Carmen Sandiego Is Getting Back to Its Gaming Roots With Netflix's Next Choose Your Own Adventure-Style Special

You’re in charge of Carmen’s next adventure.
You’re in charge of Carmen’s next adventure.
Image: Netflix
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Yes, we all loved the Carmen Sandiego show as kids, but the master thief’s true edutainment legacy lied in the computer video game series that kicked it all off in the first place. Now Netflix’s latest animated iteration of the heroine is leaning a little into that gamified history with a new special that puts you back in charge of Carmen’s actions.


Carmen Sandiego: To Steal or Not To Steal is a new special set in the continuity of Netflix’s animated reboot of the beloved adventure series, and sees Carmen forced into pairing up with her former sneaky tutors in the art of thievery at VILE Academy on a new string of heists. Why is Carmen working with her former frenemies? Because they’ve captured her friends Ivy and Zack, and are threatening to brainwash them into VILE’s latest operatives if she doesn’t team-up.

Thankfully, Carmen still has the Player on her side, and, err, you? To Steal or Not To Steal will see viewers get inside Carmen’s head, as she hashes out alternate escape routes or options in her adventures, and ultimately, let them choose her path for her as she tries to save her friends and herself in true Sandiego style.

How indepth To Steal or Not To Steal’s choose-your-own mechanics really are remains to be seen—we don’t even know if there’s going to be fail states, or what happens if you time out on a choice, or if there’s the potential for multiple, radically different endings.

Judging by the trailer, this isn’t going to be a Black Mirror: Bandersnatch level of mutability and player choice, which is fine, considering this is more aimed at kids and families (you also may note Netflix is definitely not attaching the Choose Your Own Adventure name to this one). It’s a cute way to harken back to Carmen’s video gaming roots while delivering a clever spin on this latest iteration of her, even if it’s not a full-on gaming experience for the Carmen Sandiego fans who remember her edutainment history from their own childhoods.

Carmen Sandiego: To Steal or Not to Steal hits Netflix on March 10.


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James is a News Editor at io9. He wants pictures. Pictures of Spider-Man!


Not a big fan of the new show (neither are my kids) but I’ll probably check this out. I had a really great time with Bandersnatch over a few days and something along those lines paired with Carmen Sandiego could be fun.