Play Atari’s SwordQuest and realize that it doesn’t live up to its ad’s graphics, much less its ridonkulous contest!
SwordQuest was an interesting blip on the 1980s Atari radar, back in the infancy of video games, when the industry was an untrammeled field of experimentation. The game’s angle? Actually it was four games — and prize-laden contests — in one, with one grand prize to be handed out at the end — supposedly. Gamers played EarthWorld and its successors (that one was called WaterWorld was an ill omen), and used them to unlock clues that were found in the DC comic books packaged with them. It was a novel experience, though the freshness was tempered by the blocky graphics of the day and the sometimes impenetrable web of mysteries and clues — think the Raiders of the Lost Ark game minus Indiana Jones. These things never lived up to their ads, but they had their finer points.
Unfortunately the video game industry crash happened (thanks, E.T.) and the last SwordQuest edition was never released, and the grand prize was never handed out. But the preposterous “major awards” for the first two (these were worthy contemporaries of the Christmas Story leg lamp) actually made their way to the hands of their lucky winners. They were utterly ridiculous and incredibly expensive, the sorts of things that people with no taste and far too much money would buy — i.e. Michael Jackson on a spree. The “Chalice of Light,” glimpsed in the above ad and in all its glory here, was like a pimp cup for nerds. (You can find more in-depth information about the whole game/contest thing at that link.) To keep with the earlier Indiana Jones allusion, it was a gaudy cousin of the fake Holy Grails at the end of The Last Crusade. And, seeing as it was made from gold and platinum and adorned with jewels, not to mention being valued at $25,000, it was/is a fine addition to any basement shelf.
Who ever said that playing video games never pays off?