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Joust

The NES box art for the, ahem..."Super Arcade Hit," Joust!

Joust is an arcade game developed and published by Williams Electronics in 1982. The concept of the game is that you are a knight riding a (somehow) flying blue ostrich. In case you haven't guessed already, you have to jump from platform to platform in a room with lava slowly rising between waves, all the while fighting off evil knights on buzzards while collecting the eggs they turn into. Once in a while, you also have to kill a pterodactyl who comes to hunt you. Simple!

This is one of those games that my dad would play all the time in the arcades, and although he told me about it, I didn't immediately find it online. However, when I was browsing my favorite classic emulator (nintendo8), I stumbled upon it and played it with him. At first I was completely frustrated because I just kept dying and dying. Eventually, I broke down and looked up what on Earth the trick was to killing the enemies. Before I launch into the game, I'm just going to tell you the secret to playing this game.

Defeating enemy knights is all a matter of where you're positioned in comparison to them. If you run into them when they're above you in any way, you die and lose a life. If you collide straight into each other (on an even plain), you bounce off of each other with no harm done. Here's the good part: if you hit their upper half, even so much as bounce on them, they blow up and you have one less knight to deal with. In conclusion: the key is just to run into their upper half.

Got it? Good.

Now on to the actual opinions on the game: as I said before, it will be tricky getting the hang of beating the knights, so practice the technique and don't rage quit immediately. Otherwise, you're not a very flexible person gamingwise. People care about that (they're out there, don't ask me).

Still, this game is really, really fun once you understand how it works. I remember that even if I got Game Over, I would just continually come back to it to bounce on more knights and see how far I could get!

Not to mention the entire idea of this game! It's like the idea of Skyward Sword on steroids! I can hardly believe that someone managed to come up with this even back in the early 80's. Just the fact that you play as a knight on an ostrich jousting to the death against other knights on buzzards makes you want to play more to watch it happen!

The only downside I can see to this game is that it has a bit of a monotonous feeling, but it is constantly changing in small ways, so that's more of a tidbit. Kind of like the way the annoying bouncing off the sides of the platforms is annoying.

All in all, this game is tricky at first, but it's insanely fun and hilarious if you practice it and master your own technique. Trust me, Joust is exactly the masterpiece that its fans say it is, and if it comes out on VC, you Pac-Man fans out there should buy it without hesitation.

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