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The greatest games rarely played #1

chip-south Instead of doing a technology rant today, I’m going to present one of my favorite games to you: Chip’s Challenge. This fun, challenging, and extremely long puzzle game was originally developed by Chuck Sommerville in the late 1980’s, originally released on the Atari Lynx, but later ported to Windows and bundled as part of the Microsoft Entertainment Pack for Windows, or WEP.

chip00In Chip’s Challenge, you play as a guy named Chip who wants nothing more than to be let into Melinda the Mental Marvel’s Computer Club. She will let Chip become a member only if he can ascend 150 floors to the top of her clubhouse, which is a place I just couldn’t see anyone living in. This clubhouse has so many obstacles! There are fire traps, water traps, moving walkways, monsters that will eat your brains out, bouncing balls that will crush you, tanks, living blobs, and invisible walls, just to name a few. Chip doesn’t mind, though, and like Mario, Chip never quits. He’s always ready for an adventure!

chip01 The main object of many of the levels is to collect enough computer chips to advance through the socket (the object that looks like a filmstrip) and get to the goal (the blue swirly square). For the most part this is easier said than done. I’ve played Chip’s Challenge for over 10 years (though not continuously) and I’ve still never finished it. To make things even longer, a group of Chips fans has used the Chip’s Challenge Level Editor to make new stages, including a second level pack for the game.

While most of the levels are puzzle oriented, there are some that require no chips to be collected and are either a mad rush to get to the finish, or involve pushing blocks of dirt through narrow hallways to get them to a waterway, in which you must build a land bridge to cross a moat (level 18, for example.)

Chip has eight power-ups at his disposal, although he must find them first.

key-blue key-green key-red key-yellow The first four power-ups are simply keys that open doors in the level. Nothing too special, except one key: the green key. This key is the god of all keys. One green key can unlock a thousand green doors without breaking a sweat.

chip02 

Mario upgrades his power by eating poisonous mushrooms, dainty flowers, and maple leaves. Mega Man gets power-ups in the forms of various weapons that can be equipped. For Chip, however, power is all about the shoes you’re wearing.

shoes-fire Fire boots, which would be really nice in level 10, allow you to fall into a burnin’ ring of fire… and walk away safely.

shoes-flippersFlippers allow you to swim through the water, and without them Chip can’t even float. He’ll sink like a rock and drown himself in even a kiddie pool.

shoes-iceWalking on ice isn’t incredibly deadly to Chip, but without skates he finds it incredibly difficult to walk in any other direction than the way he stepped onto the ice.

shoes-suction Chip will have a lot easier time navigating his way through a maze of force floor tiles (they’re like ice, but you can sidestep off of them) if he gets suction-cup shoes.

chip03

To conclude, Chip’s Challenge is a wonderful and simple puzzle game. Some of you may already know about it and love it, but I’m guessing the majority of you haven’t. The music gets a little an
noying since there are only two midi files that run through every level, but a little-known fact is that if you have canyon.mid or a different midi file named canyon.mid in your \Windows\ directory, the game will include it as well as CHIP01 and CHIP02. You can replace the two CHIP midis with whatever you want too.

Where can you get Chip’s Challenge? You can buy it from Amazon as part of Microsoft’s “Best of Entertainment Pack,” (if you have $200 to burn) you can get a clone of the original game, you can even find it on the best mobile gaming system ever as a free ROM. The copyrighted Microsoft version I’ve featured in this post is available as well, and while I actually own the Windows Entertainment Pack, you can download it for free from my favorite old games site, right here.

Anyone else played this game and like it? If so, I’d like to hear from you in the comments!

Until next time, friends.

2 Comments

  1. Casey Taylor Casey Taylor February 9, 2010

    Is there an app for chips challenge, or similar? I’m young but I played it a lot when I was younger and no one ever knows what game I’m talking about when I try and describe it. I really want it again

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