Williams Electronic Games

Origin Date



Joust is an action game developed by Williams Electronics and released in arcades in 1982. While not the first two-player cooperative video game, Joust’s success and polished implementation popularized the concept. Players assume the role of knights armed with lances and mounted on large birds (an ostrich for Player 1, a stork for Player 2), who must fly around the screen and defeat enemy knights riding buzzards.

John Newcomer led the development team: Bill Pfutzenreuter, Janice Woldenberg-Miller (née Hendricks), Python Anghelo, Tim Murphy, and John Kotlarik. Newcomer aimed to create a flying game, with cooperative two-player gameplay, while avoiding the overdone space theme.

The game was well-received by players and critics, and the mechanics influenced other games. Joust was ported to numerous home systems and was followed by a more complex and less popular arcade sequel in 1986: Joust 2: Survival of the Fittest.