Joust (Atari 2600) is an arcade game developed by Williams Electronics and released in 1982. While not the first game to feature two-player cooperative play, Joust was more successful than its predecessors and popularized the concept. The player uses a button and joystick to control a knight riding a flying ostrich. The object is to progress through levels by defeating groups of enemy knights riding buzzards. You can play Joust online, in web browser here.
Joust (Atari 2600) game description
The player controls a yellow knight riding a flying ostrich or stork, from a third-person perspective. Using the two-way directional joystick and the button for flapping the ostrich’s wings, the player flies the knight amidst the floating rock platforms and above pools of lava; when maneuvering off the screen to either side, the player will continue its path reappearing from the opposite side. The rate at which the player repeatedly presses the button causes the ostrich to fly upward, hover, or slowly descend.
Players navigate the knight to collide with enemies. The elevation of an enemy in relation to the player’s knight determines the outcome of the collision. If the protagonist is higher than the enemy, the villain is defeated and vice versa. A collision of equal elevations results in the two knights bouncing off each other. A defeated enemy will turn into an egg that falls toward the bottom of the screen, which a player can collect for points. An egg that sits on a platform long enough will hatch into a new knight; if the player does not pick him up, he will gain a new mount and must be defeated again.
The objective is to defeat groups of enemy knights riding buzzards that populate each level, referred to as a “wave”. Upon completing a wave, a subsequent, more challenging wave begins. The game features three types of enemy knights—Bounder, Hunter, and Shadow Lord—that are worth different amounts of points. A pterodactyl appears after a predetermined time frame to hunt the heroes.
The game was novel for its time for being one of the few two-player simultaneous games in the arcade.
Play Joust online here
You can play Joust online, emulated in web browser.