SwordQuest FireWorld Contest Photos


In 1999, Clive Young found photos from the FireWorld contest in of all places, a thrift store in NY!  The photos appeared in the Jan/Feb 2000 issue (#58) of the “2600 Connection” newsletter.   In March 2005, John Hardie tracked down Clive to ask him about his discovery.  The following are Clive’s comments:

I found the pictures at Edlie's, which was an electronics junk shop on Hempstead Turnpike, right after the Wantagh Parkway intersection. It was in the shopping center there that has a used paperback store, a Party City and some other stuff. Edlie's went out of business maybe 2 or 3 years ago, but I bet you recall it. One day in what must have been early 1999, a co-worker of mine called me up out of the blue on the weekend and said that he'd heard Edlie's had gotten in a ton of Atari stuff. I went there maybe every 3 months and they rarely had anything, so I didn't really think it would be much but when I got there and met him, there was at least one other collector sifting through the very disorganized shelves, and we, too, started grabbing stuff. He found Gremlins before I did (which I'm still jealous of since I still don't have it), but I found the manual to Q*bert's Qubes (wish I'd found the game but someone else must have gotten it first).

Most of the games had white soot on them, which must have either been mold or (eek) asbestos, I think. Either way, the boxes were nasty with grunge. You didn't want to touch things unless you had to. I sorted through all the manuals, pulling the ones I needed, and surprisingly, they were pretty much in good shape--not a lot of wear and none of the white stuff or dampness. I found a little envelope crammed into the side of one shoebox of games--all commons--and pulled it out. When I opened it, I saw the backs of them and realized they were photos. I figured they might be someone's Christmas photos of getting the Atari, which would have been a lot of fun on its own. But instead they were the photos that you've seen.

I quickly submerged them into the middle of the manuals and bought the pile o' crap without letting on that there was something really unusual in there. I was glad the Edlie's guys didn't pick up the pile and sort because they were weird dudes, and could have easily A) taken the photos for themselves, B) taken them and thrown them away or C) charged me a lot more for them, just because I clearly wanted them. If you ever bought something from the place, then perhaps you experienced that vibe from them. I realized they must have been for one of the Swordquest contests but otherwise didn't know what I was looking at there. I was subscribing to 2600 Connection but had no interest in the online forums that I'd found, since they all seemed to be a mess of flame-wars whenever I checked them out. So eschewing going online to see what they were, I color-photocopied the photos and sent them into the 2600C.

When they ran the pix in the ‘zine, I found out what I'd found. My theory is that someone was a HUGE Atari fan, got to the finals, and that most anyone and everyone he knew probably gave him Atari stuff, hence the unusually good collection with lots of rarities. While one would suspect usually that a collection that big would be sold by a mom cleaning the basement, the fact that it ended up at Edlies probably means that the guy took it there himself years later and sold it off. He knew where to take it--a place where its value would be understood (though I'm sure he got low-balled; those guys were cheap so-and-sos).

That's about all I know about them. No addresses, no names, no writing on the backs of the photos. Whoever the person was is still a mystery to me.

For more information about Atari's SwordQuest contest, check out my SwordQuest Revisited article.

Here are Clive's SwordQuest FireWorld contest photos:




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