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Critic Score User Score
Apple II
Atari 5200
Atari 7800
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In Joust, players take control of a knight with a lance who rides their flying ostrich (or stork, for Player 2) to do battle against computer-controlled evil knights who ride atop vultures.

Players must flap their steed's wings to hit the enemy from a higher jousting point to destroy the vulture and its rider. Once the enemy has been hit, an egg falls to one of the platforms below. The heroic knights must destroy the eggs before they hatch and release new and increasingly more difficult knights. The three strengths of enemy knights are Bounder (red knight), Hunter (white knight), and Shadow Lord (blue knight). These enemy knights are not the only challenge to be found in the game. Players must also contend with crumbling platforms, lava trolls who attempt to pull knights into the fire, and the dreaded "unbeatable"(?) pterodactyl.

The game was novel for its time for being one of the few two-player simultaneous games in the arcade.


Joust Xbox 360 Title and main menu
Joust Atari 8-bit Title Screen
Joust Atari 5200 Atari logo and title
Joust Atari 5200 Beginning a game

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

A classic. PC Booter Tomer Gabel (4353)
Thou shalt kill those buzzards NES *Katakis* (37909)
Another bullseye for the Lynx porting legacy. Lynx Trixter (8711)

Critic Reviews

The Video Game Critic Atari 7800 Mar 13, 2001 A 100
The Video Game Critic Atari 2600 Apr 19, 2000 A 100
Génération 4 Atari ST 1987 80 out of 100 80
Computer and Video Games (CVG) Atari ST Sep, 1988 8 out of 10 80
TalkXbox Xbox 360 Jan 16, 2006 76 out of 100 76
Game Zero Lynx Mar, 1993 73 out of 100 73
GameSpot Xbox 360 Nov 23, 2005 7.3 out of 10 73
Game Freaks 365 Atari 2600 Jul 03, 2007 7.2 out of 10 72
Video Game Talk Xbox 360 Jun 19, 2006 3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars 60
ASM (Aktueller Software Markt) NES Oct, 1989 6.4 out of 12 53


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1001 Video Games

The Arcade version of Joust appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.


One "bug" in the program's design became a strategic advantage to players in the know, later touted by producers as a "hidden feature". On the right side of the screen there are two platforms situated so that one is above and slightly overhangs another. If a player moves across the lower of the two platforms, the player will hit the upper one and be halted. However, if a player flies their bird so that its belly skims the lower platform low enough that its legs do not extend, the bird will "belly flop" across the width of the platform, and, illogically, "squeeze" through the meeting point of the two platforms, shooting out below the upper platform.

Skilled players took advantage of this flaw as a gaming strategy: a player could suddenly pop out below the platform and land on an enemy knight below (or a competing player), catching him by surprise. Game creator John Newcomer stated in interviews that this flaw in the game's design was so popular, they decided to intentionally leave it in and it became a permanent part of the game.

Launch game

Joust was one of the "Fabulous Eleven" launch games for the Atari 7800.

Information also contributed by Nélio

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Contributed to by PCGamer77 (3008), saxabar (5), jeff leyda (1620), Kabushi (143143), ZZip (795), Pseudo_Intellectual (45139), Servo (55746) and Игги Друге (44957)