ChipWits logo from 1984 manual.
The player uses an iconic programming language to teach a virtual robot how to navigate various mazes of varying difficulty. The gameplay straddled the line between entertainment and programming education. ChipWits won numerous awards, including MACazine Best of '85, and MacUser's Editor's Choice 1985 Award as well as being named the The 8th Best Apple Game of All Time by Maclife. The game was developed in MacFORTH, and later ported to the Apple II and Commodore 64.
A review in Computer Gaming World praised the game, but felt the limited storage space (only sixteen designs, with no capacity to use backup disks) and somewhat error-prone method for copying robots to different slots were problematic.From 2006 to 2008, Mike Johnston and Doug Sharp worked on a new version of ChipWits, with playable betas available for download at ChipWits.com.
Computer Gaming World reviewed Robot Odyssey and Chipwits, preferring the former to the latter but stating that they were "incredibly vivid simulation experiences". It criticized Chipwits' inability to save more than 16 robots or copy a robot to a new save slot, and cautioned that it "may be too simple for people familiar with programming". The magazine added that the criticism was "more a cry fo a more complex Chipwits II game than condemnation of the current product".
In 2006, a complete rewrite of the original game for Windows was done by Klaus Breuer, and is available at his home page. His intention was to replicate the original as faithfully as possible, and release the source code. He also wanted to remove the limitations of saves, and other resources and make the game easier to customise and translate to other languages. It is almost complete, but poor health caused him to give up the task.
- Williams, Gregg (Apr-May 1985), "Robot Simulations: Tinkerer's Playground", Computer Gaming World: 22–23
- Williams, Gregg (April-May 1985). "Robot Simulations / Tinkerer's Playgrounds". Computer Gaming World. p. 22.