Johann Sebastian Joust is a game about shoving people and having fun and where better to demo it than at our bi-monthly game developer meetup in Liverpool for GameDevNorth 8. With only 48 hours left to go on Kickstarter, I (Stephen) contacted Douglas Wilson (Die Gute Fabrik) to see about drumming up further interest in the project in the North West of the UK. We got the go-ahead and Joust was brought up to rainy Liverpool to close the event.
First up was the GameDevNorth quiz which saw 12 teams battle it out for prizes supplied by Lee Stott, Microsoft, and William Brown, Ubisoft Reflections. The raffle is always a welcome treat, which saw drinks and games being given out, and Lee was also on hand to deliver a new Nokia 7800.
Next was a new entry, an 8-out-of-10 Cats inspired panel with indie specialists (featuring fellow co-host Benjamin Hill of White Paper Games, Caroline from Boss Baddie and Dan Whitehead from Wordplay Narrative) against AAA experts (Adam Smith of Rock Paper Shotgun fame, William Brown and Terryll Garrison from Ubisoft Reflections.) Quips were shot left and right with the indies prevailing to win the game. It was then on to the jewel to the proverbial crown: Joust
Allowing up to seven players, everyone is paired with a PSMove controller whilst a gentle classical melody plays. Pressing a button instantly lit up a controller accompanied with a satisfying explosion to announce your entry. Once everyone has registered, a speaker announces the start of the game and a slow mayhem breaks loose.
Johann Sebastian Joust is a game about watching everyone else whilst the Johann Sebastian Bach Brandenburg Concertos acts as the background to an elegant dance. Your controller is intimately sensitive and so must be kept still at all costs. Having your controller knocked means you are, literally, knocked out of the game.
As the music increases in tempo, so does the action. People can run over large distances and jostle due to the decreased sensitivity but as the music slows down again, the tension increases (as does the sensitivity.) It’s a crescendo of pressure as the players are whittled down till eventually, only two remain and thats where the dirty tactics come in.
It was a perfect game for the developers to relax with and hence the reason why I asked for the opportunity to demo it. It’s all about returning back to the meaning of games – to have fun and make friends.
Update: The Sportsfriends Kickstarter has made it! With it achieving its goal with an hour to spare, a lot of people can sit back in relief and enjoy the Johann Sebastian Joust alpha over the holidays!