The video game you need to play at Maker Faire
Johann Sebastian Joust in action
Photo by Natalie Seery
If you happen to find yourself at Montreal’s Mini Maker Faire this weekend, be sure to give the unique, weird and incredibly fun video game Johann Sebastian Joust a try. Made unofficially for the PlayStation 3, Joust is a rare video game that doesn’t use a television screen. Instead, 2-7 players must use their PlayStation Move controllers as a sort of blade: it’s the closest anyone’s gotten to creating a real-life lightsabre battle. The game was created by Copenhagen-based indie developer Die Gute Fabrik, and is being presented here by local gaming troupe Mount Royal Game Society.
“The rules are intentionally pretty open ended,” says MRGS’s Michel McBride-Charpentier. “Doug [Wilson, the game’s creator] basically wants to encourage the creation and adoption of ‘house rules.
“The core game is simple: You have a motion-sensitive controller that will turn red if you move too much, signalling that you’re out of the round. The goal is to be the last one ‘alive.’ The music includes pieces from J.S. Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos, and will speed up and slow down at random intervals. When it’s slow, the motion-sensitivity threshold of the controller is a lot lower, so you have to move deliberately, in a kind of slow motion. But what makes J.S. Joust so interesting is it’s up to the players to fill in the rest of the rules. People naturally form a circle, but is that necessary? Can you throw shoes? Pass your controller off to a friend in the middle of play? There’s a lot of room for creative play.”
As for what the game looks like in action if you’re a spectator, McBride-Charpentier says a match can “look a bit like a martial art. Any limb can be used as a tool, and intimidating the opponent into moving a bit too quickly and knocking themselves out is an effective tactic. Spectating is actually really enjoyable, and crowds always seem to gather around the game.”
You can’t currently buy Johann Sebastian Joust in stores, so the only way you can play it is at public events like Maker Faire. MRGS has their own copy, so expect them to periodically bring it out when the time is right.
To find out more about the game or public events where you can play it, check out http://www.jsjoust.com. ■