Chip’s Challenge 2 was finished more than 20 years ago. And yet, it didn’t come out until today. What the hell happened?
The original Chip’s Challenge was a puzzle game released in 1989 for Atari Lynx. It was then ported to the Amiga, C64, and the PC. Creator Chuck Sommerville spent two years plumbing the puzzle chambers of his mind for a sequel, but when he emerged he found that something terrible had happened: the Chip’s Challenge trademark had been sold, and the new trademark holder wanted him to fund the publishing. He couldn’t afford it, and the trademark holder wouldn’t budge. Sommerville had no choice but to drop the game and move on with his life.
“I generally thought the only way Chip’s Challenge 2 was ever going to see the light of day was by having my wife leak it on the internet on my death,” Sommerville said in a statement.
Sommerville eventually reemerged with the crowdfunded (and well-received) Chuck’s Challenge 3D, but Chip’s Challenge 2 remained a lonely relic, a complete game with no players.
Recently, however, Sommerville decided to have another go at releasing Chip’s Challenge 2, and that only took... five years. The negotiation process was apparently long and difficult, but finally—25 years after the original came out—Chip’s Challenge 2 is on Steam. I can’t help but wonder if it has anything to do with the relative ease of publishing on Steam, but that’s just knee-jerk speculation. I’m sure this story is a little more complicated than what we’re being presented with here, and I intend to do some digging on that front.
For now, though, it’s out. It exists. It is a piece of history that many had given up on ever playing, but here it is. By modern graphical standards, it looks positively ancient, but that—and some classic puzzle design—is kinda the appeal here. Give it a go. We live in crazy times.