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Developer: Williams Electronics
Platforms: Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), Apple II, Arcade, Atari 2600, Atari 7800, Atari Lynx, Atari 8-bit, Atari ST, PC, and Macintosh
Release Date: July 16, 1982
Why this game mattered: Cooperative combat games had been done in arcades before Joust, but this is the game that made them popular. You and your friend worked together to tackle wave after wave of baddies by using clever jump mechanics. It wasn't a game with a tremendously steep difficulty curve, which meant many different kinds of gamers could enjoy it.
Fun fact: Joust was originally going to be a flying game, but the developer didn't want to be seen as copying Asteroids.
Future games influenced by this title: While it's clear Joust was the inspiration for games like Balloon Fight and Messiah, the modern arcade thriller Killer Queen is the best example of an evolved form of Joust. This arcade game is best played with 10 human players across two massive cabinets, and it is truly a sight to behold when two full teams of skilled players compete. Even now, there are Killer Queen tournaments taking place monthly around the world.
Where you can play it today: Dig in the archives on Internet Arcade and play Joust whenever you want.
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