Submission #7577: ShesChardcore's A2600 SwordQuest: EarthWorld in 06:57.89

Atari 2600
(Submitted: SwordQuest - Earthworld)
BizHawk 2.8.0
Submitted by ShesChardcore on 7/6/2022 8:37 PM
Submission Comments
This submission is for the Atari 2600 game SwordQuest Earthworld which was the first part in a 3 (soon to be 4!) game series. Upon their release, a contest was announced with some pretty decent prizes to people who could decipher the codes and mail in to Atari proving their worth.
Overall the games are not very exciting but they are confusing and challenging. The 4th game in the series (Airworld) was never released but is actually going to see the light of day due to Atari's 50th anniversary collections including it.

Game objectives

  • Emulator used: Bizhawk 2.8
  • Aims for fastest time
  • Abuses luck manipulation


The main gist of this game is that there are 12 rooms, each named after a zodiac symbol. There are various items within these rooms, and the game tasks you to figure out how to unlock each of the 11 clues using the hints therein. When you uncover a clue, it is just a couple numbers. The game came with a comic book initially and that was the key to decoding the clues, like "37 5" could mean the 5th panel on page 37.
To unlock a clue, the correct items must be in the correct locations for the clue that you're on. You cannot unlock clues out of order, but you certainly can prepare future rooms ahead of time for efficiency purposes which I do a lot of in this TAS. Rooms can contain items used in different clues as well so depending on what you need and when you can stash stuff away for a while. You can hold up to 6 items at once, some of which have special powers themselves. Here are a few important ones.
  • Key: Lets you use the side exits to get to different rooms faster
  • Armor: Makes you invincible in the projectile rooms.
  • Lamp: Lets you see the Taurus projectiles
  • Talisman: Works like a key and lets you bypass some of the challenges
  • Amulet: The amulet sends you to a "random" room. But since we TASers know better, the amulet is used to save multiple minutes during the run since we can more or less pick where to go.
  • Necklace: Makes the amulet not work if you're holding both
8 of the rooms are basically just inventory screens but 4 of them have "challenge" screens where you have to overcome some obstacle to get to the items.
Leo: An alternating up and down waterfall that resets your position if you get hit.
Taurus and Sagittarius: side scrolling projectiles that you must travel upward to pass, getting hit resets you
Aquarius: A sort of Frogger clone where you have to hop to the top across variously changing (size, speed, length, etc) rafts or whatever they are.
Here is a chart copy pasted from GameFAQs which shows the correct room/item combo for each clue.
Clue 0
          none           none (go to Aries)
Clue 1
          dagger         Gemini
Clue 2
          hook           Cancer                    
           rope           Leo
Clue 3
          ring           Aquarius
           key            Scorpio
           necklace       Gemini
Clue 4
          short sword    Virgo
           hook           Libra
           food           Scorpio
Clue 5
          dagger         Taurus
           shoes          Aries
           water          Aries
Clue 6
           amulet         Gemini
           armor          Aquarius
           food           Taurus
           water          Pisces
Clue 7
           cloak          Capricorn
           lamp           Libra
           ring           Virgo
           sword          Leo
           talisman       Cancer
Clue 8
           armor          Aquarius
           lamp           Cancer
           necklace       Libra
           rope           Virgo
           shoes          Virgo
           talisman       Sagittarius
Clue 9
           amulet         Scorpio
           hook           Scorpio
           cloak          Aquarius
           key            Aries
           food           Virgo
           ring           Taurus
           sword          Gemini
Clue 10
           amulet         Cancer
           lamp           Cancer
           dagger         Taurus
           key            Taurus
           food           Scorpio
           rope           Scorpio
           necklace       Gemini
           water          Gemini
           cloak          Aries
           shoes          Aquarius
           armor          Libra
           ring           Libra
           hook           Libra
           sword          Capricorn
           talisman       Sagittarius
Overall it's not a bad game, it's just too cryptic for its own good. One major gripe is that the cursor stops working for upwards of seconds in some rooms. That's not me sitting there doing nothing, that's the game just not being a good game.
I ended time upon bringing the final sword out of the room but technically time could also end on the flashy final clue screen since you met all the requirements to win and nothing of note really happens when you grab that final sword. I'll let the judges decide that and we can adjust accordingly.

arkiandruski: Claiming for judging.
[users:arkiandruski]: Looks great, accepting for publication.
As for the ending, it does feel more satisfying ending on the final clue screen. If you'd like, I think we can recognize that as the actual ending of the game.

despoa: Processing...
Last Edited by despoa on 8/29/2022 10:25 PM
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