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Hands-On:
Johann Sebastian Joust

By
Posted on March 12, 2012 AT 03:43pm

Tally-ho!

There were a lot of great moments at GDC. From the parties to the panels, GDC was a huge learning experience for me and definitely something that anyone interested in game design or the industry in general should look into attending one day. The conference also has a modest show floor to show off games, especially of the Indie variety and I admit, my personal highlight of the show may have been when I stumbled into a ring of people forming an impromptu arena for what became a hot topic of discussion at the show: Johann Sebastian Joust.

This indie game isn’t a video game in the most traditional sense. In fact, it has no video at all unless you YouTube videos of people playing it in the middle of the street. You see the only thing that Johann Sebastian Joust requires really is a PS3’s wireless connectivity and everyone who wants to play, two player minimum and seven player maximum, needs to bring their own PS Move controller.

After activating your Move, the sensor ball will turn a specific color. Your objective is to jostle the other players physically enough for their sensor to turn red, signifying their elimination. The sensitivity of the Move controller also changes depending on the tempo of the music. The music, of course, always being Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Brandenburg Concerto”. The faster it plays, the less sensitive and the slower it plays, the more sensitive.

I played 10 matches of Johann Sebastian Joust, winning all my matches but one, and that was because I was against the idea of roughhousing with a girl I did not know…or pay for. Johann Sebastian Joust appealed to my competitive gamer nature in ways that few games can actually hone in on nowadays while working perfectly with the music set up. The game also forced you to think outside the box in some instances.

My first victory came when I hid my controller in my coat pocket, and when the last man standing assumed he was victorious, I went up to him and pushed him aside for the victory as he forgot that only when the sensor ball flashed multiple colors did it mean he was truly victorious. I also used my coat as a shield in one match and actually won another match by default as a competitor kicked me in the stomach (seriously, dude went all Kung Fu on me), but all his hectic motion caused him to eliminate himself before he even touched me. My favorite though was when it was down to two of us and I yelled “Hey look at out behind you!” and my opponent turned around and let me tap his sensor ball (I actually got an ovation for that one as people were shocked the guy fell for it).

Describing it can only do the game so much justice though, so below is one of the promotional videos for the game. Considering though this likely is only going to be a few dollars on top of the price of a PS Move controller, I think this could easily be the best PS Move game yet if enough people find out about it. Of course, the only drawback is you might need to move your PS3 outside to make sure you have enough space for the game. But if you have the space, this was easily the most fun I had on the floor of a show in a long time and was more than worthy of its 2012 GDC Innovation Award and cannot wait until it becomes readily available everywhere.

Ray Carsillo, Reviews Editor
Ray Carsillo has extensive roots in geek culture, as he’s written about videogames, comics, and movies for such outlets as Newsday.com, ESPNNewYork.com, Classic Game Room on YouTube, Collider.com, and Comicvine.com before finally settling into his role as EGM’s reviews editor. His main goal in life? To become king of all geek media, of course! Follow Ray’s exploits on Twitter: @RayCarsillo. Meet the rest of the crew.

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