Atari 2600 Contests

Atari, Activision, Parker Brothers, Data Age, and perhaps others issued a number of contests as incentives for customers to purchase their games.  Some were simple sweepstakes, and some were actual contests of skill.  Perhaps the most famous was the ill-fated Swordquest contest, whose ultimate prize was a jewel encrusted sword.  Read on to find out what other goodies you missed in the 80's.

Activision Patches Activision created a number of cloth patches that could be won by achieving a certain score and sending in a photograph of the game screen.  See the Un-Official Activision Patch Gallery for complete details and pictures.
Activision Enduro Race for Riches Enduro Contest Activision's Enduro Race For Riches Sweepstakes contest.  Top prize was a Datsun 280ZX Pace Car and a trip for two to Caesars Palace.  Other prizes included a Datsun 200SX Hatchback SL, trips to Caesars Palace, radio controlled cars, Enduro cartridges, and Datsun racing posters.
Atari Swordquest: Earthworld Talisman Swordquest Talisman The Talisman was made of 18K solid gold, studded with 12 diamonds and the birthstones of the twelve zodiac signs.  Steven Bell won this contest and the Talisman, although he supposedly had it melted down for cash, except for the sword.
Atari Swordquest: Fireworld Chalice Swordquest Chalice This contest was won by Michael Rideout, and he still has the Chalice in a safe deposit box to this day.  It's made of platinum and gold, studded with 65 diamonds in addition to rubies, sapphires, pearls, citrines, and green jade.
Atari Swordquest: Waterworld Crown Swordquest Crown The Crown was made of gold, encrusted with diamonds, rubies, sapphires, green tourmalines and aquamarines.  Although the Waterworld contest did commence, the final was never held and the prize was never awarded.  While contestants of the other games saw this treasure in person, its existence and whereabouts today are unknown.  
Atari Swordquest: Airworld Swordquest Philosophers Stone The Philosopher's Stone was a large piece of white jade encased in an 18K gold box featuring emeralds, rubies, diamonds, and citrines.  The Airworld game was never even finished, so obviously this contest was never held.  While contestants of the other games saw this treasure in person, its existence and whereabouts today are unknown.  
Atari Swordquest: Grand Prize (picture not available) One winner was to be chosen from among the four individual game winners.  The prize was a jewel encrusted sword with an 18K gold handle and a silver blade, loaded with diamonds, emeralds, rubies, and sapphires.  While the other prizes were valued at $25,000, the sword was valued at $50,000.  Rumor has it that the sword hangs above the mantelpiece of Jack Tramiel, a former owner of Atari.
Data Age Bermuda Triangle Bermuda Triangle Score 100,000 points and Data Age will send you a free secret manuscript about the "Bermuda Triangle".  Score 500,000 points and they will send you a free replica artifact from the underwater city.  I don't know anything more than these vague descriptions, or if anyone ever actually got them.
Imagic Atlantis II game,  T-Shirt and Scuba Gear (picture not available) Score a certain amount of points, and you would win a special Alantis II cartridge (contest version of Atlantis), snorkeling gear, and a t-shirt.  Winners would compete for the highest score on Atlantis II for a trip to Bermuda.
Imagic Fathom Finders Fathom Finders Win $1000 by correctly answering how many tridents are hidden in the ad and on the back of a Fathom box, and having your entry card drawn.
Imagic Fight the Pharoah Sweepstakes Fight the Pharoah Simply send in an entry card, and you're eligible to win the grand prize of $3,000 worth of video game equipment, one of 100 Super Cobra games, or one of 2000 "I Fought the Pharoah" t-shirts.
Imagic Numb Thumb patches (picture not available) Similar to Activision patches, these could be won by achieving certain scores on various games.  I need more info on these.
Imagic Riddle of the Sphinx (picture not available) Solve the riddle and send in the answer to the game for a chance to win $1000.  Not only did you have to get it right, but you had to present it in a creative manner.  Charles Compton won by presenting his answer on a 12 foot long scroll written in authentic Egyptian hieroglyphics.
Imagic Solar Storm Survivor Solar Storm Survivor Score 5,000 points and win a free "Solar Storm Survivor" t-shirt from Imagic.  Times were getting tougher when Solar Storm was released, so Imagic was apparently cutting back on prizes.
Parker Brothers Death Star Battle Sweepstakes Death Star Battle Answer a few simple questions and send in your entry, and you could win.  Grand Prize was a Sony 50" projection TV, Sony Betamax with Star Wars movie, Atari 800 Computer with DSB game, Sony Video Camer, Star Wars Coin-Op game.  Interestingly enough, an Ewok Adventure game cartridge was the third prize, and you see the box pictured in the ad.  I wonder what the third prize winners actually received instead?
Parker Brothers G.I. Joe Hat G.I. Joe Cobra cap Reach the 16th level and win the black Cobra cap, plus get your name published in Electronic Games magazine.
Parker Brothers Super Cobra Jacket Super Cobra Send in your sweepstakes entry and you could win one of 100 Super Cobra flight jackets personalized with your name, or one of 1000's of other prizes like Super Cobra patches and Tutankham game cartridges.