Status: No Download, Findability: 2/5

Updates made

20/01/14 – Confirmation that Tom Griner was the developer.

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Thanks to Fabrizio for highlighting this one for us. This is an entry for the long lost Atarisoft conversion of Joust on the C64.

The game made it across a variety of platforms, as did other Atari based games on the C64 via the Atarisoft label, but Joust is still elusive to the machine.

According to this website source, the game was believed to have been started on the C64 by Atarisoft, so we are likely to be hunting a non-vapourware title.

Many of us will know of the game Jouste which was written by Joe Hellesen. It was rumoured for many years that this game was in fact the Atarisoft game that was canned for reasons unknown. However, thanks to Kurt Woloch – it seems that Jouste was nothing to do with Atarisoft, and they had a completely different version in production.

Kurt spotted on a website of Steven J Szymanski which shows a photo of a demonstration of the C64 game running at a computer show in the early 80’s.  It seems that it was based on his very own Atari 800 version of the game, but not done by himself.

So who was behind this conversion for Atarisoft?…. Was it any of the potential names we have in our coder list?   Can you help confirm?  We believe it could well have been Tom Griner, as the style looks familiar to Robotron.

Early days yet, but if for now you want to see a Joust like game on the C64 check out the Jouste entry at Gamebase 64…  it’s not 100% accurate, but its not too bad.

Contributions: Fabrizio Bartoloni, Kurt Woloch

Supporting content

Steve talks about seeing the Atarisoft conversion of his Atari game…

“OK, so this was my implementation of Joust running on a Commodore 64 computer. I know that because there were subtle details of the implementation I knew which didn’t match the original game perfectly because of limitations in the hardware. Problem was, neither I nor GCC did a version for the Commodore 64, and we certainly hadn’t been paid for it. Atari later apologized (and more important paid us).”

17 Responses to Joust

  1. Gregory Wolfe says:

    As a C64 owning school kid in the early/mid 80s I definitely had a copy of the Atarisoft version of Joust. I was most disappointed when I tried to find online videos of this game and couldn’t find a single one. It played really well and the sound was suitably excellent. I no longer have that C64 nor the dozens of disks I accumulated. I imagine there are many pirate copies of the game out there but I imagine the people who have it don’t know it’s missing. I had no idea it was never officially released.

    • fgasking says:

      Hi Gregory, did it look like the screenshot? Would be great if the game did leak out somehow, but currently no-one has come forward with a copy. There may have alternatively just been an unofficial hack of a pre-existing Joust clone with the Atarisoft name on as well? Here are a list of Joust clones on Gamebase64 – maybe one of them was what you played?

      • Gregory Wolfe says:

        It absolutely did look like the screenshot. It was as near to Joust as the C64 could manage. I landed on this page because I was looking for a video of the game I played as a kid and non of them were right so I kept looking until that image popped up. I don’t think it will be rare in pirate collections. I genuinely think anyone who may have it doesn’t regard it to be missing.

        • Gregory Wolfe says:

          I should be clear, the copy I had was a pirate copy supplied through a network that ultimately spanned Europe and the United States. Friend of a friend of a friend etc. We used to swap phone numbers, I used to queue at the phonebox to phone the lad who supplied me.

          • fgasking says:

            Hopefully someone will come forward with a copy of the game if it is out there still. Would be great to find the proper official conversion of the game.

  2. My brother and I wrote Jouste for the commodore 64 in 1984 (see

    We also wrote Krazy Kars in 1983 (see

    These were unofficial versions, basically we just went down to the local arcade and learned the games.

    • fgasking says:

      Thanks very much Paul – great to hear from you. I’ll ask the guys at Gamebase64 to update their credits so they are correct for both games.

      Did you both work on anything that never got released on the C64?

  3. A Bozhko says:

    I actually had a copy of this game, can’t remember if it was on a compilation cassette or on a cassette on it’s own right. This title is dear to me because of the hours I played it on the C64 back in the 80s. I am actually surprised to see this title in this section. I should have the cassette somewhere back at my dads, assuming it still works as it has been packed away for 25 years, could be going on 30 years since last played this title.

    • fgasking says:

      Sure it wasn’t this game? …
      This was an unofficial conversion, though the one in this review in particular is the official Atarisoft conversion.

      • A Bozhko says:

        I will have to try and locate the cassette when I get to my dad’s house next time. Got a right stash of games in original packaging. Bearing in mind it’s been about 30 years since I have played it I will have to check. This was one of my favourite games at the time.

        • Mayhem says:

          It wouldn’t have been on tape, either cartridge or disk if released in the US at the time, so I suspect this is actually the IJK game.

          • Kurt Woloch says:

            That doesn’t say anything though… many games were “cracked” and converted to one-file loaders which you loaded like a BASIC program and then typed RUN and they started. Most officially released cartridges got that treatment as well so they could easily be spread on disks (and several games stored on one disk side) or saved to cassettes as well (which is usually possible for all one-file programs up to about 159 blocks if I remember right), Atarisoft would probably have released Joust as a cartridge, but I guess it never got to that stage of production and got leaked on a disk or tape and spread that way, though, seemingly, not very far in this case.

      • This version of jouste was written by my brother and myself in 1984 it wasnt written by Joe Elleson and he didnt do the graphics, No idea who he is. look at this youtube video, it shows our names

  4. Yet another great update to a fun game. Thanks guys.

  5. Kurt Woloch says:

    I just learned of a version of Joust that was in development at Atarisoft and even shown at a CES, as you can see on this page:

    This, strangely, seems to be a “hack” of the Atari 8-bit version created by Steve Evens at GCC back then since he says he didn’t develop a C-64 version, so someone else at Atari must have converted his work to the C-64. As you can see, it looks quite different to Jouste, so I don’t think it’s the same game. I’ve played Jouste, and it doesn’t feel like the arcade at all, the physics are all wrong. On the right of that screenshot, by the way, you can see a portion of a screen of the version of Stargate that was initially planned for the C-64, but not released.

    • Kurt Woloch says:

      Sorry, I just noticed that the name of the Atari 8-bit programmer is Steven, but I don’t know his last name. I thought it was Steve Evens who did Stargate, but I’m not sure now. And I don’t know who did the “hack” for the C-64.

      • fgasking says:

        Thanks yet again Kurt! .. brilliant detective work and spot! I’ve added a list of potential coders, updated the details and added the screenshot and other bits. Really appreciated! Hopefully now we’ll manage to find something of this conversion.

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