History of ChipWits Part 1: The Title

posted in: Devlog, Nostalgia | 0

How the Heck Did Mike Johnston and I come up with ChipWits?

Hi, Doug Sharp here.

Mike Johnston and I designed ChipWits, coded it, and published it in 1984. I’m proud of the game and thrilled we’re rebooting it.

I’ll talk about the history of ChipWits in this series of Dev Log posts. Today I want to talk about how we came up with ChipWits’ name.

Yellow Design Pad

In early ’84, when Mike and I had just started thinking about a game to teach programming using graphics, I bought pad of yellow paper for design notes. The yellow notebook became our main design doc. Luckily, I’m a packrat and kept the pad for 39 years, so I can share it here. It’s a bit beat up, but it’s mostly legible.

When Mike and I first dove into the project we came up with a working title: That Robot Thing. We knew that name wasn’t going to sell games and we needed a better one.

Here’s a yellow pad page on which we brainstormed names. We came up with Chipheads, Wire Brains, Mr. Chiphead, and Servo(something.) None excited us.

Here’s the faded and stained page:

History of ChipWits on a yellow pad: original name ideas for ChipWits
Early name ideas

I was taking a long walk thinking about the game when the name ChipWits hit me. I knew immediately it was right. Mike agreed right away.

The name ChipWits is a big asset to the game. It’s short and memorable and means something. It’s got a friendly vibe, just like our bots do.


Now you know!

I’m going to write a lot of posts about ChipWits history and design and the reboot.
Thanks for playing ChipWits! Spread the word!

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