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A Retro Gamer’s 12 Days Of Christmas: The Sixth Day, Joust

On the sixth day of Christmas my true love sent to me, six geese a laying.

As inexplicable the bird theme is with this carol, the lyric “six geese a laying” could have been the inspiration for the game Joust. Albeit, during the better part of a drunken eggnog bender. Just think of it, a young game designer attending one of Atari’s legendary office Christmas parties. Everyone is going on and on about Defender and the upcoming release of Return of the Jedi. Spirits are flowing and soon before long, inspiration hits. What if we make a game where a knight rides an ostrich and has to joust with other knights on ostriches but instead of knocking the other knight off their ostrich, they regress back into an egg? The 80’s were a strange time.

The game is best played as a duo as players can help one another defeat the waves of fierce feathered foes. At least until the egg wave, after that it is every knight for themselves as some freaky shit starts to go down. If you take too long on a level, shrieking vultures will appear. Just like that smiling sadist Evil Otto from Berzerk. Perhaps the weirdest part of this game is one of its most subtle features. As you progress through each wave, a bridge over the lava at the bottom of the screen is removed. This may not seem weird. Avoiding lava is a device used in many games, like Super Mario Bros, for example. But Joust puts an unsettling twist on it. If you fly too close the lava, a hand reaches out and pulls you in!

Take it easy on the eggnog this holiday season people. There could be strange repercussions.

Brandon Weicks

Brandon is a writer, tech guy, game collector, and sucks at video games. He still holds hope that Sega will release a new console and believes Nintendo peaked with the Super Gameboy. In his spare time, Brandon enjoys playing in his ManCade, listening to funk, and going game hunting on his Bonnie.

If you would like to contribute towards my literary ambition, please use this link

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