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Atari's Swordquest comic is the closeted gamer story I've been waiting for

July 03, 2017 1 min read

[Image by 8-Bit Central]

I picked up the first issue of Atari's Swordquestwithout knowing anything about it. I loved the Art of Atari book from last year, and knowing the comic came from the same publisher gave me enough confidence to go into this one blind. That was definitely the way to go. As a kid, I went into the Swordquest games the same way, which did a lot to add to their air of mystery and unpredictability. 

So I don't want to give too much away, but without spoiling it, I can tell you it does a better job at expressing the "coming out of the closet" theme than I ever would have expected. The protagonist is a 45-year-old man named Peter who grew up up playing Swordquest with his two best friends, Alvin and his twin sister Amy. As adults, they've drifted apart, but after a traumatic life-changing event, a prickly bag of old emotions brings them back together. Then they go on the hunt for the gold encrusted sword that was once an unclaimed prize in a national Swordquest tournament

There are a lot of things I love about the story so far. Smart and careful characterizations make for a cast that feels genuine and easy to relate to, aiding in the larger narrative's effort to create a believable space between cold reality and high fantasy. More than anything though, I'm impressed with how understated the expression of self-suppression is here.

Atari's Swordquest comic is the closeted gamer story I've been waiting for screenshot