Welcome to the ChipWits Reboot!

posted in: Featured | 23
ChipWits on a Commodore 64

ChipWits is a game for all ages about coding friendly robots with an icon-based language. It features competition, puzzles, engaging stories, and tinkering for fun.

I’m Mark Roth, and I’m here with Doug Sharp, the co-creator of the classic geek 1980s computer game, ChipWits. We’re thrilled to announce that we’re rebooting this game so that we can modernize it and bring it to a new generation of fans!

We’ve got big plans. The game has been reimplemented on the Unity platform and we’re aiming to release it on Steam later this year. The new version features all of the original eight missions as well as new open environments, challenging puzzles, online competitions and leaderboards and even a tutorial mode to teach you the game (no more paging through manuals). There are new OPs and ARGs, new items and environments, and fun missions that will engage pro coders and kids alike!

Our first mission is to meet you, the members of our community.

Please take the opportunity to introduce yourself in the comments. Which version of the 1980s computer game ChipWits have you played? If none at all, how did you learn about the game? What are your suggestions for how we can best modernize the game and make it relevant to a new generation of fans?

We’re looking forward to hearing your stories and ideas!

23 Responses

  1. Mark Roth

    I’ll start. I was first introduced to ChipWits by my excellent 5th grade teacher and I blame the game, in part, for turning me into a passionate programmer. In between homework breaks I used to spend hours on my Commodore 64 creating robots and running tournaments to see which robot could claim the highest score. Testing, tweaking, and iterating on my robot designs, I was having too much fun to realize that ChipWits was helping me hone my critical thinking skills!

    I’m most looking forward to the community-driven features of ChipWits. In early play testing, the leaderboards have been very engaging, encouraging friendly competition to get the best score.

  2. Tim

    I can’t believe my luck. I check this page once per year looking for Chipwitz news (loved this game as a kid) just to see that you are working on it again! Amazing. Thank you. Looking forward to it.

    • Mark Roth

      We’re so glad you stopped by, Tim! Which version of ChipWits did you play? Any thoughts on what you’d like to see in the new version?

  3. Sid Eaton

    Glad to hear news about your renewed reboot effort! I am an ancient PC geek going back to the 4k TRS-80. I spent many hours with Chipwits on my original Mac. I have played with your earlier Chipwits II reboot using Adobe AIR.

    I have never found another game that teaches so much of basic programming fundamental concepts while enjoying a great game!

    Hopefully, you will build a large cadre of new enthusiasts and budding developers.

    • Mark Roth

      Thank you, Sid! Man, I remember the TRS-80 and doing rudimentary pictures using SET(x, y) and RESET(x, y). So much fun. That gives me an idea for an add-on item for ChipWit!

  4. ulee

    I’m glad you guys can work on the reboot of chipwits and I’m glad that it will be releasing soon on steam. and if your wondering about how i found it, i was doing a school project about video games and i looked at the Wikipedia list for coding video games and stumbled across chipwits, i kept reading and looked at the old website and i was hooked. also i know this is obvious but the UI looks so much better than the original, like i said before i cant wait. and thank you for making this hidden gem of a game for new audiences

    • Mark Roth

      Really neat that you found out about ChipWits via Wikipedia! Thanks for the compliments on the graphics. We’re working on even better graphics upgrades – stay tuned!

  5. Dave Colburn

    I spent many enjoyable hours chasing pie and coffee on my 128K Mac circa 1984 (I always figured the Twin Peaks TV Series writers were ChipWits aficionados). I’m glad to hear about the reboot and would thoroughly enjoy testing any early versions as you get to that point.

    • Doug Sharp

      Hi, Dave. Glad you are an OG CW player.
      As a Twin Peaks fan I’d love to hear why you thought its writers played CW. πŸ™‚
      If you are on our mailing list we may call on you to test.
      I hope our new ChipWits game surpasses your memories.

  6. Dave Colburn

    A couple of thoughts on game play:

    The beauty and simplicity (and some of the Escher-esque moves) of Monument Valley environments…

    An optional (switchable) camera angle from behind ChipWits’s glasses ala. Transport Fever 2 cab cameras…

    Lastly, a smooth and simple camera trucking ala Castle Crumble (just rotate around the center of the board…

    Debug window that lets you pause, continue, etc….

  7. Gary Coyne

    I gave ChipWits to my two nephews in 1985. One now works for Google; the other is an Organic Chemistry teacher. Both of them were fantastic at ChipWits. I know that CihpWits was part of their developmental process. I’ve let both of them know about the comeback, they both are excited about this.

  8. Gary Coyne

    Just a thought for a new “working environment.” The ChipWits bots were always free running. OK, that makes sense. However, recently I had a health issue and needed to use supplemental oxygen around the house. The cord I had was long enough for me to reach pretty much anywhere in our two-story house, but if I was to remain connected, I had to be mindful of the path I took. It meant that I often had to go into and out of a room and then around to another room. I could not just walk the simplest path.

    So, why not put an electrical cord on a ChipWit that limits their travel activities? Thus, one more burdon to work with? I had to deal with this; why not a ChipWit?

    • Doug Sharp

      Interesting idea. Take a look at my latest blog post about THINGs in ChipWits. We nearly added a SOCKET and a PLUG operator.
      We’ll keep your idea in mind for future releases.

  9. Paul S Wright

    I was a C64 player. I have the Adobe Air version. Biggest problem on the C64 was trying to differentiate between the program tiles. I lusted for higher resolution. I look for ward to any news of development.

    • Doug Sharp

      Thanks, Paul!
      It was a big challenge to squeeze the CW interface onto a C64 screen. We did a pretty good job but couldn’t change the resolution πŸ™‚
      Stay tuned and join our mailing list.

  10. Rick G

    Confirmed ChipWits lover and have waited way too long for the comeback. I used it back when the Mac first came out (I had the 38th Mac purchased at my university). I think it is an amazing and fun tool that surreptitiously teaches programming and stack architecture, even for young kids. I had fun creating small, efficient programs or larger smarter ones and trying them in different mazes. Please get this out soon.

    • Doug Sharp

      Heya, Rick!
      Thanks for the kind words about ChipWits.
      I couldn’t let CW die so assembled a great team to re-create the game and make it even better than the original. I look forward to hearing what you think of it.
      Sign up for our mailing list and we’ll invite you into the next round of playtesting.
      I know you’ll like the new ChipWits.

  11. Bill Britton

    I played the first version available on a 512k Mac. It was my future father-in-law’s Mac, so I eventually had to buy my own because he kept complaining that I was using his too much. In the early 90s I acquired a couple of other mid-80s Macs and would go to the local elementary school and guide some of the older TAG kids. I still have my old Mac, and I occasionally fire up a copy of the game. Waiting for my grandkids to get a little older so I can introduce them to it. ChipWits definitely got me started on my 30 plus year career as a programmer! πŸ˜€

    Other than modernizing the look and sound, some sort of clearinghouse to share ChipWits the way musicians share musical instrument patches and pedal board presets would be cool. Looking forward to an eventual release, and thank you!

    • Doug Sharp

      ChipWits made you a programmer, huh? (Sorry about that. πŸ™‚ ) I’m always happy when a CW player tells me that. Mark Roth, our lead programmer and designer, credits ChipWits for turning him into a coder.
      Creating a ChipWits community for sharing IBOL code is a priority for us, but will wait until after our first release. We plan to create a mission editor so players can build and share them.
      I bet your grandkids love the new ChipWits.
      If you join our mailing list we’ll invite you into the next round of playtesting.

  12. Jeff Irwin

    I can’t wait for this- I was pretty young when this came out so I don’t recall what I first played it on but it was some flavor or Mac. My father got it for me (us) and I remember having only the barest notion of any kind of logic structure- I basically just bound keypresses to various behaviors and ‘played’ the game. As an adult who dabbles in scripting and coding now I can’t wait to get a chance to revisit this gem from my childhood!

    • Doug Sharp -- Co-creator of ChipWits

      Very cool! Always glad to hear from an OG ChipWits fan.
      We are keeping true to the original ChipWits but making it a game for modern players. Lots of improvements.
      I hope you help us playtest the new ChipWits. I want to hear what you think of it.

  13. Mike

    Loved this game on my Commodore 64 growing up. I would occasionally search it out from year to year online when the thought came up and wow to my surprise when I found this reboot! Ty so much for revitalizing a fantastic learning game!

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