aka: Joust: A Game of Combat, Action and Skill
Moby ID: 4059
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Description official descriptions

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.

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Credits (Arcade version)

10 People

Support Software
Cabinet Art



Average score: 71% (based on 43 ratings)


Average score: 3.4 out of 5 (based on 121 ratings with 3 reviews)

Another bullseye for the Lynx porting legacy.

The Good
It is a rare port that makes you go back and double-check the original to see what is different, and Joust is one of those ports. Shadowsoft so nailed the Lynx port of Joust that at the time (1992) I actually found myself finding a local Joust to compare them. The graphics are a perfect interpretation of the originals. The gameplay is spot-on. The sound is 100% faithful to the arcade coin-op (it is probably digitized from the arcade coin-op).

Everything just feels like the original.

The Bad
Nothing. A cliche, I know, but there really isn't anything to dislike about the game whatsoever.

The Bottom Line
A classic game for any oldskool gamer, Lynx owners have it especially lucky that one of the best ports is for their system.

Lynx · by Trixter (8946) · 2003

A classic.

The Good
To be honest I never played the game in the arcades, but I did play virtually every version ever available for every other platform :-)

Regardless, the original PC version is pretty good. Decent graphics, decent controls and the same basic gameplay make this game just plain addictive - a helluva time burner in a time where the best you could do was Digger and Alley Cat. I used to sped hours at a time playing these three games, and they were FUN.

The Bad
Sound (or lack thereof) is, well, lacking. Also the addictiveness wears off rather shortly.

The Bottom Line
A conversion from one of the classic Atari arcade games. A classic, nothing more, nothing less.

PC Booter · by Tomer Gabel (4539) · 2001

Thou shalt kill those buzzards

The Good
When I first heard of Joust, I wondered what the term could mean. Well, according to the dictionary, Joust is a combat with lances between two mounted knights. And that's what the game is about. The basic idea is that you control a jouster who is riding an ostrich. You need to fly by repeatedly flapping your wings and colliding with knights who are riding buzzards to knock them out, but as long as you are slightly higher than them. If you fail to do this, you lose a life. Failing to flap your wings will result in you falling down on the nearest platform or in the burning lava.

If you manage to knock the buzzards out, you will receive some points. However, if you collide with their head instead, the buzzard drops an egg, which you should pick up before a knight hatches out of them and goes off riding a buzzard. On later waves, there are two more dangers: the deadly pterodactyl who cannot be beaten unless you hit its weak spot, and the hand that comes out of the lava and tries to grab a hold of you.

so that's the object of the game. The NES version of Joust remains faithful to the original coin-op game: same sound, same graphics, and same gameplay. The only difference between the two versions is that all of the characters in the game, including the jouster, are big that you won't be confused at which character that you are actually controlling.

Unlike other earlier games from the 80s, you cannot shoot the buzzard-mounted knights above, below, or ahead of you. Instead, you have to press the "flap" button to fly up and collide with these knights to destroy them. But whether you are successful really depends on the height and speed of you ostrich, and gaining speed allows you to fly higher, and the chance of killing a buzzard is higher. If you go too slow, you will not fly as high and it is likely that you could die.

The Bad

The Bottom Line
If you have the really old version of Joust, made for PC Booter, then you're out of luck. The game will run too fast since this is a timer-related game. If you want to play this game, then play the game on other consoles like the NES. If you have read my reviews of the games that were made by Williams, you would have noticed that these games were for the C64, made by Atarisoft. This company has made some great conversions of Williams' coin-op games, but they forget to port Joust over. Tsk, tsk.

Rating: ***

NES · by Katakis | カタキス (43051) · 2004


Subject By Date
Should be a new group "The Joust series" (708) Nov 22nd, 2021


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.

There was originally a second bug which allowed the pterodactyl to be easily defeated by perching on a particular ledge and turning to face the adversary as they entered the screen. When this bug was discovered Williams released a new ROM for the arcade cabinets to rectify it.

Launch game

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

Information also contributed by Nélio

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by jeff leyda.

Lynx, Atari 2600, Atari ST added by PCGamer77. Apple II added by saxabar. Palm OS, Xbox 360 added by Kabushi. Atari 8-bit added by ZZip. Arcade added by Pseudo_Intellectual. Antstream added by lights out party. Atari 7800, Atari 5200, NES added by Servo. Macintosh added by Игги Друге.

Additional contributors: PCGamer77, Guy Chapman, jean-louis, Starbuck the Third, FatherJack, ZeTomes, 64er.

Game added May 15th, 2001. Last modified September 1st, 2023.