Swordquest was a series of games used for a contest made by Atari in order to promote a contest. It started in 1982 and was sadly cancelled in 1983.
In order to play, gamers had to first buy the cartridges, starting with Earthworld. After the Earthworld contest ended, it then started with Fireworld. Finishing that would have led to Waterworld and then Airworld. In order to enter the contests, gamers would have to find clues in comic books that came with the game and find words hidden in the panels. The main goal of the games were to put certain items in certain rooms. By doing this successfully, certain clues would appear on the screen. These clues lead to the panels in the comic books with the hidden words. After that, gamers would have to solve a riddle to put the words in the correct order to make a message to submit to Atari. Once the four contests were finished, the four gamers that played the contests and won would compete in one final challenge.
As stated, the first contest started with Earthworld, and the room structure of the game was centered on the Zodiak. Out of 5,000 entries, only eight gamers made it to the contest.
The next game in the series was Fireworld. The room structure of this game was based on the Tree of Life. This game was easier than Earthworld, because 50 gamers solved the riddle so Atari made the gamers write what they liked about the game.
The next game, Waterworld was where the contest was sadly canceled. Atari's finances were hit hard by the North American Video Game Crash of 1983, forcing them to cancel the project and release Waterworld in very limited quantities making it a very rare game. Thus, there was no winner. The room structure of Waterworld was based on the seven centers of chakra.
The final game of the series, Airworld, was never released but there is a rumor that two prototypes exist. Had it been made, the room structure would have been based on the I Ching.
The contest sported prizes each valued at $25,000 and the final prize valued at $50,000 totaling $150,000. Each prize was a key item in the Swordquest storylines.
The winner of Earthworld was Steven Bell, who obtained the Talisman of Ultimate Truth, a talisman made out of 18k solid gold, 12 diamonds, the 12 birthstones of the Zodiak, and a white gold sword in the middle. Steven ultimately melted the talisman down for scrap metal and sold the base of it to a coin dealer for $15,000. He kept the baubles and the sword in the center as a souvenir, but the sword was later stolen.
The winner of Fireworld was Michael Rideout and he got the Chalice of Light. The chalice was made with gold and platinum and adorned with citrines, diamonds, green jade, pearls, rubies, and sapphires. To this day, Michael Rideout still owns the Chalice of Light and keeps it in a safety deposit box.
Had the series continued, the winner of Waterworld would have gotten the Crown of Life. The crown was made of gold and encrusted with diamonds, aquamarines, rubies, sapphires, and green tourmalines.
The winner of Airworld would have won the Philosopher's Stone, a large piece of white jade in an 18k gold box encrusted with emeralds, rubies, and diamonds.
Once the four contests finished, the four contestants would compete to win the Sword of Ultimate Sorcery. The sword's blade was made of pure silver and the handle was made out of gold encrusted with diamonds, sapphires, and rubies.
The Remaining Prizes
Due to the cancellation of the contest and the Crash of 83, Atari was bought by Jack Tramiel. According to comments, people who had been to Tramiel's house claimed to having seen the sword in his living room. The rumors were revealed to be false however. The remaining treasures were actually on loan from The Franklin Mint, and when the contest was ended for good, they were re-acquired by the mint, melted, and remolded into new materials.