Manufacturer: Williams
Year: 1982
Class: Wide Release
Genre: Platform
Type: Video Arcade
  • Orientation: Horizontal
  • Type: Raster: Standard Resolution
  • CRT: Color
  • 19-inch Wells-Gardner
Conversion Class: Williams
Number of Simultaneous Players: 2
Maximum number of Players: 2
Gameplay: Joint
Control Panel Layout: Multiple Player
  • Joystick: 2-way (left, right)
  • Buttons: 1 - Flap

Sound: Amplified Mono (one channel)


Picture yourself, you are a knight. Your faithful steed: an ostrich. You battle another similarly outfitted knight on a single screen stage with several platforms upon which one can fly (I know ostriches can't fly, but a certain suspension of disbelief is presumed). The object of the game, as in any joust is to un-...well...unostrich your opponent. One does this by hitting him on the head with your spear. He then turns into an egg, which you must collect lest it hatch and turn into a more difficult opponent. In addition to vanquishing your opponent, you'll also have to avoid such enemies as the pterodactyl and The Lava Troll.

Cabinet Information:

This game actually came in both upright and cocktail formats, its most common format, however, was upright. There is one button, used for flapping. The same hardware can run Robotron with some hardware modifications to allow for the 8-way joysticks it requires.

Sequel: Joust II - Survival of the Fittest
A shockwave version can be found at:
Tech Specs from


By Bally

Model No: 849
Released: November 25, 1968

Designed By: Ted Zale
Art By: Christian Marche

Joust was a 2 player machine with Bally's unique zipper flippers - flippers that, when the right target was hit, would move to the center, almost completely preventing the ball from draining between them, for a short amount of time.

The backglass art was, like most games of the time, simplistic. It showed simply a pair of cartoonish knights jousting, with a helmetless knight falling off his horse, and the other knight's lance broken. An orange building on the right has a few damsels watching the contest.

The playfield was rather simplistic, a triangle of pop bumpers, some passive bumpers, and a few other targets.

1050 of this machine were produced.


By Williams Electronics

Model No: 519
Released: April 1983

Designed By: Barry Oursler
Art By: Constantino Mitchell

Joust, which was originally going to be named 'Conflict' but then renamed to use the theme of the highly popular video game, was one of the most unique pinballs ever to be made.

It was a head-to-head pinball. Instead of the traditional cabinet and backglass, it had a fully horizontal cabinet, with flippers and buttons at both ends, allowing two players to play against each other. The playfield is highest in the center, and slopes down to the players' flippers. It is identical on each side.

Two balls are released during play, one for each player, and they can cross to the other side, as the center has a pair of spinners that go between the sides. Hitting targets can turn on bonuses for your side, while turning them off for your opponent. Misplaced shots can score big points for the other player. When the game is "over", there is a timed 4-ball multiball.

This is one of the rarest pinball games around. Only 402 of this machine were produced, and as it's highly prized for being so different, it is hard to find one for sale, and they're expensive when that occurs.

The Playfield:

As said above, the playfield is divided into two sides, one side for each player, with each side identitical. The ball is launched from one side into the other side, so the ball comes in from the left, following the curved wall straight to the left flipper, making up the inlane. There's an outlane on the far right, with a kicker between it and the right flipper.

The various targets are arranged in a rough arc across the top of the playfield. To the far right is a kicker, then over a little to the left is a round target, and a set of three drop targets. In the center is a pair of spinners leading to the other side, with a round target between the two. Then, to the left a little more is another set of three drop targets. To the left of that is a drop target, which when dropped leads to a little lane with another drop target further back, and it appears that there is a gate behind that second target to the other side.

Sources: The Internet Pinball Database,
Action Pinball & Amusement,

The gameplay of Joust is already nicely covered above, but I would like to provide a little more detail on the arcade games themselves

The upright

The upright version of Joust was a dedicated cabinet. It is similar in shape to other Williams games from that era, but it is not identical to them (a common mistake that caused me to hold on to an empty Defender cabinet, in the hopes of converting it to a Joust, because I thought the cabinets were identical).

The cabinet is largely black with no painted art on the front of the machine. But it does have sideart, in this case a four color painted rendering of a knight riding a large bird, while carrying a lance. This design is fairly simple when compared to the sideart on other games, and can be repainted by hand, as long as you are careful.

The control panel, monitor bezel, and marquee are all filled with the expected graphics. The marquee especially is a stunning rendition of the Joust logo, and two riders inside the Joust world.

Your Joust machine will come with either 2-Way leaf switch joysticks, or 2-Way optical ones. The early cabinets had the optical ones, while the later ones used the leaf stick ones. In either case it is recommended that you replace those with brand new 8-Way leaf switch joysticks, this will give your game a slightly better feel (from the new sticks), and give you more options for placing additional games inside your cabinet (Robotron 2084 is a popular conversion, and there is also a kit you can buy that will make your Joust into a multi-game with 6 titles).

The Joust PCBs are functionally identical to those used in Defender, Robotron 2084. Bubbles, Sinistar, Moon Patrol, and Stargate, only the ROM chips are different (which was how the multi-game kit for Joust worked).

The cocktail version

The cocktail version (a cocktail game is a sit down table version), is notable because it was one of the most popular cocktail cabinets for conversion to newer titles. You see most cocktail tables originally held games that had monitors in a vertical orientation, and had a set of player controls on each end of the table. By 1985 no one was really making many vertical games, especially not ones that were one player at a time, and could flip the screen for the second player. But the Joust table was different. It had a horizontal monitor, and the players sat side by side, instead of at opposite ends of the table. This allowed the Joust cocktail cabinet to be used for all sorts of newer games (the last time I saw one in person it had been converted to a Neo Geo MVS).

Electronically the cocktail version of Joust was identical to the upright version. The cocktail cabinet did not feature a lot of art, and was mostly black. These sell for big money today. You would be better off buying an upright.

Should you buy a Joust machine for home use?

Probably not. The overwhelming popularity of this title has sent prices far above what they should be. You could probably purchase three other nice games for the cost of a single Joust. You can expect for prices to be in the $600 to $1600 range for a decent machine, and even broken copies will sell for as much as mint examples of less popular games. (You may want to read my writeup in the Ms. Pac-Man node, everything I said there applies to this game as well).

Joust (?), v. i. [OE. justen, jousten, OF. jouster, jouster, joster, F. jouter, fr. L. juxta near to, nigh, from the root of jungere to join. See Join, and cf. Jostle.]

To engage in mock combat on horseback, as two knights in the lists; to tilt.

[Written also just.]

For the whole army to joust and tourney. Holland.


© Webster 1913.

Joust, n. [OE. juste, jouste, OF. juste, jouste, joste, F. joute. See Joust, v. i.]

A tilting match; a mock combat on horseback between two knights in the lists or inclosed field.

[Written also just.]

Gorgeous knights at joust and tournament. Milton.


© Webster 1913.

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