It looks like 2023 is shaping up to see the return of indie arcade games, and today’s story is about one that will debut at Amusement Expo 2023 in Las Vegas the last week of this month. Called Jousting Heroes, this game looks to bring a game like the original Joust back to arcades (and consoles), with two flavors of the coin-op version (a 2-player and 4-player cab) debuting at the Expo. To quote the game description from the website:
Jousting Heroes is a return to bird flapping multiplayer combat in the skies that will be familiar to many gamers from the 80’s. Inspired by William’s Joust, Atari’s Gauntlet, and Nintendo’s Megaman, Jousting Heroes is, at its heart, 8 player battles of skill.
Like all Alan-1 games, there are two game modes–arcade and multiplayer arena. The arcade game is what it sounds like. A fun, addictive, arcade style game with the high score being your objective. High scores are across platforms. Are you the world’s best Jousting Hero?
Here’s the game testing at an office in Lehi, UT (Lehi has become known as “Silicon Slopes,” referring to Silicon Valley, as many big SV companies have setup shop in the hills/mountain benches there). You’ll also notice the fans built into the control panel, which will create a wind-feedback mechanic, something the arcade version will get to call its own. The arcade controls are also simplified over the console builds, only needing 3 buttons, whereas the control map for a console controller shown on their site shows just about every button of the pad being used, mentioning things like “Bird Food,” “Lay an egg,” and “knight jump.” It wasn’t stated yet if it has seen testing on location, although it would make sense for it first to do so at Flynn’s Retrocade (more on that in a moment).
Looking at the video on their website, it appears to be Joust but with weapons and if your knight gets hit, you turn into an egg that can hatch your knight again – or get eaten by another bird, thus powering that bird up. It definitely has the original Joust vibe, with a mix of Killer Queen. Here’s a render of the 2-player cabinet (NOTE: These are not final renders so the final production may differ):
And a smaller & early render of the 4-player cabinet, although I’m not sure why two players have what appears to be dual joysticks:
They will be present at booth A1440 at AEI23, which is next to Virtuix & Hero Zone VR. While it’s a 10×10 booth, they shouldn’t be too hard to notice as they’ve also commissioned a giant 3D sculpted statue of a jouster on a bird. A price hasn’t been announced yet (nor shared with my privately) but interested parties should be able to get that info at the expo.
Who is Alan-1?
Fortunately for me, I know at least three of the guys involved with Alan-1 projects, as the company is based out of Utah. The founder of Alan-1 owns & operates Flynn’s Retrocade in Roy, UT (it is close to where my second location in Ogden used to be), and is a big TRON fan as you might tell from the name of his two arcade-related companies. Alan-1 has been mentioned on the blog before; They’ve done some reproductions of things like the Atari Star Wars yoke controller, vector monitor parts and more.
I’ve not met the founder of Alan-1 myself, but two of the guys who often do maintenance on his machines and manage the Alan-1 Hangar (a warehouse jam packed with their own and Flynn’s Retrocades games – they have many rarities there, along with the games from the famous but closed arcade in Idaho, Grinkers) I’ve known for a long time. I even bought a Joust from one of them once; He’s pictured on the left in the test photo above.
Johnny, another one of the three, was kind enough to pass along some extra info on the project that you see above, including sending along a video of the beta test (although they asked it be kept private for now). The game will also launch on PC/PlayStation/Switch/Xbox at some point, with the AEI event being the grand debut of the game.
What do you think about it from the info known so far?