RPO Replay: Joust

The Ready Player One Replay is an exploration of the games that inspired the novel Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.


I couldn’t help but grin as I read the name on the game’s backlit marquee: JOUST. Williams Electronics, 1982. — Ready Player One p. 80

Game Play

Released in 1982 by Williams Electronics, Joust is a two-player game in which you take control of a giant flying ostrich or stork, launch into the air, and defeat enemy knights flying vultures.

The controls are basic – you press a button to flap your wings (allowing you to fly up and down) while the joystick controls your left/right movement. Particularly compelling is its cooperative, two-player nature, which could be just the thing for the days when fending off endless Space Invaders and Centipedes lost its appeal.


Like DefenderJoust was a game I wanted to be good at. Like Defender … I wasn’t very good at it. It’s a blast to play in a slightly ridiculous, hanging-out-with-your-friends-and-drinking-way-too-much-Pepsi sort of way, but my bird wrangling skills were never quite up to the task.

High Scores

  • My High Score: 5,570


Where to Play


Featured Image Meta

A screenshot from the NES version of Joust.

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