Page 762". Retrieved 2017-04-18.
  11. ^ "2000 Teacher of the Year Semi-Finalist Winners Announced By Technology & Learning Magazine". Retrieved 2017-06-19.
  12. ^ "Carmen SanDiego's Think Quick Challenge". KidsClick. Retrieved November 18, 2012.
  13. ^
  14. ^ Karen S. Ivers and Melissa Pierson (2003). A Teacher's Guide to Using Technology in the Classroom. p. 83. ISBN 1591580749. Retrieved November 18, 2012.
  15. ^ Ivers, Karen S. (1 January 2003). A Teacher's Guide to Using Technology in the Classroom. Libraries Unlimited – via Internet Archive.
  16. ^ Sharp, Vicki F. (1 August 2001). Computer Education for Teachers. McGraw-Hill Education. ISBN 9780072508376 – via Google Books.
  17. ^ Wall, C. Edward (1 January 2001). "Media Review Digest". Pierian Press – via Google Books.
  18. ^ HighBeam
  19. ^ "The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on September 19, 1999 · Page 823". Retrieved 2017-04-18.
  20. ^ "The Cincinnati Enquirer from Cincinnati, Ohio on September 30, 1999 · Page 35". Retrieved 2017-04-18.
  21. ^ Williams, Hilary. "Adventure Workshop: 4th-6th Grade". AllGame. Retrieved November 18, 2012.
  22. ^ "Kidsday / STUFF KIDS BUY / t's Still Carmen Sandiego". Newsday. November 1, 1999. Retrieved November 18, 2012.
  23. ^ "Carmen Sandiego's ThinkQuick Challenge". SuperKids. Retrieved November 18, 2012.
  24. ^ "InfoTech at IASL/AASL 1999 part 2: Other aspects of information technology - ProQuest".
  25. ^ "Gates Foundation, Tami Hoag donations result in three new computers at Harmony library". March 10, 2010. Archived from the original on October 29, 2012. Retrieved November 18, 2012.
  26. ^ "Best Software". 1 June 2000. Archived from the original on 11 September 2016. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  27. ^ "InfoTech at IASL/AASL 1999 Part 2: Other Aspects of Information Technology". Teacher Librarian. 2000-06-01. Archived from the original on 2016-09-11.
  28. ^ "The Daily Herald from Chicago, Illinois on February 14, 2000 · Page 108". Retrieved 2017-04-18.
  29. ^ "Poughkeepsie Journal from Poughkeepsie, New York on September 28, 1999 · Page 3E". Retrieved 2017-04-18.
  30. ^ "The Cincinnati Enquirer from Cincinnati, Ohio on September 30, 1999 · Page 35". Retrieved 2017-04-18.
  31. ^ NING, PHUA JEAN (26 February 2003). "Knowledge is power": 42. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  32. ^ Ray, Robin (November 7, 1999). "KID TECH; ThinkQuick causes slow burn". Boston Herald. Retrieved November 18, 2012.
  33. ^ Heiderstadt, Donna (1 April 2000). Home Computer Buying Guide 2000. Consumer Reports Books. ISBN 9780890439319 – via Google Books.
  34. ^ "Carmen Sandiego's ThinkQuick Challenge". 2000-11-01. Archived from the original on 2016-09-11. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  35. ^ "ThinkQuick causes slow burn". 1999-11-07. Archived from the original on 2016-09-11. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)

External links[edit]