Joust (C64) found!

Great news, but collector Ken Van Mersbergen (known to many as Dutchman2000) has found and preserved the long lost AtariSoft conversion of Joust, which we have had an entry on for some time here.

Ken got in touch with GTW yesterday and informed us that the game was recovered from the archive of a retired programmer who used to work for Roklan. It was found on an 8-inch CP/M disk that was labelled “Popeye” and had the full source code and hex image to be able to create a CRT image.

We learn that the game was coded by Joe Hellesen at Roklan Corporation, and Ken plans to show the game in public for the first time since 1984, at the VCFMW/ECCC show in September (if it goes ahead). The CRT will be released after the show, or earlier if the show doesn’t happen and will be added to the GTW64 site.

For now, enjoy the screenshots and a massive thank you to Ken for preserving another piece of gaming history.

19 Responses to Joust (C64) found!

  1. Wow. I used to check games that weren’t every week or so for years. Then one day it disappeared and never came back, so I deleted the bookmark. Great to see you guys are back.

    • Thanks Chris. Yeah, I did University around 2002-2003, so things didn’t get updated for a long time :)

  2. I should add that, at one point in time, the disks which I received in the mail had a spooky similarity with the games featured in Zzap’s better letter from America. Pure coincidence, I’m sure. I particularly recall Strip Poker 2 and Crystal Castles by Thundervision, which was a strange combo on my disks and an even stranger combo for the top C64 mag to feature.

  3. I have commented on this port before and previously said that I owned a pirate copy in the 80s. This very much looks like the version I played back then. In a bid to give some weight to my comment I will state that I recall there being a minor bug with the lava troll’s hand. I can’t quite remember the circumstances of it but it could have been that if you were caught by the hand and managed to escape perhaps the hand remained on screen in the position it was when you escaped from it. It was something like that…It was something of that nature.

    • It could well be that you did play the game Gregory – it’s not unfeasible at all. Just recently the Zambeezi game that was found was on a pirated disk – but just hadn’t been widely spread anywhere. Might be that you had a very rare pirate copy that just hasn’t seen mass distribution.

      • I had an excellent contact back in the day and I think I got just about everything. I think there was a network of pirates across Europe, perhaps the world, who just wanted to share games. There was no way we could buy everything, especially the things that weren’t available, and people like me spent money on games that we could afford on top of all the copied games anyway. I just wanted to put it on record what I remembered about the version I played so that when this surfaces again I can try to re-discover that minor bug that I seem to recall. I came to this site because I was Googling for Youtube vids of the C64 version.

  4. Hopefully, that will happen. Having the game is awesome, but being able to preserve the source code online would be perfect and will ensure the future generations will have access to details of how these games were made. Thanks

    • Completely agree – something we always try and ask if we come across any source code and have it added to the site. There’s a few instances dotted around in the archive where we have shared the source code with permission. Gives some great insights.

    • I don’t think Ken plans to, unless the developer gives permission i’m afraid. So its a possibility, but not a certainty.

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