Video Game: Chip's Challenge

The things a nerd will do for love...

"Their eyes met across the laboratory... the chemistry was instantaneous! But is Chip man enough to get into Melinda's club?"
— Magazine ad

Chip's Challenge is a game originally created by Chuck Sommerville of Epyx for the Atari Lynx but later ported to various computers bundled with the Best of Windows Entertainment Package. It involves the eponymous hero, Chip McCallahan, who has met Melinda The Mental Marvel in the school science laboratory and must navigate through Melinda's "Clubhouse" (a series of 149 increasingly difficult puzzles) in order to prove himself and gain membership to the very exclusive Bit Buster Club.

The gameplay involves Chip moving about a number of tile-based 2D levels involving things like cloning machines, ice and force floor puzzles, and various monsters, attempting to finish a level before the time limit runs out. A sequel has been produced, adding numerous gameplay elements, but due to legal issues has never been released.

Fans have created several Level Editors for the game, with which thousands of additional levels have been created. Some of the most well received of these were assembled into the Fan Sequels CCLP1, CCLP2 and CCLP3 (CCLP short for "Chip's Challenge Level Pack").

Since a true sequel to the game continues to languish in copyright limbo and Puzzle Studio, the first attempt to circumvent the copyright, died in Development Hell, a Spiritual Successor supervised by the creator of the original Chip's Challenge was released called Chuck's Challenge for iOS, which eventually received a 3D remake called Chuck's Challenge 3D also released for iOS in addition to PC, Mac and Android. The game is basically the same as Chip's Challenge with the addition of some new game elements and a new Excuse Plot.

Per The Wiki Rule, there is a wiki dedicated to the game as well as the fan-made packs.

Tropes used:

  • Anti-Frustration Features: If you fail a level enough times, Melinda offers to let you just skip to the next one.
  • Art Shift:
    • At the end of the game, post victory dance, a red-haired, glasses-wearing Chip appears on the shoulders of a crowd. He's no longer the simplified sprite he was throughout the game.
    • The Chip in the game's icon is the same as the one in the game, except with different coloring. This applies to the Windows version.
  • As Himself: The eponymous Chuck from Chuck's Challenge, referring to Chuck Sommerville, the original designer for Chip's Challenge.
  • Blatant Lies: Level 146, Cake Walk. The level is everything except that.
  • Block Puzzle: You will never want to see another block for the rest of your life.
  • Book Ends: In the first level, you learn to use keys of different colors to open doors. In the second, you learn to use blocks to remove water. These are the only two things you do in the final level.
  • Cartoon Bomb: Red ones rather than the usual black.
  • Collision Damage: Applies both to monsters and to sliding blocks.
  • Cutting the Knot:
    • Level 18, Castle Moat. The apparent solution is to push blocks into the moat to make a bridge across. Under one of the blocks is a powerup that lets you simply swim across.
    • Most levels have a Chip Socket blocking off the exit, which can only be cleared by collecting the required number of chips first. In Level 20, the designers forgot to put this in, so collecting chips is unnecessary, making the level much easier.
    • In level 53, "Traffic Cop", you're supposed to guide a series of Walkers to a door button that would leave Chip stranded if he were to trigger it himself. However, thanks to the way the area around said button is designed, you can just use two blocks to fill in the nearby water and hit the switch yourself, making an otherwise frustrating Luck-Based Mission laughably easy.
    • Thanks to a bug, it's possible to pass through one-way floors in the wrong direction if you are sliding on ice. This makes several puzzles trivial.
    • Thanks to another bug, some clone machines will fail to clone a monster in certain situations, and some monsters stuck in traps will stay in them even if the trap is released. This also makes several puzzles trivial.
  • Developer's Room: level 145, Thanks To.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Although only one monster (the teeth) actively chases Chip, all of them are extremely lethal, as are multiple types of floor.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The level Totally Unfair.
  • Excuse Plot: As is evident from the first paragraph of this page. Chuck's Challenge follows suit: Original Chip's Challenge creator Chuck Sommerville gets abducted by puzzle-loving alien Woop, who makes him create puzzles for Woop to solve. Chuck, being a puzzle enthusiast himself, happily obliges.
  • Fake Longevity: Some of the hardest levels are also the longest, due to the extremely long periods of block pushing. Examples include level 33 (On the Rocks), 134 (Pain) and 146 (Cake Walk).
  • Fan Sequel: CCLP1, CCLP2 and CCLP3.
  • Frictionless Ice: Even more than the Block Puzzles; level 136, Doublemaze, uses this to create two overlapping mazes...
  • Hailfire Peaks: Every level where the four major elements (water, fire, ice and magnetism/suction) are equitably present. These levels include level 3 (Lesson 3), level 15 (Elementary), level 40 (Floorgasborg), and level 48 (Mugger Square). A closer relative to the actual Hailfire Peaks is level 124, Fire Trap, whose puzzles and obstacles are entirely based on fire and ice. Level 75, Steam, is a maze made of fire and water.
  • Interchangeable Antimatter Keys: Locks vanish when opened, and so does the key - unless it's green.
  • The Maze: If it's not a Block Puzzle, it's probably this.
  • Kaizo Trap: In levels 46 and 66, the chip socket (which only open when all chips are collected), forks its route into three, only in one of which the exit is; in the other two, you'll fall into a trap that forces you to repeat the current level.
  • Marathon Level: On The Rocks, Cityblock, Pain, Writer's Block, Chipmine...and they're all nightmarish to play.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Level 34 is called Cypher, and in general, most level names are meaningful.
    • The Southpole level lampshades this in its hint.
  • Mercy Mode: Blow a level enough times and Melinda will reward your perseverance and let you skip it. You have to actually waste enough time on the level first, however.
  • Mind Screw: Level 111, Time Lapse. For one, the level has unlimited time; secondly, the level's mechanics don't seem to work coherently in the PC version. Are the bugs in the northwestern portion supposed to press a green switch that locks the entire inner area of the level (because they don't)? The reason for these weirdnesses is due to the gameplay differences from the Lynx version. In it, the green doors leading to the exit are toggled permanently after a while because the bugs do manage to reach the button that activates the switcheroo. One of the many porting errors gives you much more leeway.
  • Mooks Ate My Equipment: The Spy panel steals all your footwear when you walk over it. But not your keys, for some reason.
  • More Teeth than the Osmond Family: The aptly-named teeth monster, which happens to be the only one that actively chases Chip to eat him.
  • Nintendo Hard: The game is not easy in any way, first due to the many enemies that can easily kill Chip, and second because there are several puzzles that take a long time to solve. And the game is still easier than the Fan Sequels.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: Both for Chip when hitting a hazard or creature, and for the creatures themselves who are vulnerable to water and/or fire.
  • Secret Level: Levels 146 through 149, accessible only when you crack a code in level 34.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Level 73, Morton. It is named after singer and talk show host Morton Downey Jr., and your primary enemy is the teeth (an allusion to the talk show's logo).
    • Part of the narrative of CCLP1 involves Chip riding an elevator out of an underground facility controlled by a power-mad AI to find that the other side of the elevator is disguised as a simple metal shed in the middle of a huge wheat field. This is a reference to Portal 2. The game even lampshades it by mentioning that the scene rings a bell in Chip's mind.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: This game has quite a few ice levels, but the most infamous is Double Maze.
  • Spiritual Successor: Chuck's Challenge, in which an alien named Woop recruits original game designer Chuck Somerville to build Chip's Challenge-style puzzles aboard his spaceship.
  • Sturgeon's Law: In full effect with the user-generated levels in Chuck's Challenge, which tend to range from "OK" at best to "Who the hell thought this was a good idea?" at worst. In contrast, fanmade levels for Chip's Challenge tend to be very well done, with the very best being compiled regularly into "CCLPs".
  • Super Drowning Skills: that is, unless you have flippers.
  • Tank Goodness: The blue tanks, which can be operated through blue buttons. Their most prominent levels are level 72 (Reverse Alley) and level 103 (Memory).
  • The Eponymous Show
  • Timed Mission: Only 29 levels aren't timed in the entire game.
  • Time Keeps On Ticking: when reading the hints located on the question mark circle tiles. Although it doesn't really matter, since you can pause the game while you're reading them. (When the game is paused, the action window is covered, but the info window, where the hints show up, is not).
  • Training from Hell: Some of the block pushing levels. If you can beat then, all but the worst block puzzles will never slow you down again.
  • Trial-and-Error Gameplay: Multiple levels, including Cellblocked and Icedeath. Take the wrong path and either you're stuck or dead. Cellblocked even tells you at the beginning how to restart the level. Special, the true final level, dumps the player into a huge room full of blocks. Many of the blocks have fire underneath then, but one of them is covering the exit.
  • Unexplained Recovery: The only explanation for how Chip comes back after all those deaths is one sentence to this effect in the help file.
  • Unwinnable: Many levels become unwinnable if you make even the slightest misstep.
  • Victory Pose: At the end of the game Chip becomes gigantic and waves his arms up and down in a kind of victory dance.


Alternative Title(s):

Chips Challenge, Ptitlejqbgyfxy