Since 1988, each sitting US president has declared the month of March as Women’s History Month, honoring the achievements and advancements of women throughout history. At Destructoid, we love women, a fact quite evident by the vast array of female writers we have on staff, and I’m celebrating this awesome month by getting my fellow contributors to talk about the best women in gaming. Actually, the other writers will all be competing for second best, because there isn’t a female character better than Carmen Sandiego.
I was first introduced to The World’s Greatest Thief by way of an elementary school computer. Most of the other students played The Oregon Trail to see how quickly they could get their family to die of dysentery, but I was much more interested in hunting down Miss Sandiego.
The more games I played, the more fascinated I became by her. She stole simply for the thrill of it, something that blew my nine-year-old mind. She was cunning, using her henchmen in V.I.L.E. as pawns in a grand scheme that I had figure out. As the series went on, she became quite ruthless and downright evil. In Where In Time Is Carmen Sandiego? she traveled to the past to steal medicine, potentially resulting in the deaths of millions of people. Carmen Sandiego simply doesn’t give a fuck and it brought me great satisfaction every time I brought her to justice.
She was the first video game character to test the skills I had learned in the classroom: reading, researching, geography, and problem-solving. I was one of those nerds who loved going to school to learn instead of socializing, so to find a series gave me the opportunity to use my brain to succeed instead of my twitchy hand-eye coordination was momentous.
I’ve long outgrown the “edutainment” genre and have seen villains far more diabolical than her, but Carmen Sandiego remains the blueprint for bad-ass women in gaming.
An interesting read via destructoid