Last updated: March 5, 2002 - Joust pinball page created!

Joust (Williams, 1984)

    This is the final part of the Unholy Joust Trinity I have spoken of in other pages on this site. It is the rare (400 made?) pinball game, Joust. Joust is a head-to-head table-top pinball. You and your opponent stand at opposite ends and each receive 1 ball. The ball may be shot to the opposite side of the playfield or drained on your side, so depending on how things go you could have 2 balls in play on your side. Each player gets a new ball when theirs has drained, up to 5 per player. When the final ball is drained, a "sudden death" round takes place, where every ball in the game is shot out into the playfield, and drained balls replenish, for 30 seconds (I think..). You may play the game with just one player, but it is not nearly as exciting.

    I received this game as part of my Oregon bulk deal. It is, in fact, the only reason I went into that nightmare. When we picked it up, the owner told us it lit up but if you hit the wrong bumper in the playfield, it might catch fire. As this was to be my first pinball game, I didn't know any better, and rather than risk catastrophe, I didn't play it. Once the game made it home to Indiana, I enlisted the help of fellow collector Dan Stahl, whose expertise in pinball repair and troubleshooting far exceeds my own. We were able to find one stuck switch, but other than that the game had no problems. We played a few games before managing to break a flipper, and while waiting for the replacement parts I ordered to come in, it sat covered and was used as my workbench.

    The playfield was quite worn in spots, but nowhere near as badly as the Mata Hari or Flash pinball games I had also received as part of the deal. There were a couple of points, mainly around the insert lights, that were worn down to the wood. There was a chip taken out of the field, and numerous swirl marks. Rather than risk damaging the valuable game further by my inexperienced blundering, I did some research and discovered Bill Davis' playfield restoration service. Bill takes playfields that have had the top components removed, and strips all the crud from them. Once he's down to the paint, he applies a layer of clear-coat, then performs any needed paint touch-ups. He then applies several more layers of clear-coat (12 in my case!) and lets it dry. After that, it's given a good polish and sent back to the owner. I talked to Bill on the phone and found out he had restored a Joust playfield for a friend of his, and so I decided to drive to Rockford, IL to deliver the playfield to him - I don't trust shippers with something this large, heavy and valuable, and he's only 4 hours drive from me.

    Once I removed all the protruding items from the top of the playfield and drove it to Bill, he took care of business. He touched up many of the areas where paint had been worn off, and got it looking MUCH better than it did before. It should last me many more years now. He even managed to repair the place where the wood had splintered off next to an insert light! I just got back with the finished product, and am letting it cure for 2 months before placing all the bits back on the playfield. In the meantime, I will remove the drop targets, clean the assemblies and replace the target decals with reproductions I purchased, as well as apply the flipper rebuild kits it badly needs. After that is all done, all I need to do is replace the top glass of the game and it will be done, good as new!

    Here's some photos to show off the work done so far:

These two pictures show the playfield's P1 and P2 sides after all the items on top of the playfield were removed, but before they were sent to Bill. I've inverted the P2 picture since I couldn't get around to that side easily. Click on each picture below to see a larger pic. Use the "Back" button on your browser to return to this page.


Now, here's the playfield after I got it back.


Pics of the Player 1 and Player 2 sides. Again, I've inverted the picture where necessary.




Here are the before and after pictures of some of the most heavily-worn areas on the playfield. The picture on the left is the P1 side, near the drain. The picture on the right is the same area after touch-up. What a difference that makes! Click on the pictures to get a better view of the areas. Sorry about the quality of the larger "after" picture. See that large scratch across the "1" and up through the Ptero's wing? The heavy wear around the bottom insert lights? The cracks in the large egg's paint? All gone!


This should make up for the poorer quality of the "after" large pic above.


Another "before" and "after" picture, with the P2 side of the playfield. The one on the left obviously is the "before". The image is fore-shortened, therefore the eggs look distorted between the two pictures. Again, the insert lights and ledge have been touched up, as well as the egg. The most marvelous cosmetic improvement is in the "1", where a large chunk of wood had actually been removed from the playfield in the "before" shot. In the "after" picture, can you tell there was even a problem?


Two better pictures of the P2 side, "after" touch-up and clear-coating. You have to look hard, and know what to look for, to even tell. Now, imagine the playfield is re-populated, and the cover glass is on the case. Any remaining imperfections would be nearly invisible during play.


    The point of the project was not to have an immaculate playfield. This game is nearly 20 years old and was operated on location about half of that time. No one expects it to be pristine. The results gained by subjecting the playfield to Bill's process are impressive, and will allow me to play the game without worry of damaging the painted surface. Isn't that what pinball games are for?

    I hope this page was helpful and informative. Check back here periodically, as I will be adding items to this section as work progresses on the game.

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