Carmen Sandiego: To Steal or Not to Steal?

to steal or not to steal ft image

Hey y’all, today we are going to be talking about “Carmen Sandiego: To Steal or Not to Steal?”. Remember when DVDs used to come with games or there were choose your own adventure games? Netflix has been coming out with things akin to that recently. They did one for “Black Mirror” but I’m not really in that fandom, so I haven’t played it. I am in this fandom though…so here we are. 

What I liked about this idea and Carmen Sandiego: To Steal or Not to Steal.

I’m going to call it a game because the player gets to decide the course of action for Carmen Sandiego. The animation is on-point with the rest of this show and the basic premise is plausible. I appreciate the diversity in the outfits Carmen wears and the overall storyline is awesome. The bonus scene is amazing and I have it saved to my liked videos playlist on YouTube (link here). The game itself is pretty well thought out. I liked that your choices did matter for some of it. For example, when you choose whether or not to save Tigress that *can* affect your gameplay but it also might not affect it at all. 

The drawback of choice games

There’s only one way this game falls short and it’s the general problem with many games like this. It’s what we call in the gaming industry the “illusion of choice”. Basically, it’s when you present the player with two options and only one of them is the “right” choice because the other one results in failure/game over. Another definition includes choices that you can make but doesn’t end up ultimately mattering.

For example…

In the game, you can choose between Le Chevre or El Topo and it doesn’t matter which one you choose to help you. It doesn’t affect the choices you have to make later down the road. I feel like with the lore of this game or the general premise of who this character is, she would be able to figure out a different way to do each caper even if something did go wrong. There are more examples of this in the game but I’ll be honest, it’s a very minor nitpick. The game itself is still very enjoyable. The only two characters I missed were Graham and Paper Star. (Mostly Graham he’s my favorite). 

Impact on industry

In 2015, Film Theory, hosted by Matthew Patrick (MatPat), predicted the future of movies would be heading towards a more interactive experience akin to a video game but not quite (link here). I feel like there’s great potential in this market. The games as they are right now may not be new concepts but I think it’s cool a company like Netflix–a company not known for game development–is able to make something new and interesting. Honestly, it’d be cool to see some of your other series get a game. To my knowledge, no other platform besides YouTube has something similar to this. However, YouTube doesn’t have the character/brand/show vault they can pull from like you can. Because it’s only on your platform, it adds value to your platform. In that regard, you have a one-up on some other streaming platforms.

Final Thoughts:

Thank you for reading my take on Carmen Sandiego: To Steal Or Not To Steal, I appreciate it. Netflix, keep making new and creative content that defies the limits of entertainment. You are doing a great job and have really solid work. Comment below what you thought about the game. Did you like it? Am I spot on or off my rocker? If you like my content, consider subscribing to my mailing list and if you want a review on something similar, click here.  

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