I have been trying to get Where in the USA is Carmen Sandiego working on my school’s computers for a while. I decided to go in deep over Christmas break.
Where in the USA is Carmen Sandiego (CSUSA from now on) comes in 3 main versions. 3.0, 3.5, and 4.0 School Edition. The major changes are in compatibility. 3.0 worked great on Windows 9x, but crashed a lot on XP (when it worked at all). 3.5 crashed less. 4.0 doesn’t even start on some computers, and crashes randomly on others unless you have compatibility mode enabled. However, 4.0 devs had the brainstorm that in the days of 500G hard drives, they might want to give people the option of installing the 700M of data to the hard drive instead of always running it off of the CD.
4.0 has another difference over prior versions. The videos in the 3.x versions of the game run using Quicktime 2. This is a huge security problem. It is also an annoying dependency. With 4.0, the game devs decided to swap out the Quicktime code with the RADTools Bink library. A smart move with one problem. When CSUSA plays a video on some systems, it crashes. I tracked down the crash to the binkw32 dll. Evidentially, when CSUSA plays a video it calls the YUV_blit_16bpp_mask function. This function has some problem when called on a system running certain video drivers, including but not limited to, the failsafe Windows VGA driver and the Intel 815 driver. The latter is used on over half of the systems I maintain. However, it is an older chipset for which a driver release has not been made since 2006.
I am currently waiting for a response from the developing company. If they give me a fix or workaround, I will be happy and will post it here. Otherwise I will contact the company we purchased CSUSA from, Intel, and Microsoft. Hopefully I will get a fix eventually.