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Swordquest Petition

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I can almost guarantee they were returned to the Franklin Mint and melted down to recover what money they could.

 

Ah, I'm sure that's what they want you to think...

 

I love this bit on Atari Protos about the game-play: "About as much fun as smashing your thumb over and over again with a hammer." :D

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Ah, I'm sure that's what they want you to think...

 

It has pretty much been confirmed that's what happened. It's also the only thing that makes sense. They were valuable assets and were returned when the contest folded. You think they just let people walk off with $50,000 prizes? They had paperwork up the wing-wang on these things. They also weren't going to just keep them around because they looked pretty. They were no longer needed for the contest and destroyed to recover any money they could. plain and simple. Construct whatever conspiracy theory you want, but nothing else fits with the known facts or makes sense.

 

I stand by my comment on the gameplay. Although I'll change 'Thumb' to 'Head' when discussing Fireworld.

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Nah, it's just for fun. I don't think Tramiel's Atari was capable of sustaining anything like a conspiracy for thirty days, much less thirty years.

 

"Head" indeed. FireWorld is the first game I bring up whenever E.T. is cited as the worst. You don't even have to go third-party to find worse examples. :)

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"Head" indeed. FireWorld is the first game I bring up whenever E.T. is cited as the worst. You don't even have to go third-party to find worse examples. :)

 

Seriously. Not only is it a 'non-game game' to begin with, but it's a poorly programmed and frustratingly difficult one at that. No redeeming features whatsoever (well maybe that 'door' transition between rooms, I always thought that was neat).

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Seriously. Not only is it a 'non-game game' to begin with, but it's a poorly programmed and frustratingly difficult one at that. No redeeming features whatsoever (well maybe that 'door' transition between rooms, I always thought that was neat).

 

True -- the door and walking animations are cool. Concerning the game-play itself, I've always likened it to a pen-and-paper elimination puzzle (which I don't need a video game for), with the illusion of variety being attempted via some poorly done rip-offs of old arcade paradigms. It's like a really bad Gorf.

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It would be nice if Atari age made the last sword quest either on 2600 or 5200 assuming it's homebrew and make some internal contest that would be great I'd definitely buy that game

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This thread has been an interesting read. I never owned the Swordquest games growing up but a friend of mine had both Earthworld and Fireworld. He understood enough about them to know you were supposed to look for clues and match them to the comic, and he managed to find a couple, but lost interest fairly quick. I only played the games when at his house and I kept getting the feeling that I was just missing something, like they would have been grand adventures if I could just figure them out. I guess I was wrong. Still, ever since then, "play through the Swordquest games" has always been on my 2600 to-do list, but I guess I really don't know what qualifies as "playing through"... finding all the clues I guess? I still want to. I was tempted to try without hints but after reading this maybe I'll just follow one of the walkthroughs.

I think I need to put that on my list for my next 2600 gaming session.

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This thread has been an interesting read. I never owned the Swordquest games growing up but a friend of mine had both Earthworld and Fireworld. He understood enough about them to know you were supposed to look for clues and match them to the comic, and he managed to find a couple, but lost interest fairly quick. I only played the games when at his house and I kept getting the feeling that I was just missing something, like they would have been grand adventures if I could just figure them out. I guess I was wrong. Still, ever since then, "play through the Swordquest games" has always been on my 2600 to-do list, but I guess I really don't know what qualifies as "playing through"... finding all the clues I guess? I still want to. I was tempted to try without hints but after reading this maybe I'll just follow one of the walkthroughs.

 

I think I need to put that on my list for my next 2600 gaming session.

I strongly recommend following the walk through. Your chances of hitting the Poweball lottery are better than guessing where to place the items in the correct rooms to trigger all of the clues. I was like your friend from all of those years ago but probably more stubborn. I was convinced that there had to be some kind of logical rhyme or reason as to how the items were placed in order to find the clues.

 

Atari could never be so cruel as to hype up the Swordquest series with a 4 part game that was tied to a awesome contest and then invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in solid gold/jeweled prizes only to produce a game that was nothing but a simple process of trial and error. That is what my 12 year old mind kept repeating back in 1983 while I lived in denial.

Edited by bigfriendly
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I only played the games when at his house and I kept getting the feeling that I was just missing something, like they would have been grand adventures if I could just figure them out. I guess I was wrong.

I had the same problem. My friend and I traded 2600 carts from time to time and eventually I ended up with Fireworld. I had never heard of the SQ series before, knew nothing of the contest, and of course had no access to the manual or comic book so I had no idea what I was doing. I would pop it in now and then, beat a few of the games and get a few items, but I had no idea what I was supposed to do with them. I always assumed it was some sort of adventure game and I'd need those items to get past certain obstacles but I could never figure it out. I was fairly disappointed when I learned the truth about the game years later.

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FireWorld is actually winnable once you know the pattern for finding the number clues--

four items in one room and one item in another room--

although it still takes a while to work through the possible combinations.

 

WaterWorld is the most playable of the three as far as finding the number clues, since you get hints throughout the game as you drop items in rooms.

 

EarthWorld is (IMHO) the least winnable SwordQuest game, since there seems to be no rhyme or reason to how you trigger the number clues as far as how many items need to be left in how many rooms.

Edited by SeaGtGruff

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Well, this weekend I finally played through Earthworld. I followed the walkthrough, but to make the experience a little more authentic I looked up each clue in the comic and wrote them down as I went. I knew this would make it take a little longer, but with the walkthrough I really didn't expect it to take that long. It took me over an hour! But I finally did it:

swordquest-earthworld-beaten.jpg

 

I'm glad to have experienced the full "game" for real, but looking at it now you can't help but see the missed opportunity. Wandering around a big labyrinth, finding magical items (some of which give your character abilities), occasionally facing tough challenge rooms, all while trying to solve a big overall puzzle? That sounds like the most awesome 2600 game ever! It could have been something like an early Legend of Zelda. But instead it's just an illogical scavenger hunt and trial-and-error guessing game with annoying challenges. Too bad they had the contest hanging over its head... had they actually tried to make a "video game" out of this it could have been great.

 

Still, I'll have to tackle Fireworld now, just to have done it. I owe my eight-year-old self that much. :) Never played Waterworld back in the day, but I may have to go through that one too (on the Harmony cart) just to complete the Swordquest trilogy.

 

 

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Most of the online walk-throughs for Fireworld are wrong. Someone made a mistake. And it's been copied over and over.

 

I seem to recall that you're right about that, but I can't remember where/what the mistake was. I may have posted about it in another thread a few years ago.

 

Also, note that the non-USA versions of the games are different than the USA versions.

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You know what's bizarre (at least to me) is that I found more clues on Earthworld than I did on Fireworld which is the supposed easier one bitd.

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FireWorld is not easier as far as I'm concerned.

 

Even if you have the right combination of items in rooms, you have to place the "single" item in it's room first or it doesn't produce a clue... plus EVERY room has an action sequence, which may produce more "gameplay" but also produces more headache in trying combinations.

 

Not to mention the clues mean nothing.

 

THAT is the saddest part about FireWorld... even though it introduced more "action" sequences and a tricky map to traverse which was MUCH more interesting than EarthWorld's map layout... the cartridge did nothing to help you win the contest.

Just read the comic, find the clues and decipher the cryptic message telling you what clues are correct and then hope you put the clue words in the right order.

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Not to mention the clues mean nothing.

 

THAT is the saddest part about FireWorld... even though it introduced more "action" sequences and a tricky map to traverse which was MUCH more interesting than EarthWorld's map layout... the cartridge did nothing to help you win the contest.

Just read the comic, find the clues and decipher the cryptic message telling you what clues are correct and then hope you put the clue words in the right order.

Yeah I always wondered what was up with that. Getting a message that says "01" or "08" doesn't help with anything. Were these placeholders that they forgot to fix before production or what? Someone should ask Tod Frye about that.

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Yeah I always wondered what was up with that. Getting a message that says "01" or "08" doesn't help with anything. Were these placeholders that they forgot to fix before production or what? Someone should ask Tod Frye about that.

 

I don't know if it's ever been confirmed by someone who worked on the game whether those were "place-holders" or not.

But they must be... they still don't mean anything 30+ years later. "I" assume that's what they are... but really? This wasn't during "The fall of Atari" circa WaterWorld... this was when Atari was still holding the SwordQuest contest, expecting Pac-Man and ET to have them knee-deep in blow, dropping 10K chips at the Blackjack table like they were pringles, etc... why let such a game be released unfinished?

 

*edit* Why? I ask.... oh yeah... ATARI

 

That should be a catch-phrase... when someone says something doesn't make sense, but is true... just say... ATARI

I love the VCS and many great games were put on it... however, it reminds me of my love for Marilyn Manson's work... Some great things were made, but overall... the brains behind it all apparently could barely tie shoelaces... and then in fit of frustration began shooting the feet... and just completely imploded into some form of "status symbol"... Marilyn Manson / Atari... both names have great power and recognition but are also powerless and disregarded at the same time...

Edited by Torr

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Well it's obvious the game wasn't playtested worth crap because there are so many bugs in the games including one where you die instantly before the game even starts (the knife catching one)

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I don't know if it's ever been confirmed by someone who worked on the game whether those were "place-holders" or not.

But they must be... they still don't mean anything 30+ years later. "I" assume that's what they are... but really? This wasn't during "The fall of Atari" circa WaterWorld... this was when Atari was still holding the SwordQuest contest, expecting Pac-Man and ET to have them knee-deep in blow, dropping 10K chips at the Blackjack table like they were pringles, etc... why let such a game be released unfinished?

 

*edit* Why? I ask.... oh yeah... ATARI

 

 

I agree with both of you. The layout and design of the whole Swordquest series has always baffled me. Fireworld came out like a year after Pacman was released. By that point Atari had to already be drowning in unwanted Pacman game cartridges. Could the wheels have already been coming off of the whole operation? Maybe Fry just didn't care???

Edited by bigfriendly

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I imagine it can be explained by the same explanation that's given for so many other unexplainable muck ups:

 

"It seemed like a really good idea at the time!"

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Airworld homebrew was on 5200 a few years back, if I remember right.

I don't think that got very far though. Someone should make another attempt but on the 2600. It never made sense to do it on the 5200.

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At least should have Atari age or anyone interested in making a homebrew games of airworld and make some sort of contest, nothing like back then of course, I'm pretty sure any Atari fan would definitely pick this up, I would just my opinion on the matter

Edited by correagonzalez

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