Sportsfriends: Johann Sebastian Joust as a 21st Century Martial Art

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Sportsfriends: Johann Sebastian Joust as a 21st Century Martial Art

Hello again PlayStation fans!

Last month, I posted about our Kickstarter campaign for Sportsfriends – a compendium of four multiplayer indie games, packaged together. The other three Sportsfriends developers already posted about their games – BaraBariBall, Super Pole Riders, and Hokra.

We need your support to help bring it to PS3, so I want to tell you about the fourth and final Sportsfriends game – my PlayStation Move game, Johann Sebastian Joust.

J.S. Joust is a motion control game for 2 to 7 players. The game isn’t even played with a screen! It’s playing using sound, rumble, and the LED light on the Move controllers.

Sportsfriends on PSN: Johann Sebastian Joust

The core idea is simple: if you ever move your controller too fast – or if someone comes up to you and makes you move your controller too fast – you’re out! The result is a minimalistic but deeply replayable game that plays like a face-to-face sword fight. Like some crazy 21st century martial art, it’s all about balance and timing. Protect your controller from your opponents, and try to jostle theirs!

The game’s music – Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Brandenburg Concertos” – sets the tempo of the game. When the music is slow, the controllers are extremely sensitive to motion, and so players have to move slowly. When the music speeds up, the threshold is higher, and so players can move a bit faster.

J.S. Joust is a game that works especially well at social gatherings and parties. I wanted to create a game that is as fun for spectators as it is for the players themselves. Because there’s no screen involved, players end up looking at each other, moving around the entire physical space. The game becomes a kind of combat qua baroque dance – players circle around each other, waiting for their opportunity to strike.

The game has received a lot of enthusiastic press coverage. Polygon, for example, declared that J.S. Joust “is defining a new gaming genre.” Penny Arcade wrote that it’s a game “that people need to play.”

Sportsfriends: Johann Sebastian Joust

J.S. Joust has been a big hit at festivals and game exhibitions around the world. It was a finalist at this year’s PAX 10, it was nominated for the 2012 IGF Seamus McNally Grand Prize, and it won two awards at IndieCade 2011. The game also took home the Innovation Award at this year’s Game Developers Choice Awards, beating out some AAA games like LA Noire and Portal 2.

Showing the early alpha version at all those events has been a ton of fun, but now I want to finish the game and get it out to all of you! That’s why we’re crowd-sourcing development funds on Kickstarter.

I’m especially excited to add a variety new modes and gameplay features. For example, I’ve been experimenting with an “invincibility mode.” If you press your trigger button, your light goes white and you go invincible – temporarily. After a few seconds, you run out of invincibility power, signaled by the fading brightness of the light. This feature makes the game even more tactical – you have to save your invincibility power for when you really need it… or for a good surprise strike!

Sportsfriends: Johann Sebastian Joust

I want to add a whole bunch of new features, so that each group of players can mix and match rules to find their own preferred version of the game. Like any good playground game, J.S. Joust is all about making the game your own by embellishing the minimalistic rules with custom modifications.

If the project is successfully funded, I’ll be experimenting with these ideas – and more. But we won’t be able to bring J.S. Joust or the other Sportsfriends games to PS3 without your grassroots support. If you have any interest in local multiplayer or motion control games that are actually physical and fun, support us on our Kickstarter page and secure your copy of the game now!

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3 Author Replies

  • Not rich enough to have access to a city rooftop. Will this work in my suburban apartment?

    • Works great in an apartment or backyard!

      And, no, you don’t have to be “rich” to barge onto a nearby city rooftop ;)

  • This game looks strange to say the least. Would be be interesting if you could play it anywhere with only a device like the move controller. Using something like NFC to determine when your “tagged.”

  • Or maybe even on just a smartphone.

  • I am really excited about this, can’t wait to try it out with nerf swords!

  • Holy….. I’m so jealous of this idea. I love it. Its something I have never thought of for the move but have somehow always wanted.

  • This game looks fantastic! My support is in, and I can’t wait to play it!

  • I have been waiting for this game to see an actual release for the longest time. Sportsfriends NEEDS to get funded.

  • Will you guys have a demonstration in Los Angeles? I’d love to test it out before release. :)

  • I just wish there was a heavily discounted bundle of this and Move controllers. I only have one Move controller, and as amazing as this looks, I just can’t justify shelling out $50 per controller for ONE game.

    It’d help Sony out because more people would actually have Move controllers, and it’d help you guys out (obviously) because people could actually play your game.

    It’s just a shame that the barrier to entry is so high because this looks so fun.

  • what a joke

  • @10 what a troll
    This is a really fun game, if you don’t like it, then don’t support it, no one is forcing you, but this is a very good use for the move controller.

    I’m hoping to see mostly this game on PSN, please SCEA support them!

  • @whatisdelicious:
    Too bad you missed out on the Black Friday sales
    Sony Moves were only $25 ea.

    I bought a couple for Xmas gifts.

    In all honestly this game probably isn’t for me, but I do appreciate unique indy games.

  • Awesome game, I just wish you guys could get past the barrier to entry… I too only have one move controller.. I guess I could buy another but $100 for 2 more is a little much.. hopefully you guys can do a good bundle for this with at least 1 move controller………. I’ll buy it……….. the other games in this collection are very interesting as well, but this one takes the cake. It even took the cake from Portal 2 lol….. which must mean something good because portal was one of the best… :)

    I really hope someone steps up and gets this game over the edge on Kickstarter… it still needs a lot of support or it’s not going to make it ……… :(

    What will happen to these unique / innovative games if they don’t go through???????

    Do we want a game industry that is filled with sequels of similar ideas or a field of crazy unique games like Journey, Flower, Joust, Unfinished Swan, etc…

    I don’t understand why SONY doesn’t fund this themselves, to put it simply. Have you guys asked them to? There’s gotta be a way to get this baby going.

  • Ok, I will go away after this… but SERIOUSLY GAMERS… ALL GAMERS…. imagine if Sony DIDN’T support ThatGameCompany…….. we VERY likely would NOT have had Journey……… which is many people’s favorite game of all time now and one of the most inspiring ones for them to create new games / art as well……………

    This is how this situation is now. If WE don’t support this game, sadly it seems we won’t see it come out……..

    Anyway.. I’ll do my best tomorrow to spread word about this game and get more kickstarter support on any gaming forum I can. I’m too poor right now to fund it all lol but if I had the money I swear I would. I think this game alone is like the “wii sports” revolution was. It’s a great idea because it is so easy to pick up and play for anyone yet so good, ingenious actually.

    IMAGINE this game working to the beat of ANY song you tell it to……………………. I just thought of that and I wish a future sequel like that could be made……… again, the ideas are endless… because when you come up with one very unique and fun idea to begin with like this.. it gets creative people thinking and pushes the game industry FORWARD. So lets help push it forward…

  • @13 I think that Sony requires some level of exclusivity when they let developers use the Pub Fund. These guys want to release these games for other platforms too. I don’t know if that’s actually the issue but it could be.

  • lol, I’m not sure what to say, I’ve seen the previous post on this a month ago and it just seemed completely odd for me, I think you guys should simply stick to doing it on PS3 where you would get full support and add MORE game modes to make the Joust game more cohesive and understandable with more options. It’s a rather expensive game if you get a lot of people to play with you sadly, so it would be nice to see an entire move party game with the Joust mode being a feature of the game. It just seems…. all over the place for me and currently something people wouldn’t really understand unless they did a bunch of research on it.

    Either way, I hope you guys achieve your Kickstarter goal and best of luck in the future!!

  • I like to suport the small guy indie developers as much as the next gamer but this sportsfeinds looks like the kind of asinine rubbish that shouldn’t be allowed to run on playstation branded products. Keep this on iOS and OUYA.

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