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Chip's Challenge scoring

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Chip's Challenge keeps track of the player's score as they complete the levels. The score is usually calculated using the following formula (although some versions add their own complexities):

(levelnumber * 500) + (timeleft * 10) + bonusflags



Nearly all versions of Chip's Challenge include a message congratulating the player for completing the level. This message can be any of four depending on how many attempts it took Chip to complete the level:

  • Yowser! First Try! = 1
  • Go Bit Buster! = 2 or 3
  • Finished! Good Work! = 4 or 5
  • At last! You did it! = 6 or more

The time bonus is the number of seconds remaining on the clock, times 10. If the level is untimed, this score will always be 0. In the example above, Chip scored a time of 548 seconds, and scored 5,480 points.

The level bonus is the level number times 500. In some versions of Chip's Challenge, this score may be reduced depending on how many attempts it took the player to solve the level. The score is multiplied by .8 per death or restart, and the score is then rounded down at .5 or lower to the nearest point. Should this total decrease below 500, it will stop decreasing. In the Steam ruleset and in Tile World, the full level bonus will always be granted, regardless of how many attempts it took to solve the level. In the example above, Chip scored 9,000 points, and was therefore playing level 18 in this set.

When playing in Chip's Challenge 2, there is an additional value called extra bonus. This value consists of points obtained through bonus flags in the level.

The level score is the sum of the time bonus, the level bonus and, if applicable, the extra bonus.

The total score is the player's full score in the game at this point.

Version quirks[edit]

Atari Lynx[edit]

In the original Chip's Challenge for Atari Lynx, when a level is completed, the victory message and four scoring values are superimposed over the level, on the bottom half of the screen. However, the total score is not saved, and resets to 0 upon returning to the title screen or in the case of a power failure. As of 2021, no one is known to have ever completed Chip's Challenge 1 in a single setting within the Lynx's best-case 5 hours of battery life, so it's highly unlikely that anyone ever saw their total score over a complete playthrough of the game.


In Microsoft's version of Chip's Challenge, the time bonus value is a 16-bit signed integer. This means that if there are more than 3,276 seconds remaining on the clock when the level is finished (impossible except in a few custom levels), the time bonus value will roll over to a negative number.

When a level is completed, the score is displayed in a new window, as seen in the image above. The window's title is always "Level Complete!". The window itself then includes the victory message, time bonus, level bonus, level score, and total score. Below the total score is a place for a message that declares any score improvement. If there is no improvement, no message is shown. The shown message, stating "You have established a time record for this level!", will be shown whenever a level is completed for the first time. A time improvement will elicit the message "You beat the previous time record by X seconds!", and an improvement in the level bonus will elicit the message "You increased your score on this level by X points!" If both of these happen at the same time, the former message is shown. Finally, at the bottom of the window, is an Onward! button which takes the player to the next level.

Tile World[edit]

Tile World, unlike most ports of Chip's Challenge, does not use the four victory messages described above. Instead, Tile World 1 displays a generic Level complete message, regardless of how many attempts it took to complete it. In Tile World 2, the player can specify their own victory messages by editing a text file.

In Tile World 1, the four values are displayed to the right of the grid, under the inventory, where the hint text would usually be displayed; the player can move on to the next level by pressing enter. In Tile World 2, the score and, if applicable, improvement, are displayed in a new window similar to MSCC. At the bottom of the window are three buttons: Onward (which, like in MSCC, takes the player to the next level), Restart (which restarts the level) and Copy Score (which takes the player to the next level and copies the current level's score to the clipboard).

Steam + CC2[edit]

In the Steam ruleset and in Chip's Challenge 2, when a level is completed, the victory message and the score are overlaid over the bottom half of the grid, similar to the original Atari Lynx version. If the score is an improvement over the previous score, a new window first appears to congratulate the player, and display how many extra points were scored. This window can be dismissed by clicking the Ok button at the bottom.

ZX Spectrum[edit]

Scoring in the ZX Spectrum port of Chip's Challenge is extremely glitchy. For most levels, the level bonus value does not use the usual formula, instead using a seemingly random number which will be very confusing to attentive players.

Additional scoring methods[edit]

Aside from the regular scoring, two additional competitions are generally held: T-Chip times and tenths reduction.

The T-Chip times are simply scores that would be achieved if 999 were the time limit to an untimed level. Tile World automatically calculates this time as it would on any regular timed level. In the Steam ruleset and in CC2, T-Chip times are not calculated; all untimed levels therefore have a bold time of 0.

Tenths reduction is used to compare times that otherwise would have the same score, since normally the in-game clock only ticks down one second every five moves (allowing a faster solution to fail to beat a slower solution's score). The tenth (referring to tenths of a second) is the most basic unit of time in Chip's Challenge; normal moving uses two tenths per tile, or one fifth, sliding uses one tenth per tile, and boosting in a perpendicular direction uses one tenth every two tiles. Arising from this, many routes are done as quickly as possible, with the fewest tenths remaining. Official terminology for tenths is either .X or -.X, which signifies the amount of seconds left either until the next tick or since the previous one. The Public TWS always uses the -.X notation.

Notation conversion scale[edit]

  • .8 = -.0 = The clock ticked on either a voluntary move into the exit, or on the exact sliding move into the exit when Chip's last non-sliding move was voluntary (and not a spring step). Obviously, this is a frustrating occurrence, and a score ending in .8 will be frequently reported with annoyance. After scoring a .8 time, clock setting is already performed for the next level.
  • .7 = -.1 = 1.5 moves after the last tick, or 3.5 until the next.
  • .6 = -.2 = 2/3 moves.
  • .5 = -.3 = 2.5/2.5 moves.
  • .4 = -.4 = 3/2 moves.
  • .3 = -.5 = 3.5/1.5 moves.
  • .2 = -.6 = 4/1 moves.
  • .1 = -.7 = 4.5/.5 moves.
  • .0 = -.8 = 5 moves, or where the next half-move in the absence of -.9 cases would contain a tick. Since the Lynx Ruleset ticks the clock for one more turn upon entry into the exit, a .0 route played in Lynx will drop to the next second.
  • -.9 (no .X equivalent) = 5.5 moves after the last tick, but the time limit has not decremented. As technically the clock should have ticked at this point, Chip must have used either boosting or a special instance of a spring step. (Note that waiting [1/2] before making a voluntary move into the exit, such that a hypothetical next move would be a spring step, will not create a -.9 time and simply be .0/-.8.) The three specific causes, with examples, are: a force floor override (Flame Boy), a boost which places Chip directly into the exit (Shrinking, Bounce, Oorto Geld II), and Chip making a boost or a spring step onto a sliding space and continuing to slide until he reaches the exit, and the timer was at .0 one space from the exit (I Slide and Just Enough respectively). Because of the continuing clock software in MS, when Chip closes the exit window and moves to the next level, the timer will be down one second from its original setting.