Atari Lynx Review: Joust on Lynx Lounge
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By Brian Thomas Barnhart |
Hey folks, welcome back to another episode of Lynx Lounge. I’m your host, BTB, and have we got an arcade classic, an absolute classic today. We’re talking about Arcade ports on this amazing, American made machine, the Atari Lynx. We are talking about Joust.
I’ve always loved Joust. It is a big favorite of mine. I am so pleased to be talking about it today, and how well it plays and how well it looks and sounds on the Atari Lynx. Isn’t that weird? Man, we have an awful lot of games that sound good and look good and play good on this amazing system.
“To me, it doesn’t get any better than Joust. I absolutely love this game. Any time you have a theme that involves something ‘medieval’ and ‘future’, and it’s combined, I am in 100%.”
– Brian Thomas Barnhart
Hey if you’re not familiar with Joust, this is the game that came out in 1982 by Williams, the gameplay in Joust is that you’re this little Knight, and you have to make sure that you bop your opponents on the head, or that your spear is higher than their spear when you collide with them. Then they turn into an egg, and you better do your best to find and crack that egg before it hatches and they spawn another character and they get a little more angry.
There’s a lava troll, there’s burning bridges, there’s a dragon that attacks you if you take too much time. I mean, the game is just so frantic and fun. Especially in the later levels, when you start getting that groove. You know what I’m talking about. That Joust groove, where you are just in that zone, everything is connecting, you’re getting those eggs, you are surviving, and you are being the top dog. That is the Joust zone and I love to be in it.
I love playing this game in the arcade because it was in Straw Hat Pizza. You’ve heard me talk about Straw Hat Pizza before. Joust sat right next to Out Run. The stand-up version of Out Run. Straw Hat Pizza had a great selection of games in their arcade. Games like Contra, Paperboy, Out Run, Joust, I mean what else could you need? Oh, how about some pizza and a pitcher of root beer?
“This game is bad to the bone. Believe me, it rocks!”
– Atari Joe
Is there music in Joust? Not reallly, per se. But I would have to say that the sound effects are so iconic in it that it just pulls you in. I always pictured that the sound effects of these Knights when they come up out of the ground, they sounded like a pack of Harley-Davidsons. Like this motorcycle gang that was coming after you, and you had to defend yourself. All of the blips and the bloops and the bleeps, they’re all there and they sound great.
So, the main question is how does it control. I would say that it controls perfectly. There’s no lag, the buttons are responsive, and it is a real joy to play this game.
Anytime I play Joust, it reminds me of the summer that we made a small fort in the crawl space of my buddy’s house. My friend Justin, now you’ve known him, he’s been on the show, he’s been on the Jaguar Aliens vs. Predator episode, and the Doom episodes, well that’s the Justin that I’m talking about. He had a house that had a crawlspace in it that was about 4 feet high. So you could really crawl in it and move around.
Well one summer we decided to build a fort there, and we took our Nintendo NES, and we took a small 13-inch TV, and some bean bags and some carpet and anything we could find to make this place our own. We ran some power down there and we set up Joust. We decided to spend the night down there, and we played Joust all night long on the NES. So this game, not only do I remember playing it in the arcade, but this game is a game that I remember from my childhood, building forts, having sleepovers, and playing games with your friends.
It’s hard for me not to think about pizza, and video games, and also great memories I had with my friends growing up. They all related with video games.
Wave 8 and every 8th wave is a Pterodactyl wave. Pterodactyls will come on screen and try to dismount you.
So many versions of Joust so little time… I grew up with the NES version of Joust by HAL America, and for the most part it’s a solid port of the game. The NES Advantage controller wth turbo finely tuned in – you know, not 100% just south of 97% made for a very enjoyable experience. Chances are you’d find yourself in the “Joust Zone” very quickly. Looking back I can say I didn’t realize that the NES version was really its own thing regarding the graphics, it was trying to do its own thing but all in all we were just happy to be playing Joust at home.
But I believe if you want the best experience for Joust I would have to go with the Atari 7800 ProSystem, to me it feels more in tune with its arcade counterpart. The sound, the graphics and just the over all feel gives me that arcade fix that the 7800 delivers every time.
But If you got to take it on the go… Lynx every time.
Well that’s another episode of Lynx Lounge. I hope you enjoyed it! I hope you enjoy Joust as much as I do. And I hope you join me for other episodes! We have a couple other shows, we have The Jag Bar, and we have 7800 Avenue where we play Atari 7800 games and 2600 games. That’s a 2-for-1 right there. Also check out Atari I/O for all your historical needs. I think you’ll love the layout, and you might learn something after you check it out. Alright, I’ll see ya later! Cheers!
Joust was developed by Williams Electronics and was released to arcades in 1982. It was ported to the Atari Lynx by Shadowsoft in 1992. Joust Copyright 1983 Williams Electronics Inc. All Rights Reserved. Licensed to Atari Corporation. Copyright 1992 Shadowsoft Inc.
Brian Thomas Barnhart is a classic gaming aficionado, retro pop culture connoisseur, and a Senior Fellow at Atari I/O. He is host of The Jag Bar, Lynx Lounge, 7800 Avenue, and the Atari I/O After Hours Podcast. Brian is a Moderator in the Atari I/O Forums under the name btbfilms76. You can follow him on Instagram and at his YouTube channel.
model # PT 5005