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Eric119

Chip's Challenge in 1991 catalog

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There is available online a reproduction of a 1991 catalog of games for the Atari Lynx. Chip's Challenge got two whole pages devoted to it:

https://atariage.com/catalog_page.php?SystemID=2600&CatalogID=71&currentPage=5

https://atariage.com/catalog_page.php?SystemID=2600&CatalogID=71&currentPage=6

(Despite the website's labeling, this is indeed a Lynx catalog, not 2600.)

The different names given to things are amusing.

Also of interest are the maps and tips given for three levels: BLOCK FACTORY, NIGHTMARE, and PLAYHOUSE. The map for BLOCK FACTORY is especially intriguing, because it is different from the one in the actual game as we received it. Specifically, the force floors paths extend right to the top, making it more difficult to collect the topmost chip. I was wondering if this was perhaps an earlier version of the level, but that would be odd as this catalog was released well after Chip's Challenge.

There are some more clues, however. The map for PLAYHOUSE is missing a wall at (21, 16), which looks very much like a mere error on the part of whoever created the map. There are also two balls missing. The maps for NIGHTMARE and PLAYHOUSE do not, in general, show the monsters in their actual starting positions, and that for BLOCK FACTORY shows several blocks at the end of the force floor slide. All this points to the conclusion that the maps were not automatically generated from the level data, but manually put together by someone playing the game. This was executed imperfectly, and the different BLOCK FACTORY layout is the most striking mistake.

The catalog also has a page describing a contest:

https://atariage.com/catalog_page.php?SystemID=2600&CatalogID=71&currentPage=27

Look at question 2. :)

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Very interesting, thanks for sharing. I wonder who assembled this catalog?

The alternate names of the monsters are pretty funny; my favorite is "Big Mouth". :teeth:

I don't believe the version of Block Factory seen in the map is an early version, because as you suggested, it was assembled by someone playing through the game and not generated from the level data. The clone machine at (0, 25) was also replaced with a wall, which would not make sense, as it would be bizarre for the level designer to not notice he'd forgotten the clone machine.

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This is incredibly interesting - thank you so much for sharing!

It's always so intriguing to read things like this from the early digital era, especially now that physical media is being eclipsed and a lot of the more recent, online-only stuff is therefore being lost over time. (Even if the Wayback Machine saves it, you still have to know it was there in the first place.)

Anything else like this out there? (Speaking of which, you also posted that exclusive NES level - how do you even find this stuff!?)

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