Joust: The Classic Arcade Game Still Flies High at Pinball Land

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If you’re looking for an arcade near you that offers classic games, Pinball Land has you covered with our new Joust machine! This medieval-themed game, first released in 1982, is one of the most iconic and beloved arcade games of all time. Its unique gameplay, memorable characters, and timeless appeal have made it a favorite of generations of gamers. Read on to learn more about the classic arcade game that kicked off head-to-head gaming as we know it.

The History of Joust

Joust was developed and published by Williams Electronics, a leading arcade game manufacturer of the time. It was created by John Newcomer, who had previously worked on other classic games like Defender and Robotron: 2084.

The timeless art and character design of Joust was done by the legendary Python Anghelo. Joust was one of Python’s first projects working at Williams after leaving his job at Disney as an artist and animator.Joust video arcade game cabinet at Pinball Land arcade

With the powers of Newcomer and Anghelo combined, Joust was an instant hit and became one of Williams’ best-selling arcade games.


How to Play Joust

In Joust, you play as a knight riding a flying ostrich. The goal is to defeat enemy knights riding vultures by colliding with them while your lance is higher than theirs. The game features a series of increasingly difficult levels, each with its own set of challenges and enemies.

Joust video arcade game 2-player control panel

One of the unique aspects of Joust is its control scheme. You use a joystick to move left or right and a button to flap the ostrich’s wings and fly higher. Timing your movements and jumps is key to avoiding obstacles and defeating enemies.

Why People Love Joust

There are many reasons why people love Joust. For one, the game is challenging but fair, offering a satisfying sense of accomplishment when you beat a tough level. The game’s unique setting and characters also make it stand out from other arcade games of its time.

Marquee of Joust arcade game cabinet at Pinball Land arcade

Another reason why Joust has endured is its excellent simultaneous two-player mode. Players can compete against each other or work together to defeat enemy knights, adding another layer of fun and replayability to the game.

Legacy of Joust

Joust has had a lasting impact on the world of arcade games and pop culture. Its influence can be seen in other classic games like Bubble Bobble and Balloon Fight, as well as in modern games and media that pay homage to its gameplay and aesthetics. For example, the book Ready Player One features Joust prominently.  Even the band Foo Fighters used the Joust aesthetic on a promotional poster.

Joust inspired art for a Foo Fighters poster

Joust has also been ported to numerous gaming consoles and even inspired a sequel titled “Joust 2: Survival of the Fittest.” Its legacy is a testament to the enduring appeal of classic arcade games and the creativity of their designers.

Joust arcade game next to Altered Beast and Out Run at Pinball Land arcade, Rockford MI


If you’re looking for an arcade near you that offers classic games, the Joust machine at Pinball Land is a must-play. Its unique gameplay, memorable characters, and timeless appeal make it a favorite of gamers of all ages. So saddle up your ostrich, grab your lance, and get ready to fly high with Joust!