Joust – Ready Player One Replay

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. It plays a notable role in the novel version of Ready Player One, as it forms one of the tests that Parzival must complete on his quest to find Halliday’s Easter Egg.


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

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 was 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 never got 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. I consistently get knocked off my avian mount, while simultaneously failing to perfectly line up my lance on my own attack runs. That said, Joust is a fun game, and one I still fire up from time to time (thinking hey, maybe this time I’ll do better) but it’s more out of nostalgia than anything else.

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

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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