Chip Factory, by Supersoft, was first released for the Commodore 64 in 1984 and is a BurgerTime variant that at least tries to do something different with the concept of dropping objects down a series of platforms and ladders.
In this game you’re actually dropping computer chips down onto a PCB (Printed Circuit Board) on a conveyor belt at the bottom of the screen, while at the same time avoiding enemies that patrol the area. The conveyor moves randomly* on occasion, which means that you’ve got to line the PCB back up again, because dropping one chip down on top another will waste it and score fewer points. There’s a switch at the top of the screen that makes the conveyor move left and right when touched, so you must use that to line it up so that you can drop more chips down into blank areas on the PCB. *= It took me a while to notice that this ‘random’ movement is actually due to the enemy sprites touching the switch. Yes: those damn annoying creatures make your life so much more difficult by moving the conveyor when they walk by the switch!
Letters also appear in the middle of the screen, and if you pick them up in the right order – to spell the word “CHIP” – then you’re awarded with more anti-static sprays, which are used to stun enemies.
That said, it’s not very clear what you’re supposed to do initially. There is a demo mode, but all that does is show you how NOT to play the game (because the player jerks left and right as though it’s being controlled by a chimpanzee), and there are some “instructions” but they don’t really explain how to play the game either. So you’re initially left guessing what to do.
Chip Factory is a somewhat interesting take on the BurgerTime concept, but playing it is not really much fun overall. The enemy AI is schizophrenic at best and enemies change direction at a moment’s notice, sometimes right into your face. At least the enemies are not clever enough to home in on you directly, though, which does give you a chance. Overall, though, it becomes a bit of a slog having to adjust the conveyor belt, then drop the chips down, and manage to do that without wasting any.
The graphics are basic and the in-game music is extremely annoying because it blurps out the same bass note over and over again and is tuneless and repetitive, but thankfully it can be turned off by pressing F3.
Although Chip Factory isn’t a particularly good game it scores points for originality, but loses points for highly frustrating gameplay. It has been re-released a number of times because different versions exist with changed copyright dates, so publisher Supersoft obviously tried to milk it as much it as possible.
More: Chip Factory on Moby Games
More: Chip Factory on CSDb