HOW IT STARTED. The quest began simply enough. An intrepid band of Chip's Challenge players had formed a little group who's hub of operations was the msn Chip's Challenge bbs. We shared tips and tricks, and we helped each other to conquer each level in it's turn. Then, one sad day, we realized that there were no more levels to solve.
For a period of time, the bbs was filled with moanings and groanings about microsoft's foot dragging in failing to provide a Chip's II. Lackadaisical suggestions for replacement games were offered, taken, played through and abandoned. No game seemed able to replace the fun we'd had matching wits with Chip's Challenge. A spirit of ennui pervaded the once lively bbs, and postings dropped to mere shadows of their former selves, in both quality and quantity.
Then, one fine day, (or perhaps in the wee hours of one dark night) a poster shared a secret. She'd been replaying levels to see just how high she could get her scores. She posted her times for the first five levels. That seminal post started one of the longest running threads the Chip's bbs has ever seen, and the thread continues to this day. Soon the bandwidth was consumed with posts of other bbs readers, sharing their high scores. With every high time breakthrough, it was as if a new level had been added, because the puzzle was back. How did they get that great time?
More tips were exchanged, this time on how to beat the clock. Slowly, the game began to reveal never suspected secrets. The daring Chipsters learned how to slide the wrong way over force floors, slip in between bouncing balls, and snatch chips from under the noses of teeth monsters. They found that many levels could be solved in a variety of ways. The scores grew and grew.
Maybelle is credited with asking the now famous question: Is 6 million possible? The Charter Chipsters never looked back.
CAN IT BE DONE? There are varying opinions as to whether or not a score of 6,000,000 is achievable. Richard Field, who also hosts another fine Chip's Challenge web site (see the link on the Other Fan(atic)s page), doesn't believe it's possible, and he's got some pretty convincing math to back that up.
Much as we enjoy visiting Richard's page and sharing Chip's lore with him, the Charter Chipsters blithely choose to ignore anything so depressing as logic and facts. We've got our own math. It goes something like this:
Of the 6,000,000 points, 5,587,500 will be accumulated by obtaining the "first time" level bonus. This leaves 412,500 points (41,250 seconds) to be accumulated from being quick on your keyboard and reducing the solving time. Of the 149 levels, 29 are untimed, leaving 120 levels where seconds (and therefore points) can be accumulated. The game allows for a total of 46,634 seconds among those 120 levels. This means that if a player can use 5,384 or fewer seconds to complete all the levels, a score of 6,000,000 is possible. To achieve that overall score, the average time for each level must be 45 seconds or less. While talking about the current high scores is always dangerous, because they are moving targets, at the time this is being written [ED.: 1998], we've already achieved scores of less than 45 seconds on 54 levels. In total, we still need to shave off 3,074 points, or an average of 25 seconds from each level. We're still trying, one second at a time.
Richard is right in calling this a daunting task; however, isn't that the point of a quest? If it were easy, anybody could do it.