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Have You Played... Johann Sebastian Joust?


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Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

I adore Johann Sebastian Joust [official site] so much that I have vowed never to play it again. I like it too much. It’s too good. I get too into it. It brings out bad things in me. Never let me play it again but please, please play it at my funeral. As you stand on the shore of the loch, please play Joust around my chain-wrapped corpse before you heave me into the dark waters. Give me one last look at my true love, the game I call Shoving.

Johann Sebastian Joust is full-contact video game, a video game about shoving real people with your real hands. I mean, I guess technically the aim is to jostle the PlayStation Move controllers in other players’ hands enough to trip the sensor and knock them all out but look, how will you do that if not shoving? Stealthy strikes? Trickery? Hiding and hoping no one notices you’re still in the round until it’s too late? Sure, I guess you could, but why not shove them? Shoving will see you right. The moments where the music speeds up (Bach, obvs) and controller sensitivity drops are clear signs that you should shove someone, hard. Here are three Joust anecdotes:

At one Wild Rumpus, I fell into the role of heel. After winning a few rounds with general boisterousness, I started showboating, swooping and circling and being extra dastardly. When I was finally undone by overconfidence, the dozens of circled spectators cheered at my demise. I know my role in life.

The win I’m most proud of came when, as one of two remaining players, I extended my hand to my rival for a sporting shake then yanked them forwards with all my might.

I once watched the colossal Phill Cameron face our wee Pip. Oh. Oh no.

The trick to Joust, see, is that there are no fixed rules of acceptable behaviour. It runs on decency and unspoken consensus. To win, just go a bit further than other players are willing to. Me, I know I’m a monster, and I’m no longer proud of that. Well. I’m less proud. I’m not allowed to play My Leg’s Achin’ either.

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Alice O'Connor

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When not writing news, Alice may be found in the sea.

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