Games That Weren’t has just announced that the collector Ken “Dutchman2000” Van Mersbergen has found and preserved the long lost AtariSoft conversion of Joust, a successful arcade game released in 1982 where you control a knight riding a flying ostrich.
The game was ported to many platforms, like the Apple II, Atari 2600, Atari 5200, Atari 7800, Atari 8-bit, Lynx, Atari ST, IBM PC, Macintosh, and NES. It would be also in the hands of gamers of other platforms like the Intellivision and the Commodore 64 if their ports, although allegedly completed, weren’t cancelled due to the video game crash. Our reader “Ikrananaka” also let us know about the Colecovision version:
“There was also an unreleased AtariSoft prototype for the ColecoVision that was complete. An incomplete prototype version of the game was found and preserved many years ago but it had no sounds or music. Then back in 2014, another prototype surfaced that was complete with sounds and music but had no title screen. A title screen was added by a homebrew programmer known as Mystery Man and the game was published by Team Pixelboy (https://teampixelboy.com/joust.php). This was an amazing find and just as exciting as the C64 version that has now been found and preserved.” – fom Ikrananaka’s comment in our comment section.
Dutchman2000 informed GTW that the game was recovered from an 8″ CP/M disk belonging to a retired programmer that used to work for Roklan Corporation. The disk contained the full source code and the hex image meant to create the cartridge image. The source code has shown that Joust for the C64 was coded by Joe Hellesen at Roklan Corporation.
The current plan is to debut the game at the VCFMW/ECCC show in September. The CRT will be released after the show, or earlier if the show doesn’t happen.
Update: Some readers raised the question about Joust that was released in 1984. After some googling, I’ve learned that an unofficial Joust clone was released by IJK Software and it was called Jouste (with an “e” at the end). Clones with a slightly different name were common practice back then, and some of them are really well implemented (Source: http://www.gb64.com/game.php?id=3973).