Sans prize money
Swordquest is one of the more interesting pieces of video game history to come out of the Atari 2600 era. Atari had massive plans to make a multi-game franchise that spun an intense narrative design that far outclassed the limitations of its home console. Along with creating this new world came the chance for players to win $150,000 and a bunch of replica weapons from the individual games in the series.
Sadly, the video game crash of 1983 ruined Atari’s plans and the scheduled fourth game in the series, Airworld, never happened. Fans that were looking forward to the end of the competition have desperately searched for any kind of clues of the prizes or even game code, but that has basically yielded nothing.
It looks like Swordquest isn’t quite finished as Dynamite Entertainment is looking to sort of reboot the series in comic form. The new Swordquest comic is going to follow a fan playing the original games and looking to eventually win the contest that Atari had planned.
Here is a synopsis from Dynamite Entertainment:
Peter Case was a boy on a quest… the quest to win the prizes from Atari’s Swordquest challenge! He was counting down the days to the release of the final game, AirWorld, only to be shattered when the news surfaced that it would never be released. Now Peter is an adult… and things aren’t going well. The bad news is he has to move back in with his mother. The good news is she still has all of his old Atari stuff. With nothing else to look forward to, his obsession with Swordquest is reignited, in a more daring—and fantastic—way!
Some of the original artists for Swordquest, namely Dick Giordano and George Perez, have provided artwork for the cover art of the comics. It looks super neat and I hope this series can spark enough interest to get at least some kind of closure on what happened to the prizes Atari had lined up. Last I read, one of the executives had the sword locked in storage somewhere.