Joust: Classic Arcade Game Video, History & Game Play Overview


Developed and distributed by Williams Electronics in 1982, Joust is a platform based game that inspired several other classic arcade games. The home console licensing rights were purchased by Atari soon after its arcade debut. Joust was ported to the Atari 2600, 6200, 7800, ST, 8-niy and Lynx. Ports for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 were also developed in more recent years.

A sequel named Joust 2 – Survival of the fittest was released four years later in 1986. Designed by John Newcomer, the artwork to Joust was created by Jan Hendricks. Bill Pfutzenreuter was responsible for Joust’s internal programming.

Joust is a one and two player game.


Game Play Overview

The numbers of levels featured in Joust are infinite. Players take the role of an armor-clad knight as he rides on the back of a flying ostrich. Enemies consist of hunters, bounders and shadow lords. These opponents are also knights that fly on various winged creatures.

At the bottom of each stage lies a lake of fire. Ledges and platforms are positioned above this lake of fire. If either a player or an enemy falls into the fire, the result is death. Enemies and players are both armed with long lances.

In addition to jousting with your opponents, you also need to collect ostrich eggs in order to advance. These ostrich eggs actually spawn from foes that you have deleted in battle. Only a small window will be available for players to pick up these eggs.

There is one other type of enemy that you need to avoid, and he is situated toward the bottom of the screen. When fighting bounders, shadow lords and hunters directly over the lake of fire, make sure that you stay out of the clutches of the troll. If a troll makes contact with you, hit the action key rapidly to fly away.

Shadow lords are the most difficult opponents to take out. They will attack from all angles and fly with precise precision. Pick up the ostrich eggs that defeated shadow lords leave in order to prevent a new enemy from appearing.

Bounders will be extremely easy to eliminate early on in the game, but they increase in both speed and precision as the game goes on. When these enemies are killed, their eggs will produce hunters if you do not move quickly enough.

Hunters are fast thinking enemies. Not only will they follow you from ledge to ledge, they will also change direction in the middle of an attack to pursue you. Their eggs also turn into new hunters if not picked up soon enough.

Special Features

Defeating the pterodactyl earns players 1,000 bonus points. Unlike other foes, pterodactyls are extremely deadly. A direct hit in the center of their mouths are necessary for a successful kill.


Trolls – Relegated to the bottom of the screen, trolls will try to attack players from below. You cannot attack trolls directly, but you can fly to get away from them.

Ostrich eggs – Worth anywhere from 250 to 1,000 points, ostrich eggs are very valuable. Collect them quickly to prevent new enemies from spawning.

Hunters – These stealthy opponents will follow you all around the screen and attack whenever the opportunity arises.

Knight – This is the character that players control. He rides on an ostrich that can fly and is armed with a lance.

Shadow lords – Shadow lords are powerful as well as persistent.

Bounders – Bounders at the least difficult enemies in Joust to defeat.

Pterodactyl – While they rarely appear, killing pterodactyls is a feat in and of itself. Aim for the mouth and avoid direct contact with these killer birds.

How to Play Joust

Controlling your flying ostrich is the most important element in Joust. In order to fly, you will have to tap the action button, which will cause your bird to move its wings. If you stop tapping the action button, the player will descend.

Joust requires players to simultaneously fly and fight. Because hitting the action key can become tiresome, there are numerous ledges situated at different heights. Sometimes, there will be enemies on these ledges as well as eggs.

Pterodactyls come onto the screen when it takes players an extended period of time to clear a stage. Trolls never appear past the lake of fire. This leaves shadow lords, hunters and bounders as the main enemy groups. They attack on the backs of buzzards and they also carry lances.

Being hit with a lance will cause the player to fall off of the ostrich, leading to the loss of a turn. Falling directly into the lake of fire also causes the loss of a life. Getting the highest score in Joust determines the ultimate winner.

Hints and Tips
- Don’t stop hitting the action button unless the coast is clear. You can inadvertently lose a life by being hit from behind by an opponent, or simply fall into the lake of fire if you are not careful.

- Go after ostrich eggs as soon as possible. Otherwise, you will end up fighting a never ending stream of enemies.


We hope you enjoyed the video and the information shared on this classic arcade game.

Order Your Very Own Authentic Classic Arcade Machine Here

Check Out Other Classic Arcade Game Videos Here

For over 30 years Arcade Classics continues to bring the classics to life!