Doug Wilson originally created Johann Sebastian Joust as a wiimote prototype inspired by an old Danish children's game "Vælte Dine Kammerater" that was later shown off at the 2011 Nordic Game Jam, where the game was awarded the "Audience Award".
The game is designed to the PlayStation Move controller, but may be played with a Dualshock 3 or Dualshock 4 on Playstation platforms. Players try to force their opponents to move their controllers enough to be eliminated while still trying to keep their own controller still and protected. The game doesn’t have any specific rules as it is mainly a party game and the goal is to simply be the last person standing.
Because bluetooth only supports a limited number of simultaneous connections, the highest number of controllers supported is 7 on the PS3 or Mac. The PS4 version is limited further limited, only supporting a maximum of 4. Prototype versions of the game have been shown at parties and conventions with multiple networked computers supporting up to 18 controllers.
It is not available separately, and is instead available as one of the four games in the Sportsfriends collection.
Game Modes and Modifiers
The game provides a number of settings to facilitate many types of games.
A variety of settings are available to customize the gameplay:
- Sensitivity: Adjust from 1 to 10 to set an level of physicality appropriate to your available game space.
- Announcer: Pick from Doug Wilson, Bennett Foddy, Sarah Elmaleh, Wilson's mother, or any of them at random.
- Speed-ups: Choose whether the music speeds up occasionally
- Freezes: Choose whether the music occasionally freezes, requiring the players to reciprocate
- Teams: Choose between free-for-all, manual team assignment (each button on a controller will pick a different team color before the round starts), two teams with preset colors, or randomized teams each round.
- Invincibility: Choose whether players may hold down the trigger on their controller for brief periods of invincibility.
- Score tally: Choose whether to display the number of rounds each player has won.
Entering the birth year of Johann Sebastian Bach, 1685, will unlock additional secret options:
- Extra Announcers: Adds Nick Suttner, Julie Heyde (fellow experimental game creator), Ramiro Corbetta, the narrator of The Stanley Parable, and Rucks to the list of announcers.
- Change frequency: Choose between Normal, Often, and Seldom for how often the tempo of the music changes.
- Conductor mode: Choose whether one player will play the role of the conductor, waiving their controller or pressing buttons to dictate the pace of the music.
- Sudden Death: Choose whether, after a a certain period of time, a round will go into an extra-sensitive sudden death round.
- Allow No Winners: Choose whether to delay the end-of-round invincibility for the final remaining player.
- Invincibility sliders: tweak how long invincibility may last, and how fast it recharges.
- Lives: Give players from 1-9 or infinite lives and set how long it takes to respawn after being eliminated (1-30 sec).
- Resurrection: enable to allow eliminated players to revive themselves when out of lives by holding the trigger and remaining absolutely still while the light blinks brightly to alert other players. Choose how many revival attempts may be made and how long the revival process takes.
These were additional settings available in the text configuration file of the alpha build distributed to kickstarter backers.
- Traitor: The same as teams, except every team has one traitor. The traitor can not win with his team and vice versa. At the beginning of each round, one controller on each team will gently rumble. That person is the traitor. If multiple members of the same team are left at the end of the game with a traitor, the game does not end until either the traitor is eliminated or is the last person standing.
- VIPs: (aka Kings) Similar to teams, but with one player on each team with a slightly brighter light. If the VIP of a team is eliminated, their entire team is eliminated with them.
- Dark Joust: The orb on top of the move controllers is off by default regardless of whether a player is playing or eliminated. When a live controller is jostled, the light will flicker briefly, and when eliminated it will light up red for around 1 second.
- Invincibility: The trigger on the controller may be held down to provide invincibility to motion, during which, the color of the orb changes to white. The invincibility time is limited and indicated by the brightness of the controller's orb dimming quickly while used, and recharging slowly while unused. If a player exhausts their light completely by use of the trigger, they are automatically eliminated.
- Hit Points: Instead of motion either eliminating a player or doing nothing, all motion will reduce the health of a player, indicated by the brightness of their colored orb. The more severe a single motion a controller is subjected to, the more it dims.
Alternate Play Style Suggestions
Multi-Headed Teams: Form teams that all have to hold a single controller simultaneously.
Darkness: Played in a dark environment, the only light available is from the glowing balls on top of the move controller. Combine with Dark Joust for an extra stealthy variant.