Chip's Challenge

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Chip's Challenge
Screenshot of the Windows version
Screenshot of the Windows version
Developer(s) Epyx
Designer(s) Chuck Sommerville
Platform(s) Windows, MS-DOS, Atari Lynx, Atari ST, Amiga, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC
Release date(s) 1989 (Lynx)
Genre(s) Puzzle
Mode(s) Single-player

Chip's Challenge is a top-down tile-based puzzle video game created in 1989 by Chuck Sommerville originally for the hand-held Atari Lynx. Chip's Challenge was then later ported to multiple formats including the Amiga, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum,[1] DOS, and Windows, included in the Microsoft Entertainment Pack and Best of Microsoft Entertainment Pack (the last of which was written by Tony Krueger in 1991). Microsoft licensed Chip's Challenge from Epyx to write a DOS and Windows version of the game; while porting the game, the logic was slightly changed from the original version. The Microsoft Windows version is 16-bit so running it natively on 64-bit modern versions of Windows is not possible without using a virtual machine. It has also been converted to the TI-84+ calculator and the TI-89 Titanium.[2]

The original game was designed and coded by Chuck Sommerville, who also made about a third of the levels.[3] Most of the conversions from the Atari Lynx original to other formats were carried out by Images Software in the UK.

The sequel to the game, Chip's Challenge 2, was released on Steam on May 28, 2015.[4]


The premise of the game is that high-school nerd Chip McCallahan has met Melinda The Mental Marvel in the school science laboratory and must navigate through Melinda's "Clubhouse" (a series of increasingly difficult puzzles) in order to prove himself and gain membership to the very exclusive Bit Buster Club.

Chip's Challenge consists of a series of 148 two-dimensional levels (149 in Microsoft's version) which feature the player character, Nerdy Chip McCallahan,[5] often called just Chip, and various game elements such as computer chips, buttons, locked doors, water and lethal monsters. Gameplay involves using arrow keys, directional pad or mouse to move Chip about each of the levels in turn, collecting enough chips to open the chip socket at the end of each level, get to the exit, and move on to the next level.

While the same set of rules applies to each level, there are many different kinds of levels. Some are action-oriented and some are puzzle-oriented. Most levels have a time limit. Types of levels include solving a block-pushing puzzle to clear a path, dodging enemies, and moving through a maze. Levels can be skipped by entering an appropriate four-letter non-case-sensitive password. For the PC versions, game progress is automatically saved. If one is having a lot of trouble with a level, the game allows the player to skip to the next level. Progress is measured in terms of completed levels and player score, which is a sum of the scores obtained on each level. Level scores for timed levels can be improved by quickly completing the level, and scores on all levels can be improved by using fewer attempts to complete the level.


Sommerville created a sequel, Chip's Challenge 2[6] (CC2) which included new elements and levels in addition to the original ones.[7][8] Sommerville completed development in 1992 but was unable to release it as the trademark had been sold to someone else, who demanded that Sommerville fund the publishing himself. Sommerville resumed negotiations in 2010 and, after five years, was finally able to release Chip's Challenge 2 via Steam on May 28, 2015, alongside a Steam release of the original game and a level editor.[9]

Sommerville is also involved in a new puzzle game called Chuck's Challenge.[10] Sommerville's company Niffler developed two other follow-ups to the game: Chuck's Challenge[11] (2012) which is available for iOS systems from the iTunes Store,[12] and Chuck's Challenge 3D (2014) which is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux on Steam;[13] and for Android on Google Play.[14][15] Chuck's Challenge 3D was a launch title for the Nvidia Shield.[16]

Community level packs[edit]

The online Chip's Challenge community has collaborated to create level packs which contain new levels for the game through a process of submissions and voting. They can be played with the original Chip's Challenge program or with an emulator such as Tile World.

  • Chip's Challenge Level Pack 1 (CCLP1) - the third level pack to be created by the community, considered a prequel to CCLP2 and CCLP3, released on March 28, 2014;[17] voting took place at "CC Zone: The Next Level"[18]
  • Chip's Challenge Level Pack 2 (CCLP2) - the first level pack to be created by the community, released on February 9, 2002;[19] voting took place at "The Chip's Challenge Corridor"[20]
  • Chip's Challenge Level Pack 3 (CCLP3) - the second level pack to be created by the community, released on December 24, 2010;[21] voting took place at "pieguy"'s Chip's Challenge website[22]

Tile World[edit]

Screenshot of Tile World emulating the first level

Tile World is a game engine recreation of Chip's Challenge. It was written by Brian Raiter.[23] To avoid copyright infringement with Chip's Challenge, the game does not use the original graphics, sound, or music.[24] Tile World has two rule sets corresponding to two different implementations of Chip's Challenge: the Microsoft Windows implementation and the Atari Lynx version.[23]


Computer Gaming World called Chip's Challenge a casual game with "a set of addicting, puzzle solving levels ... a quick fix for testing the acceleration speed of one's brain".[25]
Eurogamer "a long overdue sequel to a puzzle classic, Chip's Challenge 2 has been well worth the wait".[26]


  1. ^ "Chip's Challenge". World of Spectrum. Retrieved 2014-06-21. 
  2. ^ "Chip's Challenge for TI-83+". 2011-10-05. Retrieved 2014-06-21. 
  3. ^ "Message from Chuck Sommerville on Richard Field's Chip's Challenge Page". Retrieved 2007-04-19. 
  4. ^ Chips Challenge 2 - Steam
  5. ^ "AGH Lynx Review - Chip's Challenge". AGH. Retrieved 6 May 2012. 
  6. ^ "Chip's Challenge 2: about". Retrieved 2014-06-21. 
  7. ^ Chips Challenge 2 - YouTube
  8. ^ Chips Challenge 2 Editor - YouTube
  9. ^
  10. ^ Chuck Sommerville Interview - YouTube
  11. ^ "Chuck's Challenge - about". Retrieved 2014-06-21. 
  12. ^ "Chuck's Challenge on the App Store on iTunes". 2013-01-23. Retrieved 2014-06-21. 
  13. ^ "Chuck's Challenge 3D on Steam". Retrieved 2014-06-21. 
  14. ^ "Chuck's Challenge 3D - Android Apps on Google Play". 2013-12-15. Retrieved 2014-06-21. 
  15. ^ Davison, Pete. "Chuck's Challenge 3D PC Review: Just Like Chuck Used to Make". USGamer. Retrieved 8 March 2014. 
  16. ^ Dodge, Jordan. "5 Cutting-Edge Games That Will Rock NVIDIA SHIELD". Retrieved 8 March 2014. 
  17. ^ James Anderson. "Chip's Challenge Level Pack 1". Retrieved 6 May 2012. 
  18. ^ "CC Zone: The Next Level - The unofficial all-in-one Chip's Challenge/Tile World website!". Retrieved 2014-06-22. 
  19. ^ Richard Field (9 February 2012). "Chip's Challenge Level Pack 2". Retrieved 6 May 2012. 
  20. ^ "The Chip’s Challenge Corridor - Home". Retrieved 2014-06-22. 
  21. ^ Mike Lask (18 February 2011). "Chip's Challenge Level Pack 3". Retrieved 6 May 2012. 
  22. ^ "chip's challenge". Retrieved 2014-06-22. 
  23. ^ a b Christopher Elsby. "Tile World". Microstupidity. Retrieved 6 May 2012. 
  24. ^ Brian Raiter. "Tile World". Retrieved 2007-07-16. 
  25. ^ "Welcome To Gaming Lite". Computer Gaming World. September 1992. p. 74. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  26. ^ "Chip's Challenge 2 review". Eurogamer. June 2015. 

External links[edit]