Who’s in North Dakota?
Doug Carlston was a lawyer, but in his spare time he created computer games. In 1980, he made Galactic Empire and Galactic Trading, and wanted to market his creations. He teamed up with his brother Gary, and the two created a software company called Broderbund Games. Within the first three years, they were making millions. In 1981, their sister Cathy joined the team, serving as vice president of educational market planning. Her involvement was instrumental in marketing the games to schools. In the following years, Broderbund developed a variety of educational products.
One of their best known was Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? The premise of the game was that you had to find and arrest various villains around the world, until ultimately you find Carmen Sandiego. It was designed to spur interest in geography. The game was released in 1985 and did very well, selling over 4 million products by 1997. It won awards for Outstanding Art Direction and Live and Tape Sound Mixing, and was nominated for many other honors.
On this date in 1989, Carmen Sandiego visited North Dakota as a new version was released called Where in North Dakota is Carmen Sandiego? It produced in cooperation with the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction as part of the state’s centennial celebration. Over five thousand copies were made for schools. It’s the only version of the game based on one state. The Minot School District’s director of technology, Craig Nansen, gets much of the credit. Nansen had noticed his students’ love of the Carmen Sandiego games, and he decided to create a version unique to North Dakota. After talking to North Dakota’s Department of Public Instruction, he secured $100,000 for the project and worked directly with Broderbund to make the game. Unfortunately, due to technology updates, the game designed for the Apple II became outdated and many copies were thrown away. But, if you’re good at searching the Internet, and you have Apple II simulation software, it is possible to find a playable version online.
Dakota Datebook written by Lucid Thomas