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The SwordQuest Saga

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the nice-prizes dept.

Games 47

Via Kotaku, an interview at AtariHQ with Michael Rideout, the winner of the Fireworld Contest. Fireworld was a portion of the four-part SwordQuest Contest, meant to publicize Atari's sequel to the classic title Adventure. From the article: "Q: Can you describe the Chalice for us? What's its composition, etc? A: It's around seven to eight inches tall. The cup part of it is platinum and is maybe three or four inches across the top. The base is made of gold and has little diamonds on it. It also has three jade rings, two around the middle and one around the base. It has rubies and pearls going around the middle of it. There are five sapphires and some citrines in the middle section, as well as five lapis lazuli stones near the base."

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fp (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12886171)

first post...

Torrent? (1)

wlan0 (871397) | more than 9 years ago | (#12886181)

So, where's the torrent?

Blech (2, Informative)

Pluvius (734915) | more than 9 years ago | (#12886207)

I thought this meant that Atari was making a sequel to Adventure now. Hey Slashdot editors, if you're not going to mention stuff like the fact that this contest happened in 1982 in the blurb, then why have a blurb?


Re:Blech (2, Insightful)

grub (11606) | more than 9 years ago | (#12886218)

If you were a subscriber you'd see the next story queued up is "Politics: JFK Shot in Deeley Plaza!"

Re:Blech (4, Funny)

Elm Tree (17570) | more than 9 years ago | (#12886565)

Oh my god! Someone shot JFK?!?!?

Re:Blech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12886866)

Such a smart kid... :(

Re:Blech (1)

smbarbour (893880) | more than 9 years ago | (#12889176)

Now we'll never get to the moon by the end of the decade!

Re:Blech (4, Funny)

arose (644256) | more than 9 years ago | (#12886254)
News for Dudes. Stuff that's rad.

Re:Blech (1)

ZosX (517789) | more than 9 years ago | (#12886987)

Dude, you are totally rad!

Re:Blech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12887324)

Anyone remember that bike movie called, 'Rad'? Man, I wish I could see that again.

Re:Blech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12887823)

Hell, not only is the contest from 82, but the "new interview" is from 1999.

Re:Blech (1)

DeadMeat (TM) (233768) | more than 9 years ago | (#12888585)

Well, as it turns out, they are [] (see the games list). They're also authorizing a second, third-party programmed sequel for the Atari 5200 [] .

But I agree, there's no reason for the lack of context in the blurb, since the Swordquest games are kinda esoteric to people who aren't into classic video games. They're pretty awful games, and the little prominence they have is almost entirely due to their comic-book/contest tie-ins, combined with the rarity of the third game in the series. And they aren't really sequels to Adventure -- the first game in the series was named Adventure II early in development, but quickly evolved (many would say devolved) into something else entirely.

Holy Awesomeness, Batman! (1)

Elyscape (882517) | more than 9 years ago | (#12886269)

Hot damn, those prizes were amazing. I wish that nowadays there were contests with prizes on that order of total awesomeness. It wouldn't matter if said contests were very rare; the fact that they still happened would be good enough for me.

Re:Holy Awesomeness, Batman! (1)

Alkaiser (114022) | more than 9 years ago | (#12892770)

Oh you mean, like a million dollars? Yeah, nobody EVER does that anymore. []

Re:Holy Awesomeness, Batman! (1)

Elyscape (882517) | more than 9 years ago | (#12894762)

Those prizes were far cooler than a million dollars. Perhaps not worth as much, but much more awesome.

Late breaking news...? (1)

SoCalEd (842421) | more than 9 years ago | (#12886323)

So how old is this article?

Let's see, the winner is "now" 39 and he was 22 when he got his first Atari 2600 in 1981.

If it's been 17 years since he got his first machine then this interview was given in 1998.

Yep, you know it's a slow news day when slashdot is running links to 7 year old interviews about 20+ year old video game contests.

Re:Late breaking news...? (1)

joshsisk (161347) | more than 9 years ago | (#12887051)

This is also a tip-off:

"Have you seen any of the newer systems (Playstation, Jaguar, Nintendo 64)?"

Re:Late breaking news...? (1)

SoCalEd (842421) | more than 9 years ago | (#12901253)

Hehe. I think I scanned over that section of the interview...

Re:Late breaking news...? (1)

dhakbar (783117) | more than 9 years ago | (#12887052)


Yeah, well some of us don't keep up with the latest news and actually appreciate the fact that Slashdot is usually behind other media outlets.

After RTFA (3, Interesting)

Pluvius (734915) | more than 9 years ago | (#12886360)

There's a neat example of the Prisoner's Dilemma near the bottom:

After a while, I got a letter from Atari stating that they wanted to cancel the contest. They offered Steven and myself $15,000 each to agree and they offered a smaller amount, maybe like $2,000 to each of the finalists for Waterworld. I think the reason Steven and I got more than everyone else was because as winners of the first two contests, we had a definite chance of winning the Sword. Everyone involved had to agree or else the contest would continue. I tried to call Steven and some of the other people from the contest to see what they were going to do but I couldn't get in touch with anyone. I talked it over with my father and decided to accept the offer, figuring that someone else would decline.

BTW, it's amusing to see that he won the contest by brute-forcing it.



Albert Pussyjuice (675113) | more than 9 years ago | (#12886406)

"BTW, it's amusing to see that he won the contest by brute-forcing it."
BTW: It's amusing that you're amusing but such faggot-like bullshit. You will never fuck a woman and you will die alone - unable to even find a boyfriend. Go eat some shit out of the toilet, you fucking asshole.


Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12886467)

That's O.K. and all, but I've been following your work and you seem to be on a bit of a plateau. I want to see if you can take it to the next level. Shock me, baby!

Re:After RTFA (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 9 years ago | (#12886624)

Is it still a Prisoner's Dilemma if he only gets a chance at a prize?

Those games were trippy (1)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 9 years ago | (#12886434)

You were supposed to decode clues in comics, and then play the game. I couldn't understand the game, but it had some fun minigames worth playing in them. I just remember thinking these games could be cool if they made sense.

Li'l John doesn't have a Slashdot account (1)

Dan Up Baby (878587) | more than 9 years ago | (#12886485)

So he asked me if he could borrow mine. "That cup is crunk. Yyyyeayuh!"

Arkenstone (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12886631)

There was an early IBM PC game called Arkenstone that I remember seeing in a Computerland around '82. It had a prize for finishing it, I believe it was $10000 or something like that. Haven't been able to find out _anything_ about it when I've looked in the last few years, not even confirmation it exists! Does anyone besides me remember this game?!

Re:Arkenstone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12887764)

No idea about Arkenstone, but there was a funnier tale involving the legendary (as in "legendary lack of quality") game collection Action 52 and contest to win $104000 [] . Which would only involve beating one of the games in collection. Too bad the game was awful, and so badly programmed that it was impossible to beat it =)

Re:Arkenstone (1)

HD Webdev (247266) | more than 9 years ago | (#12890918)

I thought it was an Apple II game but then again, that was 23 years of gaming ago. You should be able find information about it by searching the google USENET groups rather than a web search.

Hey... (3, Funny)

Elranzer (851411) | more than 9 years ago | (#12886787)

From the article:

JH: Mike, can you start with some background info on yourself so our readers can get to know a little more about you?

MR: Sure. I'm 39 years old. I'm not married. I'm a computer programmer for a company that writes software for real-estate companies. I enjoy reading fantasy and science-fiction, and watching videos, TV shows, and movies like Star Trek and Babylon 5.

No doubt, he's browsing Slashdot as we speak.

the games (1)

XO (250276) | more than 9 years ago | (#12887766)

i played all the games, and remember being really pissed (as pissed as a 6 or 7 year old gets) that the last one never came out... :(

Re:the games (1)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 9 years ago | (#12890639)

What I was really pissed about was I was only able to get the first one before the crash. And when I found the last two in a dollar bin later, both had had their comics stolen.

It wasn't till a few years ago that I found pdf's of the comics online somewhere.

How old is this article? (1)

tod_miller (792541) | more than 9 years ago | (#12887807)

Have you seen any of the newer systems (Playstation, Jaguar, Nintendo 64)?

I think someone needs to date this article - is it too much to add content date meta tags?


Re:How old is this article? (1)

digitalgiblet (530309) | more than 9 years ago | (#12888253)

"Have you seen any of the newer systems (Playstation, Jaguar, Nintendo 64)?
I think someone needs to date this article - is it too much to add content date meta tags?"

I thought you were joking! Then I RTFA, and lo! and behold! It really was there.

I played the first game in the series when it came out and it was bizarre. I remember thinking the comic was good, but the game was not.

I recently bought the Atari classics CD for the PC and it had these games on it. I tried playing them and was amazed that anyone could have played them all the way through...

It's kind of like playing an abstract painting... lots of symbols on screen that don't mean squat to you and action you just don't understand.

Ah, the "good old days".

Re:How old is this article? (1)

Gulthek (12570) | more than 9 years ago | (#12888625)

Yes, people who pine for the glorious days of simple gameplay and "when games were just fun" don't remember the simple days when graphics were an impediment to the gameplay.

I do have fun playing some of the old games with the Atari Collection for the XBox (especially the arcade version of Lunar Lander); but wow, those rose colored glasses really alter those old games until you play them again.

I still want to play Miner 2049er again though. And:
  • Caverns of Mars
  • Autoduel (or an updated GTA style autoduel!)
  • Mail Order Monsters
  • Ultima 4-6
  • Berserk
  • "the trippy game in the maze with the flashing clown that took your map and compass away and freaked me out and then exit to the maze sometimes had a lot of wind blowing out to keep you from going straight out"
  • Karateka
  • "the game where you had to stop the bugs inside the computer"
  • Beachhead, Beachhead II, and Raid of Moscow


Re:How old is this article? (1)

digitalgiblet (530309) | more than 9 years ago | (#12889977)

I've replayed some of those games in emulators and unfortunately most of them are best left to our rose-colored memories...

I can remember playing Karateka on the Apple IIs in high school. It was really exciting. The cut scenes were a new idea and the animation wickedly smooth (for the day). I loved punching the bird that attacked you.

There was another game we played that I can't remember the name of... Similar to the original Wolfenstein (2D...). Top down maze, little stick people. Kind of an Indiana Jones thing going on. You could use a machete, pistol, and dynamite at least, maybe a few other weapons. I remember alligators. Other than that it's all a blank.

On the older TRS/80s we played the heck out of a Hammurabi style game during lunch time.

You mentioned Mail Order Monsters and I think it was similar to one my favorites: Crush, Crumble and Chomp. Much goodness. Crush a building and grab the people as they run out, then eat them. Crazy control scheme. Each monster had totally different controls.

My all time favorite game was Sid Meier's Pirates. I bought it for the Commodore 64 and for DOS. I got the new version this past Christmas, but my antiquated system won't run it. Too many other expenses in the queue ahead of a new video card... maybe this Christmas...

Re:How old is this article? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12888464)

I think someone needs to date this article
This is slashdot. Any concept is dating is foreign to us.

Weird (1)

GypC (7592) | more than 9 years ago | (#12888832)

I was just thinking about those games the other day, for the first time in at least 15 years...

Interesting Idea, Bad Execution (2, Informative)

Tempest_2084 (605915) | more than 9 years ago | (#12889647)

The idea behind the SwordQuest games was unique, but the execution was terrible. Having to use a comic book to help solve puzzles was a brilliant as many gamers are also avid comic book fans (this was a bit truer in the 80's than it is now), and the comics themselves were fairly well written (typical 80's fantasy cheese, but entertaining nonetheless). Unfortunately where the SwordQuest series failed was in the games themselves. Each SwordQuest 'game' was really a series of mini games that all shared a common element theme (Earth, Fire, and Water). These mini-games were linked together by a series of rooms that shared a second 'hidden' spiritual theme (Zodiac, Kaballah, Chakara).

If you beat a mini-game you were rewarded with a choice of objects, these object were used to trigger clues that help the player discover the secret phrase which allowed you to enter the contest for the prizes. Clues were triggered by dropping certain combinations of objects in each room. You had to use the comic book to try and figure out which objects needed to be put in each room. However the comic book really only provided high level hints, most people had to figure out the correct combinations through trial and error.

Unfortunately the mini games were really hit and miss. Some were way too easy, while others were obscenely difficult. The only thing they really had in common was that none of them were any fun! Games are supposed to be enjoyable, having to wander from room to room only to be greeted by a tedious and difficult mini game isn't fun. I think the only reason the games sold at all were because of the contest, and once it was over most people never touched these carts again. The fact that the whole contest was eventually cancelled due to lack of interest from frustrated players (even after the third game's difficulty was toned down) and Atari losing oodles of money on it speaks volumes about the quality of the games...

Awhile back I wrote up some reviews of the games in the SwordQuest series (including the unreleased fourth game). d/earthworld.htm [] /fireworld.htm [] /waterworld.htm [] airworld.htm []

Re:Interesting Idea, Bad Execution (1)

Gigahurt (851377) | more than 9 years ago | (#12889775)

Using the comic book to play the game was the stupidest idea ever. I'm sure I wasn't the only kid that lost that damn comic. The game is unplayable without the comic.

This is nowhere near news... (1)

jcoleman (139158) | more than 9 years ago | (#12891043)

If the guy was 39 when the article was written...and he was 22 in 1981...let's see...17 years after 1981 was...1998...making this article SEVEN YEARS OLD. I believe this represents a new editorial low.


Re:This is nowhere near news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12892086)

Just because its 7 years old doesn't make it one bit less interesting. This is a major piece of video game arcana and those who are older and remember this period frequently find these types of articles interesting.

I remember these! Now THAT is a Chalice. (1)

RamonetB (821380) | more than 9 years ago | (#12891314)

Ahh yes, I remember these games! What a frustration it was to figure out the clues, or lack there of. I never had the comics as a kid and had no clue where to put the items, although I stumbled upon a few and had to resort to memorization (kind of like Fathom, remember that one?). Messing up the game was always easier. ;)

Still, the prizes were fantastic! And the games did feel timeless, as if you were in another realm altogether. And the prizes? They're something else! Don't see anything like that these days.

My friends still joke about finding the mythical Swordquest Sword. Definitely a better air than that truck of E.T. cartridges they dumped. :)

yes, but (1)

MORTAR_COMBAT! (589963) | more than 9 years ago | (#12891626)

is the game any good?

Re:yes, but (1)

RamonetB (821380) | more than 9 years ago | (#12901458)

Eh. The motiff is good. But the game itself is rather lacking. Unless you enjoy puzzle games that have little to no clues. I just liked collecting all the items.

The final prize (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12892952)

Not sure if that article mentions it but, the the soon-owner of Atari one Jack Tramiel (ousted founder of commodore, buyer of atari) actually has the final prize, the SWORDQUEST SWORD ITSELF (the one worth the most 50k at the time I believe)...

above his fireplace.

Re:The final prize (1)

Tempest_2084 (605915) | more than 9 years ago | (#12894566)

So the fate of the five prizes are:

Tailsman - Metled down (tiny sword from it still exists?)
Chalice - In a safety depository box
Crown - Unknown (most likely melted down)
Philosophers Stone - Unknown (most likely melted down)
Sword - In the possesion of Jack Tramiel
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