Screw This Game: Swordquest Earthworld

In 1982, Atari set out to create a phenomenon for the Atari 2600 -- a series of four puzzle-laden adventure games that served as gateways to a nationwide contest. When gamers solved each game in the Swordquest series, based on one of the classic Greek elements, they sent the solution into Atari in hopes of competing for fantasy-themed treasures like a chalice or talisman. Each prize was crusted with jewels and worth thousands of dollars. The winner of each of the four contests would go on to a championship round where the ultimate prize was a $50,000 (in 1982 money, mind you) Sword of Ultimate Sorcery.

Sounds pretty spectacular, right? And it was. Too spectacular, in fact.

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